American Airlines is held accountable for offering short-term solutions to long-standing problems as the airline heads into the holiday season. The Allied Pilots Association rejected an offer to increase pay during the peak periods of the holiday season. The APA represents over 14,000 pilots employed by American Airlines. A similar temporary pay increase was accepted by the airline’s flight attendants union. Pilots were also offered double pay for designated premium flights and overtime days.
The pilots union council voted against the temporary salary increase in hopes of receiving better working conditions from American Airlines. To APA spokesperson, Captain Dennis Tajer he told KDFW in Fort Worth, Texas“The problem with pilots is in the flexibility of schedules, in the speed with which they glue them back together and in the ability to connect frankly to the plane.” Trajer cited how flight delays caused by weather conditions combined with elongated crew scheduling led to mass cancellations over Halloween weekend because crews literally couldn’t get to their planes.
American Airlines hopes to alleviate the amount of work required of pilots by hiring thousands of pilots. However, Tajer said the airline doesn’t have enough instructors to train them all in sufficient time. He told KDFW: “The problem is that the instructor pilots, the control aviators as they are called, are leaving and resigning from that job because the working conditions are so horrible.”
The pressure on the company caused by increased demand for the holiday season could force the carrier to finally address the problems its employees have been facing for years. With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, American will either have to strike a deal with its pilots or risk their scheduled flight list collapsing with the slightest breeze. While American Airlines aims to make it through just the next two months smoothly, its pilots hope to improve conditions for those who work at the airline in the long term.