'Only a few hundred' American Airlines flights unassigned to pilots after computer glitch

American Airlines says no December flights have been canceled

MIAMI – American Airlines claims there are only a few hundred flights unassigned to pilots during the busy holiday travel season after a computer glitch.

"Out of the 200,000 flights American will operate in December, only a few hundred are currently unassigned to pilots," an airline representative said in a statement. "That number of open flights continues to decrease thanks to our pilots who are stepping up to the plate and picking up trips to ensure customers are taken care of. It's another example of why we are thankful to have such an incredible team."

The union for the pilots claimed about 15,000 flights would not have pilots scheduled to fly because of a computer glitch that allowed pilots to drop flights that they were scheduled for between Dec. 17 and New Year's Eve.

Miami International Airport -- the airline's third-busiest hub in the country -- is among those destinations affected.

American Airlines has been working with its pilots and the union to ensure the flights get covered, even offering 150 percent of their hourly rates to pick up those trips and calling in reserve pilots.

The news sent some travelers to other airline carriers and left others questioning how something like this could happen to the world's largest airline.

"Everybody's becoming more technological, but the risk you run, things may be faster and more efficient, but the risk you run is that any given moment, you can have a failure in that technology and it can throw your entire business (out of) whack, because everything is so computerized now," American Airlines traveler Clarissa Dowdell told Local 10 News.

An American Airlines representative said there are more reserve pilots on hand in December than in normal months, and no December flights have been canceled. 

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