This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.


Update
: In a new statement Friday afternoon, American Airlines notes that “If Santa Is Flying, so Is American.” And the airline has the pilot union on-board with this statement:

We are pleased to report that together, American and the Allied Pilots Association have put that worry to rest to make sure our flights will operate as scheduled.

The Allied Pilot Association put out its own statement to say that “APA and management have reached an agreement in principle addressing our respective needs, and we have withdrawn our grievance.”


On Wednesday, the story broke that a bug in the American Airlines pilot scheduling system left “more than 15,000 flight” with insufficient crew for flights in the critical holiday period from December 17-31.

Facing a Ryanair-esque mass cancellation— and the resulting backlash — the airline moved quickly to offer to pay pilots “as much as [American Airlines is] allowed to pay them per the contract” so the crisis could be solved. However, these efforts were being hampered by the pilot union filing a grievance about the proposed solution — the situation looked grim.

We were pretty amazed by the update we received Thursday morning indicating that the airline has almost solved the crisis already. According to a statement from an American Airlines spokesperson to TPG “only a few hundred [flights] are currently unassigned to pilots.” Compared to the 200,000 AA flights scheduled for December, this is already a small percentage. But, the airline is still working to get pilots for the remaining affected flights.

That number of open flights continues to decrease thanks to our pilots who are stepping up to the plate and picking up trips to ensure customers are taken care of. It’s another example of why we are thankful to have such an incredible team. In addition, 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.

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.

However, that claim was thrown into question by the Allied Pilots Association statement this afternoon headlined “Thousands of Flights Still Unassigned.” The short statement explains:

The Allied Pilots Association is able to view in real time December flight crew assignments for American Airlines. That data does not support management’s statement regarding December flights that “only a few hundred are currently unassigned to pilots.” In fact, thousands of flights are still listed as unassigned.

So, we went back to the AA spokesperson about the union’s response. Turns out, the two sides are looking at the same data — but it seems that it’s not as cut and dry as either side originally made it seem. Here’s AA’s take:

Our estimates are based on the exact same data. The difference is that we take into account the reserve coverage that we know we have for the month – that coverage is part of every airline’s forward schedule. When reserve is included, and you look at the number of pilots jumping in to sign up for trips, there are only a few hundred flights left that still need to be covered. We are grateful to our pilots for stepping up and taking care of customers.

However, the pilot union grievance still looms large. There’s no indication yet whether the Allied Pilots Association will back off of its union complaint of the airline’s proposed payment solution and allow it to stand. For the sake of all of our holiday trips home, let’s hope it sticks.

Right now though, one thing is for sure: American is looking for a new Director of Crew Scheduling.

The new job listing was posted Tuesday, days after the problem was revealed internally but before it became public knowledge.

Featured image by Tuned_In via Getty Images

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.