Pilots Union at Odds with American Airlines Over Holiday Scheduling Mistake

A computer “glitch” has left thousands of December flights without crews.

American Airlines
All American Airlines pilots were able to drop flights and take time off during Christmas week, leaving an estimated 15,000 flights without pilots.Pixabay

“Oops.” That’s presumably the PG version of what American Airlines officials are thinking this week after it was revealed that a “computer glitch” gave all of the company’s pilots the ability to take time off during and around Christmas week.

The Allied Pilots Association claims that approximately 15,000 flights could be affected between December 17 and January 1; however, American didn’t confirm nor deny that estimate in a statement. Instead, the airline promised to correct the mistake and make sure passengers’ holiday travel plans aren’t ruined.

“We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season,” the statement read. “We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays.”

In addition to calling on reserve pilots to cover the affected flights, American is offering pilots 150 percent pay. APA, however, has filed a grievance over this solution because it is in “direct violation” of contracts.

"Because management unilaterally created their solution in violation of the contract, neither APA nor the contract can guarantee the promised payment of the premium being offered," the union wrote on its website.

"Here's hoping the folks running the airline come to us and are willing to sit down and work through it, because we don't have a solution at this point," an APA spokesman told the New York Times.