American Airlines Error Leaves Thousands of Holiday Flights Without Pilots

American Airlines had stated that the issue — a clerical error it says — has not forced them to cancel any holiday flights

The Christmas season is already a chaotic time for many people, but a computer glitch could make things even more hard for American Airlines and anyone scheduled to fly with them next month.

News of the scheduling glitch had caused some passengers to worry that their holiday flights could be canceled for lack of pilots. Normally, the pilots wouldn't be able to drop flights unless someone can cover them, but the error allowed any drop requests to go through, and "an extraordinarily large number of pilots" planned around it, Mr. Overman said.

The Allied Pilots Association "met with American Airlines senior management today to discuss APA's grievance concerning restrictions on premium pay and trip trading for December flying", said the union in a statement. "Much appreciation to APA President Capt. Dan Carey and our 15,000 professional aviators who are doing their part to cover the holiday schedule and beyond", the company added.


American plans to use reserve pilots to fill numerous assignments and pay others time-and-a-half to cover the rest. "As always, when there's a need, the American Airlines team comes together to take care of each other and our customers". The airline has about 15,000 pilots and roughly 200,000 flights scheduled during December.

The mistake affected both domestic and global flights from cities including Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C. As part of the Friday agreement, the union withdrew a grievance it had filed against the carrier.

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