clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

‘Only a few hundred’ American Airlines flights still lack pilots after massive computer glitch

How the glitch didn’t steal Christmas

American Airlines grounded small

After a computer glitch resulted in thousands of American Airlines flights scheduled without pilots during the busy holiday travel season, the carrier says it’s scrambling to respond.

American says that out of 200,000 flights scheduled during the month of December, “only a few hundred” still currently lack pilot assignments. “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,” the airlines said in a statement.

Yesterday, it was first revealed that a computer glitch in the system that bids for pilots’ time off based on seniority resulted in thousands of pilots erroneously receiving vacation during the week of Christmas. The glitch threatened to leave an estimated 15,000 flights without pilot assignments, and hundreds of thousands of passengers stuck on the ground during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

American says it’s confidant it will find pilots for the remaining flights that still lack someone in the cockpit. “[W]e 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,” the company stated. “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.”