American Airlines Crew Refuses To Fly To Milan, Airline Suspends Service To The City

American Airlines flight AA198 from New York JFK to Milan was cancelled Saturday evening after crewmembers refused to make the trip to Northern Italy over coronavirus fears.

An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed to Italian media,

We can confirm that the AA198 New York-Milan flight has been canceled for operational reasons..The reason for the cancellation was the staff’s decision not to fly due to fears related to coronavirus in Northern Italy..But we can assure you that all passengers will be accommodated on other flights to Milan.”

The New York – Milan aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, will fly to London Heathrow this morning instead.


American Airlines New York JFK

Subsequently the airline made the decision to suspend both of its daily Milan flights – New York JFK and Miami – effective immediately until April 25.

On Saturday the U.S. government raised the alert for travel to Northern Italy to its highest level.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. @tommyleo….I wish all websites allowed for us to “upvote” a comment. The amount of propaganda being dispensed over this issue is disturbing.

  2. Here’s the rest of the story….

    I saw one of the crew members first hand accounts, they failed to include in the article the fact that they told the captain during boarding that the crew was going to fly over and then immediately deadhead back. The company didn’t want the captain to notify them until they were in the air, so basically trick them into working a 20 hour duty day. The captain stood up for his crew and immediately went back and told the crew what they were trying to do and that’s when they walked off.

  3. I saw one of the crew members first hand accounts, they failed to include in the article the fact that they told the captain during boarding that the crew was going to fly over and then immediately deadhead back. The company didn’t want the captain to notify them until they were in the air, so basically trick them into working a 20 hour duty day. The captain stood up for his crew and immediately went back and told the crew what they were trying to do and that’s when they walked off.

  4. A big twist on reality…
    the Cabin crew were not told the pilots were to fly to Milan then turn around and deadhead home.. no rest, just come back.. the pilots were told NOT to inform the cabin crew. so that they would go and be forced to work the flight back..fortunately the cockpit crew were not going to betray the cabin crew and told them .. and the crew said NO! not the way to treat your employees.
    this was not fear from the Staff, this was shenanigans by management!
    On authority of a crew member of the flight.

  5. Bryce. A question? You would be comfortable with your wife, daughter, niece or aging parents traveling on or working that flight if they were crew or passengers?
    How about any of those above-named individuals returning to their respective communities after travel to those areas?

  6. Would @tommyleo @James N @Bryce volunteer to forgo medical treatment if they succumb to symptoms of coronavirus?

    If not please STFU from telling humans they are “stupid” and “should be fired”

  7. I don’t blame the crew at all. Virtually every confirmed case across Europe has a history of travel to Northern Italy, the majority of them to Milan. If AA has been unable to convince the crew that they will be safe, then they have every right to withdraw their labour.

  8. I don’t blame the crew either – there has been a lack of clarity about the transmission of the virus, and at least they stepped up and expressed their concerns rather than just calling in sick.

  9. I am amazed that people in the US don’t realize that the only reason our reported cases are so low is that until a few days ago, the only people being tested were people that had been to China or had contact with someone that had been to China and had symptoms. Now people with no known contacts and symptoms can be tested, although the testing ability is still in the process of being ramped up. I would not be surprised at all if we already have areas that match the area around Milan. Italy has been doing the responsible thing in testing; as thanks they are bearing the economic brunt.

  10. Gary: Please change the headline. It appears the crew was prepared to fly. They just wanted to deadhead back. It is not clear whether management was going to make them work their way back, or overnight in a potentially quarantined city. The headline as initially published has engendered at least one nasty comment about the crew. IF the two accounts of the deadhead report are correct, the headline did those folks a disservice.

  11. Quite often I wish the crew on one of my AA flights had refused to fly. They certainly made it obvious they didn’t want to be aboard.

  12. Given the age and condition of most Intl. senior AA FA’s they were probably all in the high risk group. It would be like sending a nursing home to Milan for the weekend.

  13. What about the daily EVE AIRWAYS flight between ORD-TAIPE?

    Still flying it going to be stopped soon?

    Have booked that flight for 3 of us in AUGUST.

  14. @jim – At this point nobody knows. That’s just too far out for anybody to accurately predict what’ll be happening. EVA is a very high quality airline and they’re likely to keep you informed. Even if they don’t, you’re obviously looking out as well. Check their website and see where things stand a couple of months prior. It sucks but sometimes you just have to wait and see where things go. Best of luck.

  15. @Stuart – touché!

    > Given the age and condition of most Intl. senior AA FA’s they were probably all in the high risk group. It would be like sending a nursing home to Milan for the weekend.

  16. @Blake yes, I would absolutely fine with somebody in my family traveling to Milan, or traveling there myself, considering there have only been a tiny handful of cases in a city of 1.5 million people. In fact, with the exception of Hubei province, I would be comfortable traveling anywhere in the world right now. The level of fear and hysteria over this far exceeds the actual threat.

    That said, I take back my comment that the crew should be fired, as they were obviously being screwed over by AA on scheduling rather than just refusing to fly to Milan under normal circumstances.

  17. AA’s decision to screw over the crew was really shabby and probably violated the bargaining agreement,. I wonder what level of management made that decision. I’m sure the union will be filing some kind of complaint on Monday.

  18. Bryce, you really should walk a mile in the shoes of the crew. AA’s management tries this kind of trick on the crews very often, it just doesn’t make the news because it’s not tied to some other story. I’m sure Bryce is that kind of gung ho kind of guy that wouldn’t mind being scheduled to work a ten hour day , then not complain when he’s told he’ll have to work 20hours straight with no extra(overtime) pay..
    Charlie, as stated above AA’s management pulls this kind of trick quite often.. so much so that they added a clause to the bargaining agreement: if the duty day is to “somehow” exceed 18 hours, the crew has the option to volunteer to stay on duty to receive “overtime pay” , IF the company decides to offer it..and once the ENTIRE cabin crew volunteers..then they can be on duty for an unlimited (24 hours of course) amount of time.. in this case, the company knew they would exceed 18 hours , but didn’t want to the crew to know so they could invoke the clause..

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