American Airlines recently experienced a scheduling glitch that left thousands of holiday flights without pilots and other staff and at risk for cancellation. The Allied Pilots Association (the pilots’ union) estimated that approximately 15,000 flights were without a pilot. Apparently the computer system that pilots use to schedule their flights and to request time off, was handing out vacation time like candy during this busy time of the year.
American initially offered pilots time and a half to fly during those times. The union, however, filed a grievance asserting that this violates the terms of the pilots’ contract relating to overtime. Clearly not the response American was hoping for.
However, the pilots’ union worked with American over the weekend to resolve the situation. Ultimately pilots will be paid 200% of their normal pay (or double the usual salary), and holiday flights will go on as scheduled. That said, as always, travelers should check with their carrier (whether it’s American or another carrier) to ensure that no last minute schedule changes occur.