Computer glitch leaves American Airlines scrambling for pilots during holidays


A representative of the union representing some 15,000 American Airlines' pilots told CNBC that he is trying to confirm the figures from the airline on the scheduling platform.

"Out of the 200,000 flights American will operate in December, only a few hundred are now unassigned to pilots", the airline said.

Among other things, American said it has reserve pilots it can call on to staff affected flights. American spokesman Matt Miller declined to quantify the potential number of flights involved, saying the airline expects to correct the problem in time to prevent service disruptions.

American Airlines is one of three carriers with flights into and out of the local airport.

American Airlines flies out of Salt Lake City International. "The system went from responsibly scheduling everybody to becoming Santa Claus to everyone". You want the days off? The system let pilots drop some trips they had been assigned next month because it wrongly showed there were sufficient crew members willing to pick up the flights.

"We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season".

"In addition, we have more reserve pilots on hand in December than normal months, and they provide us with the ability to fly numerous trips that are now uncovered", spokesman Matt Miller said.

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In a memo obtained from The Washington Post, a good portion of the affected flights involve the company's Dallas-Fort Worth mega hub.

"We have not canceled any scheduled flights in December and will continue to work to ensure both our pilots and our customers are cared for", the airline said. The union said it has access to American's December crew assignments "in real time", and that "thousands of flights are still listed as unassigned".

If the flights are canceled, not only would travelers lose out during one of the biggest travel periods of the year, but American could forfeit millions in revenue.

In my opinion, the APA should not be The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (or who stole the pilots) and allow American Airlines to "pony up" the promised cash for the pilots.

The APA statement reads: 'On Friday, management disclosed a failure within the pilot schedule bidding system.

"It's another example of why we are thankful to have such an incredible team", American said.