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Thousands of Holiday Flights Don't Have Pilots After a Glitch at American Airlines

Apparently the carrier's computer system allowed way too many crew members to take time off in December.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Traveling at any time of the year can be awful, but trying to get home during the busy holiday season is a completely different kind of hell. Not only do you have to worry about the threat of flight delays, long lines, losing your luggage, or potential TSA fuck-ups, but now, if you're an American Airlines passenger, your holiday flight may be missing a pretty key component.

According to Reuters, more than 15,000 American Airlines flights scheduled to jet across the country from December 17 to December 31 don't have assigned pilots, thanks to a computer glitch. Apparently, the carrier's computer system allowed all of its pilots to take time off at the same time, regardless of seniority. Now the airline is begging its pilots and crew members to sign back up for work.


"Basically there’s a crisis at American for manning the cockpits," APA spokesman Dennis Tajer told Reuters. "I‘m watching a Grinch that stole Christmas thing happening. And we don’t want to see that happening for our passengers."

Now American is reportedly having to offer any pilot willing to work during the end of December 150 percent of their standard hourly wage, Bloomberg reports. But according to the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American's aviators, the solution violates the terms of the pilots' contracts.

American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller insists things are going to work out, telling UPI the glitch in the airline computer system has been fixed, and that the carrier plans to avoid any cancellations over the holidays, though he hasn't specified how. Otherwise, American could find itself with a riot on its hands.

"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,” Miller told Reuters.

Considering all the in-flight disasters that have happened recently—not to mention the threat of getting trapped on a plane with a live band—it might be better to just give up air travel altogether and take your chances out on the high seas from now on.

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