American Airlines is scrambling to find pilots to operate thousands of flights over the holidays after a scheduling glitch allowed nearly all of its pilots to take time off around Christmas.
The Fort Worth-based airline has not confirmed the dates of the flights in question, but a source at the airline familiar with the situation tells NBC 5 Responds it's impacting flights starting about one week before Christmas.
The pilots' union says that about 15,000 flights were scheduled without a captain, a co-pilot or both. A spokesman for the airline said on Wednesday that they expect to avoid canceling flights by paying overtime and using reserve pilots.
Travelers who may be impacted by possible cancellations have some options.
If you booked your flight within the past 24 hours, you can cancel it and get a full refund no matter what you paid. It's a perk always available on American Airlines.
If you've been ticketed for longer, and your ticket is non-refundable, you will have to wait to see if your flight is canceled. If that happens, take action quickly.
Even if you're at the airport, pick up the phone and call for help. The few extra seats will go to the first ones who can get to an agent. The folks on the phone can do the same thing as the people in the airport.
You may want to re-book on your phone, or call and speak to an agent while you're waiting in line to see who can get to you first.
Also, carry on your bags. If there's a seat on a plane leaving within minutes, it will be easier for you to hop to another aircraft without worrying about your checked bags.