Jul 5, 2022 - News

American Airlines glitch allows pilots to drop 12,000 flight assignments

Upset passengers at an American Airlines gate
American Airlines passengers had some spicy complaints on Twitter over the weekend. Photo: Stefani Reynolds / AFP

At least 12,000 scheduled American Airlines flights didn't have pilots after a glitch in the airline's scheduling system allowed flight crew to drop July assignments.

Driving the news: Fort Worth-based American said it didn't expect the problem to affect its operation, including during the busy July Fourth holiday weekend, per CNBC.

  • Yes, but: On Saturday, 28% of American Airlines flights were delayed, according to FlightAware.

Context: About the same percentage of Southwest flights were delayed over the weekend.

What happened: On Friday night, American's trip-trade system allowed flight crews to opt out of some of their scheduled flights, according to a statement by the Allied Pilots Association, the union that represents American Airlines pilots.

  • The union said the airline reinstated about 80% of the scheduled trips — without an agreement from the pilots.
  • The airline and union are now discussing additional pay for pilots whose dropped trips were reinstated, the Allied Pilots Association said.

Flashback: Something similar happened in December 2017, and American offered pilots 150% pay to pick up assignments.

Between the lines: The blunder comes as the pilots union and airline continue fraught contract negotiations.

What they're saying: "Once again, AA's operational mismanagement is at the heart of an issue that will soon go public," Ed Sicher, the president of the Allied Pilots Association, said in the union's statement.

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