American Airlines Accidentally Let Too Many Pilots Take Holiday Time Off

More than 15,000 flights may be affected as Christmas nears.

By Felicia Czochanski on November 29, 2017
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 24: Travelers use the automated screening lanes funded by American Airlines and installed by the Transportation Security Administration at Miami International Airport on October 24, 2017 in Miami, Florida. The automated checkpoint technology, which is now in use at 11 airports across the country, is said by officials with the Transportation Security Administration to enhance security efficiency as well as decrease the amount of time spent in the security screening process.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It may seem like a very generous thing that American Airlines did by giving plenty of holiday time to their pilots. However, this has backfired…and it’s not their fault.

A glitch in American Airlines’ pilot scheduling system means that thousands of flights during the holiday season currently do not have pilots assigned to fly them.

According to NPR, the shortage was caused by an error in the system pilots use to bid for time off.

“The airline is a 24/7 op,” union spokesman Dennis Tajer told CNBC. “The system went from responsibly scheduling everybody to becoming Santa Claus to everyone.”

“The computer said, ‘Hey ya’ll. You want the days off? You got it.’ ”

Tajer estimates the number of affected flights at more than 15,000 in the critical holiday travel period of Dec. 17 to Dec. 31.

American Airlines didn’t specify the cause of the shortage or exactly how many flights would be affected, but acknowledged they were scrambling to “address the issue.”

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