MIAMI – It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Amid staffing shortages, weather disruptions and high demand over the holiday weekend, an American Airlines scheduling platform allowed pilots early yesterday to opt out of thousands of flights this month.
The pilots’ union says 12,000 flights lacked a captain, first officer or both, including flights this weekend.
American says it suspended the platform and restored the majority of the schedules so that operations will not be impacted.
The snafu comes as the industry deals with thousands of cancelled and delayed flights this weekend.
“We just got here and they let us know right now we got canceled,” said traveler Alam Khan.
Khan’s flight to Toronto was cancelled the day before his own wedding.
“I’m just gonna shoot her a call and be like look babe I’m kind of stuck here for now but I’ll be there as soon as I can be,” he said.
The number of flyers set a record this weekend. Nearly 2 and a half million people went through TSA checkpoints Friday – the most since before the pandemic.
And tens of millions will hit the roads – around 42 million according to AAA. That’s despite gas prices hovering just under $5 a gallon – $1.70 more than last year.
President Biden tweeted to gas companies, urging them to lower prices at the pump.
Californians are already paying over $6 a gallon, and it got even pricier Friday with an increase in the state gas tax.
Air passengers are also paying fares that are around 25% higher compared to last year. FlightAware shows more than 600 flights cancelled and over 5,500 delayed Saturday as well as several hundred delays and cancellations so far Sunday morning.