Last week the world got wind of a computer glitch at American Airlines that left an estimated 15,000 flights scheduled to run over the festive period with no assigned pilots!
If you’re thinking this is a ‘Grinch that stole Christmas’ moment… you’re not alone.
So how did this happen? They experienced a software glitch that resulted in giving too many of their pilots’ time off between the 17-31 December, the time of year that sees millions of people travel by air to be with loved ones, or simply go on a well-deserved holiday over the Christmas break. A US-based aviation union called the incident a “crisis” and we have to agree.
The potential repercussions for American Airlines to rectify this are huge. It’s estimated that this technical incident will cost them up to $10 million to fix the scheduling mix up, with pilots being offered up to 150%of their hourly wage to pick up certain flights and work the flight rotas!
Does this feel like deja vu to you? That’s probably because it wasn’t long ago that another major airline ‘RyanAir’ confessed to messing up pilot holidays’ and as a result had to cancel 40 to 50 flights every day for over a month.
The repercussions led to Ryanair offering passengers compensation for hotels and other expenses. And worst of all, their brand image took a damaging hit. The full consequences for American Airlines have yet to be seen, but unless a Christmas miracle happens, we’re to likely see them go down a similar path.
So what can we take away from this… even though it’s an extreme scenario? Getting staff holidays and rotas wrong can negatively affect your business, that’s why you need to manage them effectively.
The best place to start is with a system to help manage your HR and staff holidays. With a software solution like BrightHR in place you’ll be able to manage staff time off with a breeze, and keep things organised with a complete overview of your company's holiday planner, that flags potential holiday clashes automatically.