American Airlines glitch means no Xmas pilots

Aircraft Aircrafts American Airlines plane planes Livery Exterior

Aircraft Aircrafts American Airlines plane planes Livery Exterior

That comes just a day after the carrier's pilots union took to the media to warn that the error had left almost 15,000 December flights without full cockpit crews around the busy Christmas and New Year's travel days.

Thousands of pilots were able to schedule breaks December 17-31, leaving flights scheduled to depart from American's most bustling hubs pilotless, including airports in New York City, Miami, Dallas and Chicago.

"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 Assn. said in a statement. "We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the 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.

Miller added that the airline generally keeps a higher number of reserve pilots on hand in December, which will enable them to cover flights that are understaffed.

The Grinch may not steal Christmas at American Airlines, after all.

A computer glitch has created a pilot shortage for American Airlines during one of the busiest times of the year-the Christmas week.

Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the APA, said: 'Basically there's a crisis at American for manning the cockpits'.

And while the number of affected flights represent a relatively small percentage of the more than 90,000 flights that American will operate during the two-week period, flights are expected to be packed, thus leaving less wiggle room for re-accommodating affected fliers. Still, industry experts say the increased complexity of airline computer systems is to blame for a growing number of glitches that have recently grounded airplanes and posted ultra-cheap airfares.

The company acknowledged the issue on Wednesday, saying that they were working to resolve the unscheduled flights, and that pilots would be paid 150 percent of their hourly rate - the maximum amount allowed in the company's contract - to pick up those flights. You want the days off?

The union said its pilots found out about the error on Friday, and the APA has since filed a grievance.

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