The glitch that stole Christmas! American Airlines computer error allowed several pilots to take vacation over the holidays and now THOUSANDS of flights are at risk
- Many pilots at American Airlines were accidentally given vacation for Christmas
- Officials said the error was due to a glitch in the airline's scheduling system?
- An estimated total of 15,000 flights have been affected between Dec 17-31?
- As of Wednesday afternoon, there was still no solution to the shortage
Thousands of December flights on American Airlines do not yet have pilots scheduled to work because of an error in its scheduling system.
A glitch in the system that bids for pilots' time off based on seniority is behind the shortage, the Allied Pilots Association union said.?
The union estimated that more than 15,000 flights from December 17-31 - a critical holiday travel period - were affected.
Flights at some of American Airlines' biggest hubs,?including Dallas-Fort Worth,?Boston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Charlotte, NC, have been left without pilots.
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More than 15,000 flights are at risk after a computer glitch enabled several American Airlines pilots to put in for vacation over Christmas. Passengers pictured at LAX in December 2016
A glitch in the system that bids for pilots' time off based on seniority is behind the shortage. The error has affected flights from Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston, Miami, NY, Philadelphia, Chicago and Charlotte, NC. Passengers pictured at American Airlines kiosks in Virginia in Dec 2016
'Basically there's a crisis at American for manning the cockpits,' said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association.
The system error was disclosed to pilots on Friday, the union said.
'We are working through this to make sure we take care of our pilots and get our customers where they need to go over the holiday,' American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said on Wednesday.
Miller also said that American has 'reserve pilots to help cover flying in December' but he didn't say how many would be able to cover the flights.?
The glitch caused the scheduling system to show that American had enough coverage for some planned flights when it actually didn't.
Miller said the company has made adjustments to the system and expects it to operate smoothly from now on.?
As customers got whiff of the issue on Wednesday, some took to social media to ask American what they are doing about the problem.?
'We want to keep families flying this holiday season and fully expect to avoid cancellations,' American Airlines tweeted to several customers.?
As customers got whiff of the issue, some took to social media to ask American what they are doing about the problem. 'We want to keep families flying this holiday season and fully expect to avoid cancellations,' American Airlines tweeted to several customers
The glitch caused the scheduling system to show that American had enough coverage for some planned flights when it actually didn't. The company has made adjustments to the system and expects it to operate smoothly from now on
In an email sent to employees, American had offered pilots extra pay to work certain flights in the busy holiday period.
American offered the pilots 150 per cent of their normal hourly wage to pick up some of the flights, the top rate laid out in their contract.?
But a grievance filed by the union against management said that the restrictions on overtime pay were a violation of the group's contract.
As of early on Wednesday, the union said management had still not reached out to discuss how best to resolve the shortage.
'I'm watching a 'Grinch that stole Christmas' thing happening. And we don't want to see that happening for our passengers,' Tajer said.?
Last year, more than 45 million passengers traveled by plane between December 16 through January 5.??
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