Has American Airlines solved its Christmas pilot shortage?

It was widely reported yesterday that American Airlines had roughly 15,000 flights in December without a pilot or co-pilot (or both). Apparently, for 3 hours on Friday, November 24 American allowed too many pilots to take time off. Those extra vacation days were from December 17-31. It turned out that pilots wanted to take leave at the holidays just like everybody else, so a sizeable chunk of American’s 200,000 or so December flights were left without a full crew. Things got worse when the pilot’s union objected to American’s solution of offering pilots time and a half to take the flights. Happily, it looks like things may be taking a step in the right direction.

CNBC and others are now reporting that there are only a few hundred flights without a pilot. Apparently, pilots have responded strongly when American Airlines offered extra pay for taking the flights. American reports that they expect the rest of the flights to be filled shortly. Soooo….. keep watching your Christmas flights, folks, just to be sure. However, it looks like American may have found a way out of this mess. Kudos to them if they are able to finish the job. I will keep you posted if there are any more updates. That is particularly important for those of us with flights already booked and choices already being made.

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