Glitch has American looking for pilots for holiday flights

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There is no need to charter a sleigh pulled by reindeer for your air travel to holiday destinations after all.

American Airlines announced Friday that it had reached an agreement with its pilots union to avoid the cancellation of thousands of flights this holiday season that were left without cockpit crews due to a scheduling error.

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.

The spokesman said the details of the agreement will be released later Friday, after it's circulated to the pilots.

More than 15,000 flights were without full pilot crews between December 17 and 31, the union said.

"If American is your only viable option, consider scheduling your flights a day or two earlier than you might otherwise just in case your initial flight is canceled and your plans are delayed", she said. But the union, which represents more than 15,000 pilots, filed a grievance, saying that the premium pay was not covered by its contract and that the airline couldn't guarantee payment.

The timing of the snafu couldn't have been worse, said transportation professor Joe Schwieterman of Chicago's DePaul University.

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"At this point, it's a big problem", he said. "Many dread the crowds already without this lingering uncertainty".

American says this can be you after all, this holidays.

American apparently did just that. In short, if Santa is flying, so is American.

"We remain seriously concerned about the potential for significant schedule disruption for our passengers, pilots, and fellow employees during the critical holiday travel season", the Allied Pilots Association said in a statement.

To address the shortage, American Airlines said pilots who picked up certain open trips would receive 150% of their hourly pay.

The trouble for American Airlines comes two months after Irish low-priced carrier Ryanair said it would cancel more 20,000 flights between November and March after admitting it "messed up" the transition to a new system for scheduling employee vacations.

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