American Airlines scheduling glitch allows pilots to drop thousands of July trips
A glitch in a scheduling platform allowed American Airlines pilots to drop thousands of trips in July, their union said Saturday, a headache for the airline as it tries to minimize flight disruptions during a booming travel season.
Pilots dropped more than 2,000 July trips and each assignment usually contains at least two flights, the union said, so it could impact at least double that amount.
On Saturday alone, American had more than 3,000 mainline flights scheduled and they were 93% full, according to an internal tally. Flights left unstaffed, however, are an additional strain on any airline. American didn’t immediately say whether cancellations were possible.
The glitch occurred during a rocky start to the Fourth of July weekend when thunderstorms and staffing issues caused thousands of U.S. flight delays and hundreds of cancellations.
Time-off in the summer is hard to come by for airline employees as schedules hit peaks to cater to strong demand.
American said it has suspended a platform that allows pilots to change their schedules while it investigates the issue.
“We understand these are important tools for our pilots and are working as quickly as possible. We will provide updates throughout the day as we learn more,” American told pilots in an email Saturday.
“They failed to keep the IT system running properly and now thousands of flights do not have pilots assigned to them,” said Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, the pilots’ union. He said the issue creates “uncertainty for passengers and pilots.”
A similar issue occurred in 2017, when a technology problem let American’s pilots take vacation during the busy December holiday period. The carrier offered pilots 150% pay to pilots that picked up assignments.
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