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Holiday Flying: APA is Here For You

As professional pilots, we know how challenging the year-end holiday season can be, with full airplanes and the ever-present possibility of inclement weather the norm. These usual challenges will be magnified in the coming weeks by staffing shortages throughout the travel industry, the uncertainty that’s been generated by the vaccine mandate, the occasional unruly passenger, American Airlines’ aggressive schedule, and its inability to restore the operation after weather-related disruptions. Without question, our pilots will be experiencing more than their fair share of stress.

First and foremost, safety must remain our highest priority. As the airline’s front-line leaders, we are the ultimate guardians of the safety margin. Exercise the leadership that you are vested with, never allow yourself to be rushed, and maintain a safe operation.

APA's Fall 2021 Survival Guide contains a variety of useful, up-to-date reference materials for our pilots, with a few areas requiring additional amplification this holiday season. To that end, a recent update from the Flight Time/Duty Time Committee addressing fatigue during the holidays acknowledges that commuting to work may be difficult and to expect reassignments and noisy layover hotels. This update includes useful guidelines about mitigating, declaring, and reporting fatigue. Please be sure to consult it as needed. In its latest update, the Jumpseat/Non-Rev Committee covers a number of timely topics, highlighting the importance of being proactive in initial interactions at the gate prior to departure to accommodate all jumpseaters and non-rev passengers who can be accommodated. I also recommend reviewing the Contract Compliance Committee’s latest reminder regarding recovery obligation, reassignments, notification, and DOTC bypass claims. As the committee notes, irregular operations do not modify our working agreement.

APA offers an array of resources to help you navigate the challenges you may encounter. When we find ourselves or our flying partners becoming distracted, please remember the robust support system that APA offers to help ensure everyone stays “in the green.” Safety, Training, Security, Aeromedical, Professional Standards, Flight Time/Duty Time, and Contract Compliance — committee volunteers remain available to provide peer-to-peer support when the need arises.

Your APA leadership sincerely hopes that American Airlines does not experience operational disruptions like those we saw this past summer and most recently during Halloween weekend. If any such disruptions do occur, I am confident that they will not be due to anything that our pilots did or did not do. We are professionals and understand the trust that the passengers we carry place in us to get them to their destinations safely.

As you navigate the challenges ahead, APA will maintain its focus on securing a new collective bargaining agreement. The APA Board of Directors’ unanimous rejection of LOA 21-006 on Nov. 9 underscores your union’s commitment to achieving permanent improvements. We are not interested in applying short-term fixes that fail to address the long-term, systemic issues facing our airline. We intend to do our part to help ensure American Airlines becomes the carrier of choice for passengers, investors, and the next generation of pilots. With your continued support, I am confident APA can achieve its goals on your behalf.

APA headquarters, including Contract Administration, will close on Thursday, Nov. 25, and Friday, Nov. 26, in observance of Thanksgiving. Contract Administration will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27, and Sunday, Nov. 28. Click here for additional details.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve such an outstanding group of professionals and wish each of you safe and healthy Thanksgiving. Take care of each other, cherish your family and friends, and fly safe.

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