The number of legacy US Airways flight attendants impacted by a December bidding system glitch at American Airlines (AAL)  apparently has doubled.

The number, originally thought to be about 200, has increased as more flight attendants have reviewed their December schedules and found problems. About 400 flight attendants have raised the issue with the company, American spokesman Casey Norton said late Monday.

The glitch in an American bidding system program provided some legacy US Airways flight attendants with December schedules -- including holiday schedules -- they didn't want to fly, provoking an angry outcry on social media.

Normally, a preferential bidding system enables flight attendants to bid for schedules -- those with the highest seniority are most likely to be awarded the schedules they desire.

American encouraged flight attendants to contact its flight attendant resource center if their schedules were impacted by the glitch, explaining the dramatic increase in the count of flight attendants who were impacted.

 "Whatever the number, it's too many, and we are doing our best to correct the matter," Norton said. "Our first priority is to reach out to flight attendants who received mis-awarded trips and offer solutions. We are also actively working with the PBS vendor to make sure something like this doesn't happen again."

American is offering incentives including 150% pay for every trip that legacy US Airways flight attendants fly between Dec. 15 and Dec. 31; 300% pay for flight attendants who agree to work the mistakenly assigned trips and pay protection for flight attendants who do not fly them.

One legacy US Airway flight attendant, who asked not to be named, said in an e-mail that flying all of the trips that were wrongly assigned would enable a December paycheck of more than $15,000.

In general, flight attendants work about 80 hours a month. Top pay for international flight attendants is about $56 plus a premium of $6.50 an hour for working as a purser or chief flight attendant.

American and US Airways merged in 2013. Legacy American flight attendants have a different bidding system and are not impacted by the glitch, which some legacy US Airways flight attendants are calling "the glitch that stole Christmas."

"It's horrific," said a second legacy US Airways flight attendant who asked not to be named. "We are up in arms. The new system awarded people from all seniorities crazy schedules."

The preferential bidding system is provided to American by East Brunswick, N.J.-based Advanced Optimization System. The firm's Web site said it contracts to eight airlines.

Besides pay incentives, American is providing an increase in the number of assigned trips that flight attendants can drop in December and an increase in staffing in the flight attendant resource center.

 

 

 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.