CLT travelers speak about American Airlines glitch report

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Reports are that thousands of American Airlines flights could be without pilots in the days surrounding the Christmas holiday.

A reported glitch in the airline's scheduling system is said to be the cause of the problem. All pilots were reportedly told they would be off on Christmas when that is not the case.

The airline is already trying to right the wrong. WBTV obtained a copy of an email sent from American Airlines to its pilots.

It says premium pay will now be given to crews covering holiday trips surrounding the Christmas holiday.

Additionally, an American Airlines representative sent the following statement to WBTV Wednesday.

We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season. We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150 percent of their hourly rate – as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract. We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays.

The proposed solution means that some pilots who likely planned to be relaxing or vacationing during the week of Christmas will now be flying planes.

"I'd be a little upset to be honest with you. I mean at my job if I request vacation time and they turn around and not give it to me, I'd be a little mad so I can understand the anger in that," said traveler Daniel Callahan on Wednesday.

Others feel that increased pay may be the best way to get all flights covered. Traveler Bernie Chin said he is hopeful the airline will get the problem solved before the holiday travel ramps up again.

"I think it's in their best interest that they do (get it solved). So I'm more on the side that they will resolve than not. It's such a big problem to have at that time of seasonal travel," said Chin.

An email sent from the Allied Pilots Union to American Airlines pilots reads, "Management's actions are in direct violation of your contract."

The union email also states that a presidential grievance has been filed regarding the situation.

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