American Airlines, the main carrier at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, is seeking to reassure travelers that their holiday flights won’t be canceled because of a glitch that let too many pilots take vacation around Christmas.
The company said Thursday that “only a few hundred” flights in December don’t have pilots assigned. American Airlines will operate about 200,000 flights throughout the month, a busy time for travelers going home for the holidays.
“We have not canceled any scheduled flights in December and will continue to work to ensure both our pilots and our customers are cared for,” said American Airlines spokeswoman Katie Cody.
American Airlines operates more than 90 percent of daily flights at Charlotte Douglas. The airport is American Airlines’ second-busiest hub, and Cody said about 20,000 flights – 10 percent of the airline’s total – are scheduled for Charlotte Douglas for December.
The Allied Pilots Association said this week that a scheduling glitch left thousands of flights without enough crew for the weeks of Dec. 17 to Dec. 31, which a union spokesman described as a “crisis.”
A company spokesman said the glitch caused the scheduling system to show that American had ample staffing coverage for some planned flights when it actually didn’t, according to Bloomberg News.
American Airlines is offering pilots 1.5 times their normal hourly rate to operate some of the flights, and turning to reserve pilots to help cover the shortfall.
“That number of open flights continues to decrease thanks to our pilots who are stepping up to the plate,” said Cody. “We have more reserve pilots on hand in December than normal months and they provide us with the ability to fly many of the trips that are currently uncovered.”