American Airlines pilots who were affected by a computer glitch that left thousands of flights with understaffed cockpits are set to receive triple pay after the company and its pilots’ union, Allied Pilots Association, reached an agreement on July 6.
The agreement came after 12,000 American Airlines flights set for July were briefly allowed to be dropped by pilots due to a computer glitch that has since been fixed.
“Management’s trip trade system allowed many July trips to turn ‘green’ last night, resulting in more than 2,000 sequences and 37,000 flying hours to be dropped into open time,” the Allied Pilots Association (APA) said in a statement on July 2.
The computing error occurred at a time when dozens of U.S. carriers, including American Airlines, face mounting criticism over continued flight delays and cancellations amid the peak summer travel season.
APA said in a statement on July 6 that the airline would provide a 200 percent premium, or triple pay, to pilots who fly the routes that had been “removed and then non-contractually added to pilots’ schedules in July.”
The triple pay is a one-time payment.
However, pilots will also receive regular double pay for “specific holiday periods” as part of the agreement between the airline and the union.
“We did not create the present situation and have worked hard to resolve the problems that management created,” the union said in a statement.
“While we of course cannot and should not fix management’s problems, we will continue to offer solutions to mitigate the negative impact on our members’ lives and improve the working relationship between APA and management.”
In a statement to Insider, an American Airlines spokesperson said the company was “pleased to have reached an agreement with the APA and appreciate their partnership in coming to a resolution quickly to take care of our pilots, our team and our customers.”
As of the morning of July 8, there were 130 cancellations and 782 delays listed for incoming, outgoing, and domestic flights in the United States, according to Flight Aware’s live tracker.
The delays and cancellations came as AAA forecast that 47.9 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more from home over the Independence Day weekend from June 30 to July 4.
Of those traveling, 3.55 million were expected to travel by air.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned in June that Americans could face “challenges” when attempting to travel over the July 4 holiday weekend, citing chronic labor shortages and unpredictable weather combined with increased demand.
Buttigieg told “NBC Nightly News” on June 28 that a lot of pilots had been “nudged into early retirement by the airlines” during the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced the labor force.
“Often, we’re hearing the lack of a pilot ready to go cited as an issue or a problem that’s contributing to a delay or a cancellation,” Buttigieg said.
In response to staff shortages, a number of airlines have opted to raise wages for pilots, or are in negotiations to do so.
American Airlines recently offered its pilots a nearly 17 percent wage increase through 2024, CNBC reported.