The days leading up to and after Christmas are some of the most traveled days all year. Airline pilots face the conundrum of wanting to spend Christmas day with their family, but the possibility of this ever happening is slim. This year a glitch allowed all American Airline pilots to take Christmas off.
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Normally, pilots can only get Christmas off based on seniority, but hundreds of pilots were able to take Christmas off and spend it with their family, which surely came as a surprise to many.
Nobody was more surprised than American Airlines as they were left scurrying at the last minute to make sure all of their planes have pilots from Dec. 18-31, according to the Daily Mail.
“We are working through this to make sure we take care of our pilots and get our customers where they need to go over the holiday,” Matt Miller, a spokesperson for American Airlines said when approached by the media Wednesday.
Pilots were informed of the scheduling error last Friday, but the problem of figuring out who can actually take Christmas off has become a larger issue.
Miller tried to calm those who have already booked a flight with the airliner by explaining they have “reserve pilots to help cover flying in December” but the number of pilots was not disclosed.
American Airlines expects the hustle and bustle of holiday travel to continue without any further issues. “We want to keep families flying this holiday season and fully expect to avoid cancellations,” they tweeted after mass hysteria spread throughout people who had booked flights around Christmas.
To privide pilots with an incentive to come back for the holiday rush, American Airlines is offering an additional 150 percent of their hourly wage. A poll conducted during last year’s holiday rush showed that more than 45 million people traveled during Dec 18-31.
If these polls are anything to indicate what this holiday season travels will be like, American Airlines is surely betting on their pilots accepting the increase in pay.