Update: American has reached out to let me know that this is an old posting from earlier in the month that was reposted after the Thanksgiving holiday, and that it’s unrelated to the pilot scheduling issue. Talk about unfortunate timing!
Yesterday I posted about how a computer glitch at American caused 15,000 flights over the holidays to be scheduled without pilots. This impacted flights between December 17 and 31, 2017, where apparently pilots were able to “trade” off holiday trips, even without having found replacements (understandably most pilots don’t want to work over the holidays if they can avoid it). American’s solution was to offer 50% overtime pay to any pilots who pick up a trip over the impacted period, which the union wasn’t happy about, since they weren’t consulted about it. Not surprisingly, this got a ton of media attention.
This morning American put out the following press release about this situation, in an attempt to put passengers with flights scheduled over the coming weeks at ease:
Out of the 200,000 flights American will operate in December, only a few hundred are currently unassigned to pilots. That number of open flights continues to decrease thanks to our pilots who are stepping up to the plate and picking up trips to ensure customers are taken care of. It’s another example of why we are thankful to have such an incredible team. In addition, we have more reserve pilots on hand in December than normal months and they provide us with the ability to fly many of the trips that are currently uncovered. We have not canceled any scheduled flights in December and will continue to work to ensure both our pilots and our customers are cared for.
It has been just over 24 hours since all of this came to light. Well, overnight a new job became available at American — American is looking for a new director of crew scheduling. When I first was pointed to this on LinkedIn I assumed it was a joke, though it’s even on American’s careers page.
Ouch. So in case you’re wondering how much an employee is held responsible when there’s a glitch, now we know…