Thousands of American Airlines flights next month have no pilots

Jon Howard
December 1, 2017

In addition to regular pilots signing up for those unassigned flights, Miller said the airline has "more reserve pilots on hand in December than normal months and they provide us with the ability to fly numerous trips that are now uncovered".

The union representing the carrier's pilots insisted that "thousands" of flights still don't have full crews, citing real-time data from American's scheduling system.

A lot of lucky American Airline pilots were able to schedule Christmas vacation this year, staying earthbound with family instead of flying hither and yon. American also said it has pilots on reserve during the December travel rush.

American Airlines is one of three carriers with flights into and out of the local airport.

The discrepancy comes down to so-called reserve pilots, who can be called upon to help out as needed, according to the airline.

Flights that are scheduled without a captain, first officer or both originate from Dallas-Fort Worth International, American's largest hub, and airports in Boston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Charlotte, North Carolina, according to a company memo to the union, which was seen by Bloomberg News.

"The system went from responsibly scheduling everybody to becoming Santa Claus to everyone", APA spokesman Dennis Tajer said to CNBC Wednesday. The computer said, Hey ya'll.

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Union drama aside, CBS46 consulted a number of local travel experts, and they all unanimously agreed, American Airlines has plenty of time to straighten this one out. As a result, thousands of flights now do not have pilots assigned to fly them during the upcoming critical holiday period. You want the days off?

"We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season", the airline said in a statement.

"We will work with the APA (Allied Pilots Association) to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays". In addition, we have more reserve pilots on hand in December than normal months and they provide us with the ability to fly numerous trips that are now uncovered. Now, the company says the number of flights with pilot staffing issues has been slashed to just a "few hundred" and continues to drop.

Mr Tajer added: "I'm watching a 'Grinch that stole Christmas" thing happening.

Management disclosed the error on Friday, the union said in a statement on its website.

"We are being told to expect business as usual", said Beardsley.

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