Earlier I covered the American Airlines flight attendants who were stuck sleeping at the airport because they weren’t provided a hotel room for their layover. In it, I mentioned that the grievance filed by the flight attendants union indicated pilots were having similar problems with the airline’s accommodations (and ground transportation) providers.
Dennis Tajer, with American’s Allied Pilots Association, shared that they too filed a grievance with the airline (.pdf) on Tuesday over hotels not being provided to pilots. While they don’t note pilots sleeping in airports, they do report a pilot sleeping in a hotel lobby because of lack of a room for the night.
You might think of this as an internal matter, not really of importance to passengers, except for two things,
- As a passenger you want your pilot to have had proper rest for safety reasons
- The union is telling pilots not to “depart for your overnight unless shelter and transportation are confirmed.” So the the reliability of the operation – whether you’ll get where you’re going – is at stake. As Tajer explains, “Many of our pilots are choosing to delay until they have a hotel booked” so you may be affected.
The pilot complaint focuses less on wait times to speak to an agent, and more on scheduling mishaps by Travalliance, the company American outsources to for this including failure to book hotels and booking transportation at the wrong times (or failing to book transport to the hotels). On average pilots face less hardship when forced to book their own accommodations and seek reimbursement from the company, but the union complains that American is failing to provide required reimbursement under this scenario. They want interest on overdue remibursements.
As with the complaint over lodging by their flight attendants, an American Airlines spokesperson shares “Taking care of our crew members while they are away from home is a priority for American. We are looking into the concerns raised by APA and APFA.”