This Major Airline's Pilots Warn Their Carrier Is "Unreliable"

They took to social media to air their grievances about their employer's service.

We all know that flying comes with certain frustrations, from minor delays to full-on cancellations. There's little worse than getting to the airport—packed and ready to go—only to have your flight bumped from the schedule. Sometimes disruptions are out of airlines' control, and flights are kept on the ground due to weather or safety concerns, but there are often other issues at play. One airline's pilots are now speaking out about their carrier's service, going so far as to call it "unreliable." Read on to find out which major airline you might not be able to count on.

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Reliable air travel has been a challenge for all carriers lately.

flight cancellations displayed at airport
People Image Studio / Shutterstock

Airline service has been somewhat "unreliable" across the board. Different carriers are struggling to meet increased demand for travel, while still trying to recover from financial losses spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancellations were rampant over Memorial Day weekend, with nearly 3,000 flights across the U.S. nixed, NPR reported.

There were several reasons cited for cancellations, including the sheer number of travelers, and experts warn that issues could continue through the height of the summer travel season. One airline may face even more challenges, as its own pilots have pointed to the carrier's lack of dependable service.

A pilots union aired their grievances on social media.

An American Airlines plane on the runway
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One of the quickest ways to get the word out is through social media, and now, American Airlines pilots have taken to Twitter to make themselves heard. In a number of recent tweets, the Allied Pilots Association (APA)—the pilots union at American Airlines—criticized the carrier's service, calling scheduling "unreliable." According to the APA, the lack of dependable scheduling directly affects passengers as well as pilots.

"Pilots and passengers are #frustAAted," the APA tweeted on June 2. "Investors are worried. @AmericanAir pilots have solutions to your unreliable scheduling."

In another tweet, the APA addressed customers directly, asking, "Tired of delays and cancellations at @AmericanAir? So are we."

American Airlines pilots and those from other airlines held a picketing event on Wall Street on June 2. In addition to nine other locations across the U.S., the Wall Street location was chosen in an attempt to showcase concerns in front of the airline's investors. Pilots held signs asking American Airlines to "stop the uncertainty," also asking for "reliable schedules for pilots," equating those to "reliable schedules for passengers."

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The issues are not only affecting American Airlines pilots.

Inside Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, passengers use the American Airlines self-serve check-in kiosks within terminal B/C. American Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the United States.
iStock

American Airlines passengers certainly felt the effect of strained travel over Memorial Day Weekend, during which the carrier canceled nearly 200 flights, according to Reuters. Captain Eric Ferguson, APA president, spoke about these cancellations in a June 2 press release, pointing the finger back at his airline.

"American Airlines continues to overpromise and underdeliver, selling tickets for flights it cannot operate," Ferguson said. "Just this past weekend, American Airlines canceled several hundred flights. Our passengers deserve better."

Current issues were foreshadowed over the course of 2021, Captain Dennis Tajer, spokesperson for the APA, told CNN, particularly in light of struggles airlines experienced this past holiday season. Carriers like American did not have the staff to man all of the scheduled flights, leaving them with "little room for error" in the event of inclement weather, sick employees, or problems with air traffic control.

"When you stress test the airline operation model, that's when you see the same results," Tajer told the outlet. "One flight being canceled doesn't just cause a cascading effect—it causes a tidal wave of problems. It's déjà vu all over again."

Ongoing negotiations could affect summer travel.

girl with suitcase on escalator
De Visu / Shutterstock

The APA has been in negotiations with American Airlines management since Jan. 2019, working to establish "a new collective bargaining agreement" and update contracts for pilots. Pilots are asking for more reliable scheduling and better quality of work life, putting their contracts more in line with those of other carriers.

"APA's proposals are designed to make American Airlines more reliable," Ferguson said in the June press release. "Our goal is for American Airlines to be the airline of choice for new-hire pilots, passengers, and investors. Right now, that's not the case."

Picketing signs seemed to indicate that without an agreement, traveling on American Airlines could be particularly problematic in the coming months. "It's going to be a long hot summer at American Airlines," one picketer's sign read.

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