Glitch Leaves Thousands Of Flights Without Pilot On Major Airline

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Many travelers’ Fourth of July travel plans have been disrupted by delays and cancellations due to a bug in American Airlines’ scheduling technology, according to reports.

More than 12,000 flights in July were reported by CNBC to be operating without a captain, first officer, or both because of a scheduling technology bug that allowed pilots to cancel their assignments.

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According to Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines captain and spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, they failed to maintain the IT system properly, which has resulted in thousands of flights being left without assigned pilots. Tajer also added that the situation has created confusion for both passengers and pilots.

The scheduling service has apparently been terminated by the airline.

In an email sent to pilots on Saturday, American Airlines stated that they recognize the value of these tools and are making every effort to respond immediately. They also said that when they discover more during the day, they will inform everyone. 

When the same problem arose in 2017, pilots were given a 150 percent pay increase in return for picking up the canceled flights.

American Airlines stated that they do not anticipate any operational effects from the bug.

Their statement said, “Our pilot trip trading system experienced a technical issue. As a result of this technical glitch, certain trip trading transactions were able to be processed when it shouldn’t have been permitted. We already have restored the vast majority of the affected trips and do not anticipate any operational impact because of this issue.”

As airlines deal with labor shortages, hundreds of flights have already been delayed or canceled during the holiday weekend.

On Friday, an additional 535 flights were canceled and more than 7,100 flights into, out of, and around the United States were delayed.

According to Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio, hundreds of flights have been canceled over the past week even though carriers reduced 15% of the flights they had scheduled for the busiest summer months — June through August — to make the remaining flights more dependable.