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American Airlines
A American Airlines aircraft ascends out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport over Globe Life Park during a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

A pilot scheduling glitch has put thousands of holiday season flights in jeopardy


American Airlines Group Inc. is working to resolve a scheduling glitch that gave too many pilots time off in December, according to Sinclair affiliate WJLA.

On Wednesday, the station reported that the error may leave scores of flights without enough crew members during the holiday rush next month.

“We are working through this to make sure we take care of our pilots and get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays,” American spokesman Matt Miller said.

Miller declined to specify the potential number of flights involved, arguing the airline expects to correct the issue and avoid cancellations.

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The spokesman added that American is offering pilots 150 percent of their normal hourly wage – the top rate possible in their contracts – to take over some of the flights.

American Airlines’ pilots union on Wednesday told Reuters that the system glitch involved bids for pilots’ time off based on seniority.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA) added that more than 15,000 flights from Dec. 17-31 may be affected.

“Basically there’s a crisis at American for manning the cockpits,” APA spokesman Dennis Tajer said.

“I’m watching a ‘Grinch that stole Christmas’ thing happening,” he added. “And we don’t want to see that happening for our passengers.”

The APA said that the system error was disclosed to American’s pilots last Friday, and the union has filed a grievance against the airline’s proposed solution.

The union maintains that American Airlines offering 150 percent of the normal hourly wage for pilots violates the company’s labor contract with the APA.

A company memo to the APA states that flights are scheduled without a captain, first officer or both at multiple airports nationwide.

American’s largest hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is impacted, as are airports in at least six other major cities.

The other cities are Boston, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Charlotte, North Carolina.

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