American Airlines is struggling to find enough pilots to fly over Christmas after a computer glitch allowed them all to book vacation over the same period.
The Allied Pilots Association union estimated that more than 15,000 flights from December 17 to 31 — a critical holiday travel period — were affected.
Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, said: ‘Basically there’s a crisis at American for manning the cockpits.
‘I’m watching a “Grinch that stole Christmas” thing happening. And we don’t want to see that happening for our passengers.’
The system error was disclosed to pilots on Friday, the union said.
In an email sent to employees, American had offered pilots extra pay to work certain flights in the busy holiday period, but a grievance filed by the union against management said that the restrictions on overtime pay were a violation of the group’s contract.
As of early on Wednesday, the union said management had still not reached out to discuss how best to resolve the shortage.
American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said: ‘We are working through this to make sure we take care of our pilots and get our customers where they need to go over the holiday.’