American Airlines Accidentally Gave Too Many Pilots Vacation Time

Photo credit: John Fowler, CC BY 2.0.

Today in “there’s no solution to this problem that doesn’t ruin somebody’s Christmas,” we go to Dallas News:

American Airlines Group Inc. is rushing to resolve a scheduling fault that gave time off to too many pilots in December—a flaw that has left more than 15,000 flights without sufficient crew during the holiday rush, according to a union for the carrier’s pilots.


The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier is offering pilots 150 percent of their normal hourly wage to pick up some of the flights, the top rate laid out in their contract, [American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller] said.

The APA, representing 15,000 American pilots, has filed a grievance, saying the proposed solution violates its labor pact. The union wants to consult with American to find a solution that will motivate pilots to give up vacation they’ve already been granted after years of working over the holidays, [Allied Pilots Association union spokesman Dennis Tajer] said.

It’s because of this union that American Airlines can’t just say “sorry, vacation canceled,” right? Because that’s what they’d do if they were a retailer or a restaurant.

My holiday flights are currently booked on American, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens to them. My guess is that American will get those flights staffed somehow—probably by offering even more money.

But I’m not in a union, so I’m curious if any Billfolders with union experience can predict how this situation might get resolved.

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