American Airlines glitch temporarily threatens to stop 12,000 flights

Similar glitch hit in 2017

Pilot warns US flights aren't safe because of ‘inhumane’ schedules
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An American Airlines computer glitch threatened to add to the chaos already hitting US airports during the busy 4th of July weekend

A problem in the airline’s system that allows pilots to add, drop, or trade routes temporarily wiped out 12,000 flights during the course of July.

"As a result of this technical glitch, certain trip trading transactions were able to be processed when it shouldn’t have been permitted," the airline said in a statement.

However, the airline "restored the vast majority of the affected trips” and doesn’t “anticipate any operational impact because of this issue,” the carrier went on.

Still, the threat of mass route problems was a bad sign, according to Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines captain and spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association union, which represents American Airlines pilots.

It created "uncertainty for passengers and pilots” as millions of people passed through US airports, equalling travel tallies for the same period from before the pandemic for the first time.

A similar glitch hit the airline in 2017 over the Christmas holiday, forcing American and its pilots to avert a mass staffing shortage that would’ve affected 15,000 flights.

The technical issues couldn’t have come at a worse time for American.

In addition to trying to make it through a record-breaking weekend, the carrier is in the middle of contract negotiations with its pilots union.

This week, it offered a deal including 17 per cent raises through 2024.

“United put forth industry leading pay, and we matched that for our team,” American CEO Robert IsomIsom said in a video message Thursday. “Getting a deal done quickly will help strengthen our training program and ensure we can continue to grow.”

The union says it is still reviewing the proposal.

In May, hundreds of American pilots lined up outside of Miami International Airport in protest of their working conditions.

“Once you pack your bags to go out the door you don’t know when you’re coming back to see your family again. that’s because the schedule is so unreliable,” Mr Tajer, the union spokesman, said at the time.

Pilots across the industry have picketed and protested that they’re facing punishing schedules and low pay, even as travel rebounds from the effects of the pandemic.

Outside of these labour struggles, the industry as a whole has faced numerous delays and canceled flights over the 4 July weekend.

On Saturday alone, nearly 650 flights in the US had been canceled, and another 5,200 had been delayed, with Dallas-Fort Worth, Newark, and New York City’s John F Kennedy facing the worst slowdowns.

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