Travelers react to American Airlines glitch

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - If you have plans to fly American Airlines the weeks before and after Christmas you just may have a good reason to be concerned you may not get off the ground.

The airline is working around a pilot shortage for that time period because an error in the computer system American Airline pilots use to request time off.

The error let too many pilots off during the holiday season.

The scheduling glitch runs from Dec. 17 - Dec. 31 and has left approximately 15,000 American flights without pilots.

The airline averages 31 flights a day out of Cleveland, which accounts for 465 departures from the airport potentially affected.

An American Airlines spokesperson said they are working through this to get customers to where they need to go over the holidays.

Shalene Aiken was catching a flight out of Cleveland.

"That's definitely the airlines responsibility to make sure there are pilots for us to be flying. Then I think gosh they were off, they think they are going to be with their families and all of a sudden now you're telling them they're going to have to be working. That's a big challenge," Aiken said.

American is going to offer pilots up to 150% percent of their pay to pick up the impacted flights.

Will that work? We asked travelers if they'd give up their Christmas vacation for a 150 percent of their pay.

"If I could get it higher I may ask for 200 percent.  I'd probably go back for 150 percent depending on what type of obligation I had to my family," Kodili Okafor said.

"If I had something I was specifically going to be attending with my family that might make me not change but otherwise I'd say, how about we celebrate on the 24th," Aiken said.

American Airlines also has reserve pilots to help cover the shortage and they anticipate being able to make up the pilot shortfall.

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