Glitch Leaves Airline Without Pilots For Xmas Rush

CNBC reports:

A scheduling glitch that allowed American Airlines pilots to take vacation at the same time has left thousands of flights during the busy holiday travel period next month without pilots assigned to them. American Airlines, the largest U.S. airline, is now offering pilots 150 percent of hourly pay to work those dates, an airline spokesman said.

The scheduling problem has left flights from some of American Airlines’ biggest hubs without pilots including Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago’s O’Hare and New York’s LaGuardia Airport, without pilots, according to a memo from the airline to pilots, which was seen by CNBC.

Pilots loaded up their schedules with flights in early December but many opted to take days off around the holidays, after the system allowed it.  “The system went from responsibly scheduling everybody to becoming Santa Claus to everyone. The computer said, ‘Hey ya’ll. You want the days off? You got it.'”

  • Natty Enquirer

    Hold out for double overtime.

    • Paula


  • pablo

    Some poor pilots are going to get fucked out of their vacation.

    • David L. Caster

      I suspect just the opposite will happen in many cases. Here is what I would say: “Keep your money, I want triple my number of vacation days for this year and next and in exchange will fly as much as I am allowed to over the holidays.”

      • SelectFromWhere

        Good point; that’s what I’d do.

  • Kruhn

    Awwwww!!! It couldn’t happen to a nicer airline, NOT!!!

  • Ninja0980

    Hold out until you can get the most $$$$!

  • Achilles Tsakiridis

    Find out what the CEO earned last year … then ask yourself what you’re worth … Its like that ….

  • glass

    What no blackout dates?

    • Todd20036

      Those are just regular dates plus lots of alcohol

  • m_lp_ql_m

    In other news, Google now testing self-flying planes out of SJC.

    • JAKvirginia

      And Amazon wants to drop packages on your lawn and fly away. Self-driving cars that crash alot. What a world… what a world……

      • Marides48

        I can’t imagine any of the computers I’ve owned being allowed to drive Miss Daisy anywhere.

        • Gayer Than Thou

          Right? Just as it’s merging you onto the freeway, it stops: “an update is available – would you like to update now?”

      • prixator

        Amazon also wants to be able to unlock your front door and leave your package inside.

        What could go wrong with that?

  • Cackalaquiano

    Time for some new customer fees to pay for this I guess…

  • Highmoremotel

    To some pilots that (hold out for more) holiday pay IS a Christmas miracle. Especially wen you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

  • Outlaw Woman

    If they do try to hold out for more. or refuse to work those days at all, I can imagine Trump trying to pull a Reagan and dissolve their union, nationalize pilot jobs, and forcing them to work somehow.

    And his stupid disciples will cheer, because “Fuck the Union !”

    • Todd20036

      Except the airlines already promised the time off. the airlines screwed themsrlves

  • Harveyrabbit

    Hey! I’ll fly a plane for 150% of regular pay. Soooo who’s got the keys?

  • And they weren’t getting time-and-a-half for working the holiday already, why exactly?

    • Sam_Handwich

      i’d presume their contract grants overtime ON the holiday, but not the entire week. the period in question is Dec 17-31

  • Bluto
    • Treant

      Ooo! Ooo! I’ll take “Things That Will Not End Well” for $500, Alex!

    • JT

      Dog just wants a bone.

    • DaddyRay

      Like a dog with a bone-er

    • coram nobis

      That’s Ruff.

    • Todd20036

      So THATS what he meant when he said he was into K9

      Learn something new

    • RobynWatts

      Coming soon just in time for the holidays: “Jaws: The Reboot”

    • Todd20036

      BALL!!! CHOMP!!

    • SelectFromWhere

      That dog is closer to getting dick than I’ve been in 2 years 🙁

  • m_lp_ql_m

    I guess the salary of the poor DBA who programmed “the system” incorrectly will now go to pay those pilots.

    • David L. Caster

      Probably not an IT screw-up. Somebody on the business side forgot to block those dates for vacation.

      • fkevin


        Edit: Garbage In Garbage Out

  • Michael R
    • David Walker

      Trixie and Bubbles?

    • katkelly57

      Shades of AbFab.

    • Outlaw Woman

      I really do miss the days when those hairstyles were the fashion.

    • Strepsi

      it’s almost hard to imagine, but I can just remember people smoking on planes! And in the hospital, and in the movie theatre.

  • TexasBoy

    This happened to my Mom way back in the days b4 computers. They had given everyone time off, and they had experiments running that had to be monitored 24/7. She worked in Orange County. We were staying at the Disneyland Hotel for my 8th birthday, and everyone else had gone out of state, so she had to go in to work. Of course, that was back when companies took care of their employees and vice versa.

  • Cuberly Deux

    OT: It’d be pretty cool if this article got some coverage.

    “Guns tend to empower white, financially unstable men—who oppose gun control
    Shooting past “gun culture,”
    “researchers hit factors linked to policy attitudes.”

    “These findings indicate that a portion of gun owners who feel empowered by the gun form a distinct interest group—one that opposes gun control and feels that social problems and perhaps even personal troubles might be best solved by guns,” the authors conclude.”

    • billbear1961

      If the bastards turn the guns on THEMSELVES, yes, problem SOLVED.

      Now, where is my darling little Picky P with a candy cane for the bear and his “Getting into the Holiday Spirit” poster?!

      • Cuberly Deux

        Thought it interesting that a few weeks ago they reported that the Las Vegas shooter was seriously in debt.

    • Gretchen

      I see this phenomenon every day. I am surrounded by this gun mania. On the other hand, I am fortunate my husband falls into the “keeps Papaw’s old shotgun in the closet” category.

      • Tor

        Where does he keep the AR-15?

      • Gretchen

        No, my husband isn’t the gun nut. I suspect his old shotgun would need to be cleaned before firing just to make sure it doesn’t misfire or kill us all. We might have shells for it but only if they last more than a couple decades since I’m pretty sure they are that old.

        My dad on the other hand was a federal SWAT team member before he retired. He has enough guns to arm us all. He fits the description of the gun maniacs in the article to a tee.

  • Treant

    Oh, trust me, they’ll get those flights flown. “Nice job, pity if something happened to it. Visiting your mother who has breast cancer? Not any more you aren’t.”

  • Max_1

    The long holiday lines just got longer…

  • gothambear

    There goes the Palm Springs Christmas week with the hubs…I can just feel it. 🙁

    • DaddyRay

      I am flying Chicago to San Francisco on American for Christmas week

    • coram nobis

      There’s always Amtrak. Or I-10.

      • David L. Caster

        I-10, over busy holidays? Are you nuts or just some new kind of masochist?

  • Tawreos

    Nothing would make me feel safer than a pilot that is pissed he has to work when he scheduled that time to spend with his family.

    • Snarkaholic

      Or one who is exhausted from being required to work additional shifts.

      • Todd20036

        Or one that I get to fuck in one of the bathrooms …

    • or one who leaves the family gathering and heads to the airport before the alcohol has left his system

  • ChrisMorley


    White House library lowers the tones with its Christmas book tree
    – Apart from the fact that the president will never read them, the only thing the books in this festive display have in common is that they’re coloured green

    ‘Well, they’re all green. That was enough for them to be selected as part of the Christmas tree of books that currently stands in the White House library. Melania Trump’s director of communications Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post that they were chosen “based on their varieties of green colour tones”.

    “The concept for the colour of the room was red and green, hence the
    green books and red ribbons,” she added, to make herself entirely clear.
    It’s an unusual method for choosing holiday reading, making what the Post’s Nora Krug calls a “perplexing assortment”. As publisher Melville House’s Stephanie DeLuca puts it, the choice of the thriller, Tainted Evidence, “really just seems like too easy of a joke to make”.

    • ChrisMorley
    • Treant

      Oh, dear. Dumpy’s trying to pretend to be smart. He might lose some of the remaining deplorables if they knew he could read.

      Although I do confess to having a display on the table where the books are one particular shade of blue, and they were chosen from my collection for that reason.

      Two of them are amusing, if you know me well enough. Forward’s Villains by Necessity and Clarke’s The Songs of Distant Earth.

      • ChrisMorley

        My aunt was the curator of children’s literature at London’s V&A Museum. I’m shuddering at her revulsion at this sacrifice of books to form colour-co-ordinated decorations.

        I’ve seen your gay card, so you’re excused. *Others* not so far away may have made some artfully coloured shelving arrangements.

        • Treant

          Hey! I’ve also read all the books in said arrangement!

          There’s nothing wrong with using books as a design detail if you’re the sort of person who’s known to be an inveterate reader. Which I am; I’m rarely seen without a book in my hand.

          In my case, using them as a focal point actually makes sense, just like my uncle using his car models as a design focus also made sense, since he spent hour after hour on them.

        • Tor

          “Books are AWFULLY decorative, don’t you think?”

          • trouble94114

            “You didn’t tell me your aunt was LITERATE!”

    • Stogiebear

      Q: How many editions of “Lolita” help make up that tree?

      A: All of them.

      • ohbear1957

        Does that mean Roy Moore is this year’s White House Santa?

  • DaddyRay

    So now we know where the IT people who worked for Equifax went

  • billbear1961
  • johnnybc

    Is my math super old, or is 150% of the hourly wage just “time and a half”?
    That and “hourly wage”? You mean that they are nor salaried?

    • DaddyRay

      Not with the Union and restrictions on how many hours they can log in the air

  • coram nobis

    “I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams … “

  • bkmn

    Now that the airlines are pretty much down to monopoly status a mistake like this at one airline will affect a hell of a lot of people. Remember that they way they are booking flights these days there is not a lot of slack/vacant seats left to help ease any crunch.

    • Tor

      There is no such thing as an unbooked seat.

  • DaddyRay

    When I booked my San Francisco flight a month or so ago I originally wanted to fly on Christmas day since I have done a lot of traveling this year and had limited vacation time left. There were absolutely no flights available on Christmas Day on American which was really unusual

    • Tor

      Interesting. 3 or 4 years ago, I flew on Christmas Day, and all was groovy because there were not many people at the airport or on the plane. They probably cut flights now.

  • Sam_Handwich
    • Treant

      He really doesn’t gain any clarity in the 288 character format. Or, you know, from that insanity thing he’s got going on.

      • JohnJay

        He’s clearly talking about deep state employees hiding Hillary’s emails and secret Benghazi memos. When something’s unclear with Trump, you just need to read between the lines using the Trump mindset.

        • coram nobis

          You’d think he’d call Beauregard Sessions if something is hiding at DOJ.

    • billbear1961

      The Oval Office is in the hands of a goddamned foreign “agent,” a TRAITOR.

      • BobSF_94117

        And the House “investigation” is in the hands of the White House.

  • DaddyRay

    OT: Facing Closure, Chicago’s Oldest Bathhouse Throws Epic Party for the Ages

    • Treant

      I’d fly out, but there are no planes…

      • DaddyRay

        Maybe you could volunteer for bump

    • pj

      some mans country nuggets. there is an old phone booth in the basement that is decorated with drawing by kieth herring. also andrew cunnan hung out there on his killing spree that ended with the death of versace. place is full of gay history.

  • Hue-Man

    This has been happening in Europe all summer.

    Ryanair is seeking to quell an uprising by some pilots, who were
    emboldened to ask for richer pay packages after a scheduling debacle
    that left the Dublin-based carrier without enough crew to cover its
    timetables, triggering the cancellation of more than 20,000 flights from
    September through early next year affecting 700,000 customers.
    carrier has dismissed demands for better pay and working conditions by
    an unofficial pilots group.

  • JCF

    Are we (mercifully) to the OT portion of JMG yet?

    Something Weird & Wonderful for your Wednesday evening (I think some of you may enjoy the dancer, as well as the music! ;-/)

    [Hat-tip via Afro-Pop, via NPR]

    • SelectFromWhere

      There is more OT in this thread than on-T. (As usual 🙁 )

  • worstcultever

    I realize I’m an old hag, but – WHY THE FUCK CAN’T *ANYBODY* RUN ANYTHING ANYMORE?

    • Treant

      Communications have gotten so poor that, undoubtedly, nobody told the database administrators to block out those dates.

      Honestly, if you look at the “why” of things not running, poor funding or poor communications covers about 95% of all potential and occurring problems. Most of the remaining five percent is dumbassery and people promoted beyond their level of competence.

      • Outlaw Woman

        How true … American Airlines has a long history, so this isn’t their first “holiday season”,

        This smacks of a corporate rearrangement where the responsibility for programming the vacation days system fell to some new department who didn’t know how to do it correctly.

        • Treant

          Or was never told. 🙂

    • coram nobis

      Not in this country.

      I can tell you that Italian high-speed rail is, however, efficient, on time and a good value for the money. Unfortunately, you and yours probably aren’t living there.

    • sadoldguy

      Because people like trump are running these companies.
      Only interested in quarterly profits and hired for their social connections, not their qualifications.

    • billbear1961
    • leastyebejudged

      exploitation (ĕkˌsploi-tāˈshən)►

      n. The act of employing to the greatest possible advantage: exploitation of copper deposits.

      n. Utilization of another person or group for selfish purposes: exploitation of unwary consumers.

      n. An advertising or a publicity program.

  • Bob Conti

    I have 5 hours of simulator time for a 737-500, so I’m happy to pitch in during the crunch. BTW, what does it mean when the ground proximity warning system starts screaming, “PULL UP!”

    • DaddyRay

      It wants you to pull up your pants

      • billbear1961

        let’s not be hasty

      • Treant

        Worry when it orders you to PULL OUT.

      • Bob Conti

        Wish I’d known that earlier, would’ve saved me from a very compromising situation…

        • SelectFromWhere

          You might want to read up on the definition of “Cockpit” as well.

    • billbear1961
      • Bob Conti

        Fell out of my chair! Thank you BillBear! I was going to link to the Foo Fighter’s video for “Learn to Fly” but in keeping with the classical theme, here’s a little Rimsky-Korsakov

        • billbear1961

          I always think of the Ride of the Valkyries when in a plane taking off.

          Keeps me from jumping out of my seat: “Stop the plane–let me off this thing!”

          • Bob Conti

            Yes, because when I want to relax and de-stress, nothing helps more than a heaping helping of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

          • Mikey

            Bill! here’s a “flight” inspired piece you might not know.
            This is the finale of Sam Barber’s 2nd symphony (which he wrote wile in the Airforce during WWII.

            I’ve cued it up for the finale, the “flight portion, but please, take the time to listen to it, it’s a stunning work. The middle Adagio movement is inspired by “Night Flight” (with a wonderful “ping” from the “pilot’s” radar.. very lonely and beautiful)

            Anyway, without further ado, the finale of Barber’s 2nd Symphony:


      • JohnJay

        So Wagner tonight, huh? Here’s my favorite part of the whole ring. In this last 15 minutes, there’s got to be 50 leitmotifs all inter-weaved through their singing. Click the [cc] button for English subtitles.

        • billbear1961

          It always WOWS me–it is SUPERB!!

          • JohnJay

            When he says Farewell… and finally sings “kuss der gottheit von dir” (kiss the goddness from you) and she collapses into her sleep… I just get chills. Plus, kudos to Wotan in this performance when he picks her up and carries her to the rock.

          • billbear1961

            He kisses away her godhead.

            The music is, at times, ecstatic, sheer bliss.

        • billbear1961

          This is the recording we have.

        • billbear1961

          The Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla always makes me look up and feel hopeful and GRAND. (I always fantasize about the final victory of democratic socialism in the U.S.–and the entire world. I picture Americans joining hands and crossing the Rainbow Bridge into a land of social JUSTICE!)

    • Treant

      I spent five hours fucking a pilot…do you think I could volunteer? I could use the extra cash.

      • Bob Conti

        So… that’s learning by osmosis?

        • Treant

          Diffusion, impregnation, whatever. 🙂

  • DaddyRay

    New rare late night post from Joe

  • coram nobis

    We have a pilot shortage; can you fly this plane and land it?

  • Jean-Marc in Canada


  • Tomcat

    Just when the pilots were going to be able to sat Merry Christmas again, they want them to work.

  • johncAtl

    I may be biased since I’ve been averaging about 60 flights a year on Delta for the last 25 years, but I hate American. They were bad before they were acquired by US Airways. Now they totally suck.

    * Yes, the name of the company is American, and yes it was called a merger. But that was only to gain the necessary approvals for US Airways to acquire the company. American was close to going out of business when the “merger” happened.

    • leastyebejudged

      They’ve always been just horrible, I have a quarter of a century + of just awful AA experiences.

  • JAKvirginia

    Yeah, guys. Trust that hot computer program somebody came up with. Don’t actually do your job and check what it’s doing. Modern American management. Sheesh!

    • leastyebejudged

      They outsourced the work with no controls in place, and now they really need to fold and let somebody else have a chance at running airlines into the ground.

  • dj

    Perhaps they need to pay them the 9K an hour their CEO makes?

  • leastyebejudged

    Good, they suck, I wish great harm on American Airlines.

  • margaretpoa

    150 percent is just time and a half, My, my, how could anybody turn down that kind of generosity?

  • Gayer Than Thou

    I try to be compassionate in circumstances like this – accidents do happen, even major accidents – but honestly, how does this happen?

  • SelectFromWhere

    This is such a metaphor for what’s going on in US Government right now.