American says it has found pilots for most Christmas flights

A pair of American Airlines jets parked

The Allied Pilots Association (APA) estimates roughly 15,000 American Airlines flights could be at risk of being canceled because they do not have a full crew.

"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".

But while headlines like the inevitable "Glitch that Stole Christmas" have given ticket-holders some agita, American said that it is working to resolve the problem, which would affect flights scheduled between December 17 and the end of the year.

And while the number of affected flights represent a relatively small percentage of the more than 90,000 flights that American will operate during the two-week period, flights are expected to be packed, thus leaving less wiggle room for re-accommodating affected fliers.

Speaking to Reuters, APA's Dennis Tajer said the issue was a 'crisis'. The union said it has access to American's December crew assignments "in real time", and that "thousands of flights are still listed as unassigned".

American suffered a similar problem previous year, and in 2015 flight crews due to have vacation time were assigned to fly instead.

Some 15,000 flights from major hubs, including Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago O'Hare and New York's La Guardia airport, between December 17 and 31 are now estimated to be without pilots.

Out of 200,000 flights American will operate in December, "only a few hundred" now don't have pilots, said American Airlines spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello in an update Thursday, after the malfunction was made public Wednesday. The computer said, Hey ya'll.

As a result, American Airlines' top brass are scrambling in an attempt to rectify the problem, offering increased pay to lure the scheduled vacation pilots back to work that week. You want the days off?

The airline said it will offer pilots 150 percent of their hourly rate to cover affected flights and can also call on reserve pilots to prevent cancelations.

American has a tense relationship with its pilots union.

In my opinion, the APA should not be The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (or who stole the pilots) and allow American Airlines to "pony up" the promised cash for the pilots.

The error, disclosed to employees on Friday and widely reported this week, was an "isolated incident" and a "mistake", Miller said.

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