2017 will probably go down as an ‘Annus Horribilis’ for airlines’ PR departments worldwide. In the US there was the United video of a passenger being forcibly removed, whilst in Europe the Ryanair scandal caused 400,000 passengers to see their flights cancelled. To top it all off, there is now a scheduling mishap which risks leaving
15,000 Christmas flights of American Airlines without a captain
Yes, because they all of a sudden realized that a lot of their pilots had taken days off during the Christmas period, a lot more than they had anticipated in fact.
So much so that they are now faced with 15,000 flights being without a captain or recalling a lot of those holidays and paying overtime.
The union of American Airlines pilots declared that the booking error of allowing holidays was discovered late last week. The scheduling glitch will affect flights between 17 December and 31 December, departing from major hubs such as Dallas, Chicago and Miami.
Mr Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the pilot union, said: “This is a potential crisis that we see well in advance. This is very unusual.”
This is in a way quite similar to what Ryanair faced in Europe after the summer when it realized a lot of their pilots still had to take their holidays before the end of the year. Ryanair decided to deal with the problem by scrapping flights, leading to a major backlash from travelers.
American Airlines spokesman Mr Matt Miller stated that they “expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season. We will work with the union to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays.”
When the news of the glitch broke, the share price of American Airlines lost nearly $2 Meanwhile Delta, United, Southwest and JetBlue all rose at least 3%.