If you’ll be flying on American anytime soon, you may want to check and make sure your flight is still scheduled for departure. That’s because the airline is canceling dozens of February flights.
Why? That really depends on who you ask. According to American itself, it’s because more than 100 pilots may leave their jobs this month to take advantage of early retirement options. According to the Allied Pilots Association (APA) though, the cancellations are due to a longer-term failure on the carrier’s part to retain a sufficient number of pilots to handle foreseeable situations like this.
An American spokesperson says that one-tenth of one percent of the schedule will be canceled in February, but speculates that the number might go up once the airline knows the number of pilots who are actually retiring. The Tulsa World, which has an article with all the details, calculates the conservative estimate at 76 canceled flights this month.
If this scenario seems familiar to you, it’s because Northwest had a similar problem over the summer when it cancelled flights due to severe pilot shortages. In that case, Northwest had been severely understaffed to begin with, so it wasn’t a matter of retirements.