American Airlines says it no longer faces a pilot crisis Christmas week

  • American Airlines has reached an agreement with pilots to fill 15,000 unmanned flights between Dec. 17 and 31.
  • A computer error had allowed pilots to opt out of some of the holiday flights, an option they usually don’t have.
  • Rather than face mass cancellations and refunds, the airline has agreed to pay pilots double their normal rate for taking one of the previously unmanned flights.

A computer error threatened to ruin the holidays for American Airlines and its passengers, but the airline has reached an agreement with pilots to avoid a disaster.

Last week, pilots learned that a scheduling glitch had allowed them to opt out of some flights between Dec. 17 and 31. Pilots often don’t have that option during the holidays.

The glitch left around 15,000 flights without a pilot. The airline first attempted to staff the flights with reserve pilots, but that would have been risky, as reserve pilots are typically meant to fill in for isolated incidents, rather than large, system-wide errors, according to Yahoo.

Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, described the lack of pilots as a “crisis.”

However, it looks like the company has found a way to avoid a holiday travel disaster.

The company struck a deal with pilots that would pay them double their normal rate if they took one of the unmanned flights. They were previously offered 150% of their standard pay.

The agreement means American Airlines won’t have to resort to mass cancellations and refunds, which will make the holidays a more cheerful time for the airline and its customers.

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