Glitches of one kind or another meant that some American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) flights would not have pilots over the holidays, a blow to many people headed home for the holidays. American announced it had suddenly solved the problem and everyone who wants to fly can. It is another example of how technology can get in the way of customer satisfaction.
Management at the airline announced:
Earlier this week, American Airlines shared that a processing error resulted in some concern as to whether our flights over the December holidays would have adequate pilot staffing. We are pleased to report that together, American and the Allied Pilots Association have put that worry to rest to make sure our flights will operate as scheduled. By working together, we can assure customers that among the many stresses of the season, worrying about a canceled flight won’t be one of them. In short, if Santa is flying, so is American. Much appreciation to APA President Capt. Dan Carey and our 15,000 professional aviators who are doing their part to cover the holiday schedule and beyond. As always, when there’s a need, the American Airlines team comes together to take care of each other and our customers.
The problem had two negative effects on the company. It served to make management look less than competent, and it worried a number of customers that their holidays might be ruined. Even if there was never a real chance the flights wouldn’t fly, a typical passenger had no idea of that.
The public’s view of technology has already been damaged by data breaches, car electronics features that are too hard to use and drones that are so numerous that government officials worry they might make passenger air travel dangerous. All those pilotless planes have something to crash into.