American Airlines, Pilots, Continue Holiday-Flight Feud

Carrier says it has not cancelled any flights and has nearly resolved scheduling glitch; union says crews still not assigned to thousands of flights.

American Airlines is looking to calm passengers who’ve booked flights in December, with the carrier saying its crews will be ready for lift off. 

A computer-system glitch in the online scheduling system used by the carrier’s pilots to take time off recently prompted worries that there would not be enough pilots available to fill the cockpits of flights scheduled for the coming holidays.

As first reported, the error impacted more than 15,000 flights from Dec. 17-31. 

On Thursday, the company said just a few hundred of its late-December flights still did not have pilots set to fly the plans.

“Out of the 200,000 flights American will operate in December, only a few hundred are currently unassigned to pilots,” American Airlines said in a statement. “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 Allied Pilots Association, however, presented a less optimistic picture of the situation, saying that its review of real-time data indicated “thousands” of the carrier’s flights have not yet been assigned crew.

Therefore, “That data does not support management’s statement regarding December flights that ‘only a few hundred’ are currently unassigned to pilots,” the group said in a statement

“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 union stated.