American Airlines screwed up and failed to schedule pilots to fly on Christmas. They announced a solution, they’d pay pilots time and a half to volunteer to fly when they were given off, and they’d use their pilots who were on reserve to fly (but leave themselves no cushion) and that would get them pretty close to being able to operate their schedule over the holidays.
Their pilots union pushed back. And it was the pilots union that made this a big national story, getting leverage in the media letting the world know that American had a problem at a time when everyone was trying to travel for the holidays.
Yesterday American Airlines announced that they had worked things out with their pilots union and there would be no cancellations at Christmas as a result of failing to schedule people to fly. Ted Reed writes that the work out is to pay pilots double instead of time and a half.
In a meeting Friday with representatives from the Allied Pilots Association, the carrier agreed to double time pay, said a person familiar with the discussion.
American had initially offered to pay time and a half, but APA leaders said the carrier had not consulted the union on the remedy.
All of the pilots who agreed to the time and a half remedy will automatically be kicked up to double time, the person, who asked not to be identified, told Forbes. Additionally, double time will also be offered to some of the reserve pilots who pick up holiday trips, the person said.
Since pilots can truly bring down an airline while flight attendants don’t have nearly as much leverage, two years ago another crew scheduling error at Christmas had American get away with paying legacy US Airways flight attendants a much smaller premium. This isn’t the first time American has messed up crew scheduling over the holidays.
American Airlines gave employees unilateral raises. Now they’re paying pilots more to come to work. And since American Airlines will never lose money again and they’re currently at the bottom end of the $3 to $7 billion annual profit range they’re promising investors, they will need to make up the cost somewhere. You are somewhere. Basic economy and 737 MAXs but the pilots get paid.