Computer glitch sees TWELVE THOUSAND scheduled American Airlines flights left without pilots between Sunday and the end of July, as summer travel hell continues ~ July 4, 2022


  • The American Airlines’ internal scheduling system suffered a glitch that saw pilots granted time off and left 12,000 flights without a crew
  • According to the pilot’s union, the airline began overriding the changes made by the pilots after management noticed the error
  • American told in a statement that the ‘vast majority’ of flights effected by the glitch now have have a crew in place – but didn’t give an exact number
  • Chaos continues to swamp U.S. airports amid the busiest travel weekend since the pandemic with more than 600 flights canceled and nearly 2,900 delayed as of Saturday morning 
  • Leading cancellations was American Airlines, with 80 flights canceled so far, with Delta, United and Southwest all following behind as more than 3.55 million are expected to fly over the Fourth of July weekend 
  • On Thursday alone, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.4 million travelers at airports on Thursday, up 17 percent from the Fourth of July Friday in 2019 
  • Since the hectic Juneteenth travel weekend, the U.S. has seen more than 12,000 flights canceled 
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Americans to seek compensation for their canceled flights like he did rather than discuss strategies to fix the chaos 
  • AAA projects that 47.9 million Americans will travel for the Fourth of July this year, the most in two years 

A glitch in American Airlines’ staffing systems left 12,000 flights without pilots between July 3 and the end of the month – as fed-up travelers face mounting flight cancelations and delays across the globe.  

According to the Allied Pilots Association, over 12,000 flights were scheduled with nobody to fly them after staff ditched their flights en masse due to the operational error in the system.   

An American Airlines spokesperson told in a statement that the airline does not expect any ‘operational impact’ because of the glitch. 

It claimed most of the affected flights have now been staffed – but did not give an exact number as to how many remain pilot-less.  

In a leaked APA message to Los Angeles’ based crew members, union officials told pilots that the airline was just putting pilot’s back on their original schedules after management noticed the error. 

Although message notes: ‘Management has no contractual mechanism to just add flying to your schedules.’ 

The union says that it has the data on which pilots were contractually allowed to drop flights from the schedule and will be ensuring that those changes are honored.   

Through an internal platform, American staff can request changes to their schedules to time off, although time off requests are rarely granted during the holidays or in the summer months, reports CNBC. 

The network’s report also says that American’s 3,000 scheduled flights on July 2nd were 93% staffed. 

The full statement from the airline read: ‘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.’

At the time of writing, the platform allowing American pilots to change their schedules has been taken offline. 

Just this week it was announced that American pilots were getting a 17% raise in pay. has reached out to the Allied Pilots Association for comment on the crew scheduling glitch. 

 In 2017, American experienced a similar glitch in their system. It resulted in pilots being offered 150% pay in exchange for staffing the abandoned flights.  

Union spokesman Dennis Tajer told CNBC in 2017: ‘The airline is a 24/7 op. 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.”

That outage left flights unstaffed around Christmas and New Years, one of the busiest times for air travel.  

Low-cost European airline Ryanair suffered a similar snafu in 2017 that resulted in too many pilots being assigned vacation time, which lead to cancelations. Bloomberg estimated that those cancelations cost Ryanair $30 million.

According to the airline blog View from the Wing: ‘Scheduling at American Airlines is so complex that many pilots even use a subscription-based third party app to manage the process.’ The blog says that the main system for scheduling is named the Preferential Bidding System or PBS. 

Pilots typically go by month-to-month schedules on the Preferential Bidding System. In most cases, staff with seniority and override more junior staff’s requests for certain routes or days off. 

Across the country, airlines have cancelled and delayed hundreds of flights in the U.S. sparking travel chaos during the busiest Fourth of July weekend since the pandemic, which has been dubbed ‘Airmageddon.’ 

Around 48 million people are expected to travel this weekend with AAA estimating 3.5million would take to the air. But the actual number of passengers flying may be dramatically higher as, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.4 million travelers at airports on Thursday alone – up 17 percent from the Fourth of July Friday in 2019. 

Many fliers will be facing disappointment, with 604 flights canceled by 2:30pm, and 2,879 have been delayed, according to Flight Aware, which reported that by the end of Friday, 586 U.S. flights were called off and 7,773 were rescheduled. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who previously called on airlines to get in shape before the weekend, appeared to give up on getting things under control as he told Americans to follow his lead and claim compensation over the canceled flights. 

‘Airlines offer miles as compensation for some travel issues, and you can often negotiate on this,’ tweeted Buttigieg, who said he got back $112.07 over his canceled flight on Friday after he was initially offered about $30 back. 

‘Sometimes an airline will offer you points or miles as compensation, but you are entitled to a cash refund when your flight is canceled.’ 

Leading major U.S. airlines in cancellations on Saturday was American Airlines, which canceled 96 flights and delayed  421 flights. Delta followed behind, canceling 63 flights and delaying 322.

United Airlines has canceled 42 flights and delayed 185, and Southwest has called off 22 flights and has delayed 507 flights so far. 

Since the hectic Juneteenth travel weekend, the U.S. has seen more than 12,000 flights cancelled, according to Flight Aware. 

In addition to airport chaos and heavy traffic, holiday travelers will have to contend with higher prices. Average gas prices have soared 56 percent from a year ago, mid-range hotel prices have increased 23 percent, and average lowest airfares are up 14 percent. 

In total, AAA projects that 47.9 million Americans will travel for the Fourth this year, up 3.7 percent from last year and close to the historic

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