March 20, 2018

American Airlines pilots given too much Christmas holiday

30 November 2017, 01:17 | Kenneth Drake

Computer glitch could cause thousands of Christmastime flights to be cancelled

Report: American Airlines glitch causes pilot shortage on thousands of flights over holidays

A glitch in the scheduling system that allows employees to request time off based on seniority was responsible for the shortage of pilots for flights from december 17-31, Reuters reported.

A spokesman for the airline said Wednesday that American expects to avoid canceling flights by paying overtime and using reserve pilots.

"The system went from responsibly scheduling everybody to becoming Santa Claus to everyone", said American captain Dennis Tajer, according to CNBC. "This is a crisis right now, and in that crisis, they've gone solo", he said. He claimed the company does not expect any cancellations, but he would not disclose the number of the flights affected.

The Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American Airlines' pilots, said Tuesday that a glitch in the system that allows pilots to bid for time off left thousands of flights without pilots assigned to them.

The union did not specify the offer that violated the contract, or what the actual violation was.

The APA also said in its statement that it has not been asked to help American find solutions to the problem. "And we don't want to see that happening for our passengers", Tajer said.

American Airlines published statistics Monday saying that during the recent Thanksgiving holiday, which it regarded as November 17 through November 26, the airline flew 5.5 million customers on 55,463 flights and checked 4 million bags.

The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that the airline is offering pilots 150 percent of their normal hourly pay to take on holiday shifts in the wake of the glitch.

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