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American Airlines panic: Every pilot was allowed to take Christmas vacation

American Airlines panic: Every pilot was allowed to take Christmas vacation
[Photo: DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty Images]

Earlier today it was reported that thousands of American Airlines flights over the next few weeks remain unassigned, which may lead to mass cancellations from the airline. Now it seems the problem was due to a computer glitch, which allowed every pilot to take Christmas week off.

AA is reportedly scrambling to fix this problem–the pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots’ Association, told CNBC that plans to reassign flights could violate contracts. I reached out to both AA and the union and will update if I hear back.

Update: American Airlines provided Fast Company with this statement:

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

Another update: American Airlines has a new, updated statement:

Out of the 200,000 flights American will operate in December, only a few hundred are currently unassigned to pilots. 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.