The holiday season is in full swing and in coming weeks, the year’s busiest airline travel block will begin. In 2016, AAA projected 103 million Americans would travel during late December, and this year looks to be no different.
Unfortunately, American Airlines may not be able to accommodate all their air travel this season. A system scheduling computer glitch allowed too many pilots to request holiday time off – way too many. The computer problem affects more than 15,000 flights, which could leave thousands of travelers stranded. Affected flights range from December 17 – 31. Hubs where those flights are scheduled to originate are Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, Boston, New York, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, and Charlotte.
American Airlines is working hard to rectify the issue and cancel no flights during the end of December. The biggest effort to fix the problem entails an offer to pilots who are scheduled to take the holidays off, and agree to forgo their vacation time and work, which would benefit them with a time and a half hourly rate.
The deal may sound like a good incentive, but the Allied Pilots Association, who represents airline pilots, is rejecting the solution and has filed a grievance against American. The APA claims the proposal violates their contract, but they urge American to come up with an alternative solution that will appease pilots who are going to give up their earned vacation to come to work instead. Many pilots do not typically get this time off. The 150% wage increase offered from American Airlines is as much as the airline is allowed to pay the pilots, as stated under the contract.
That said, American issued a statement saying they were making full efforts to avoid any cancellations due to the glitch, and that they were working hard to find a happy solution with the APA in which the pilots were properly cared for, and all travelers could get to their destinations in December.