American Airlines screwed up and failed to schedule pilots to fly on Christmas. They announced a solution, they’d pay pilots time and a half to volunteer to fly when they were given off, and they’d use their pilots who were on reserve to fly (but leave themselves no cushion) and that would get them pretty close to being able to operate their schedule over the holidays.
Their pilots’ union pushed back. And it was the pilots’ union that made this a big national story, getting leverage in the media letting the world know that American had a problem at a time when everyone was trying to travel for the holidays.
Yesterday American Airlines announced that they had worked things out with their pilots’ union and there would be no cancellations at Christmas as a result of failing to schedule people to fly.
Since pilots can truly bring down an airline while flight attendants don’t have nearly as much leverage, two years ago another crew scheduling error at Christmas had American get away with paying legacy US Airways flight attendants a much smaller premium. This isn’t the first time American has messed up crew scheduling over the holidays.
American Airlines gave employees unilateral raises. Now they’re paying pilots more to come to work. And since American Airlines will never lose money again and they’re currently at the bottom end of the $3 to $7 billion annual profit range they’re promising investors, they will need to make up the cost somewhere. You are somewhere. Basic economy and 737 MAXs but the pilots get paid.
As far as the airlines are concerned, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Rates for particularly popular itineraries are already on the rise. And even if price isn’t an issue, booking your preferred trip will become increasingly difficult, according to USA Today.
Thanksgiving Day is almost always the cheapest day to fly for the holiday. This should be no surprise. But how do the other travel days surrounding the holiday compare?
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after—avoid flying on these days if at all possible. They are the busiest travel dates and most expensive. The price of this itinerary has been rising since late August and is currently increasing on average by $1.50 a day, which jumps to about $2.50 a day in October. This could add up to almost $200 in additional fare per ticket.
A cheaper itinerary would be the Tuesday before and the Monday after Thanksgiving. If you don’t have to worry about school or work schedules, try flying the Saturday before to the Monday after and you may see exceptional savings.
Travel conditions could be trickier than usual Wednesday due to a winter storm moving through the Midwest and Northeast. The storm is sending rain and snow across the Upper Midwest and will end up in the Northeast by early Thanksgiving morning (National Weather Service).
Snowfall ended in many places, like Minneapolis, Wednesday morning, but will continue most of the day across places like Wisconsin and northern Michigan (National Weather Service). As the storm moves farther to the east, areas of light snow and freezing rain will likely cause a few travel disruptions across the interior Northeast by Wednesday night into Thursday.
The wintry weather will expand from northern Pennsylvania and New York on Wednesday night, and into parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire on Thursday (AccuWeather). Snow and ice accumulations are expected to be relatively light but could still make for hazardous road conditions during the busy Thanksgiving travel week (National Weather Service).
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is expected to proceed under cloudy, cool and damp conditions.
Elsewhere Wednesday, rain and thunderstorms could cause a few travel problems from Texas to the Ohio Valley. The heaviest rain should be in Louisiana and Arkansas. None of the thunderstorms are expected to reach severe levels.
A separate storm will bring rain to the Pacific Northwest coast and high-elevation snow to the Cascades and northern Rockies. In elevations above 3,500 feet, 3 to 7 inches of snow is possible, the weather service predicted.
Be safe in your travels and have a happy Thanksgiving!
Popular east coast destinations like Myrtle Beach, The Outer Banks and Virginia Beach will almost certainly be affected by Hurricane Arthur. Coastal regions from Virginia Beach to just south of Myrtle Beach already have Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warnings in effect.
Arthur is now producing winds up to 80MPH and is located about 150 miles south-southwest of Cape Fear, NC. The Hurricane Warning extends from the Virginia/NC border to Surf City, NC including the popular Outer Banks area. The primary impact time for the Carolinas and southeast Virginia will be later tonight and Friday. North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has placed 25 counties under a state of emergency as a precautionary measure ahead of the storm.
Even the City of Boston has taken preemptive measures and moved it’s Boston Pops July 4th celebration to today in anticipation of bad weather related to Hurricane Arthur.
Please be safe and consider either canceling or delaying your travel plans if the destination is in an at risk area! More information available here:
~ Jody Victor