Bad news for those looking to travel with American Airlines over the Christmas period. A technical issue with the airlines computer system has resulted in too many pilots booking time off over the Christmas period leaving 15,000 flights without adequate crew.

This is not the first time a glitch like this has caused chaos for the aviation industry this year. In September, Irish budget airline, Ryanair grounded 20,000 flights after they allowed too many pilots to take time off during one of the airlines busiest period.

In an attempt to rectify the situation before flights have to be cancelled, American Airlines are offering their pilots 150% of their hourly pay to work over the Christmas period. If they fail to get enough pilots on board then flights are likely to be cancelled causing chaos for thousands of passengers.

The airports that are thought to be affected should this happen are Dallas, Boston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Charlotte in North Carolina. Customers who are planning to travel with American Airlines over the Christmas period have been advised to contact the airline for updates on flight cancellations.

If flights are cancelled, customers should first speak to their airline about rescheduling the flight or receiving compensation. Although the flight may be compensated, it is worth noting the majority of travel insurance policies will not provide cover if an airline cancels a flight therefore customers can find themselves seriously out of pocket if they are not able to use their pre-paid accommodation, car hire or pre-paid theme park tickets.

Affected customers who booked through a travel agent or tour operator are advised to contact the company, who may be able to arrange alternative transport.

It is worth noting there are some policies that will cover for cancellation due to ‘any cause beyond your reasonable control’. Although these policies are slightly more expensive, it will be money well spent if you are affected by the American Airlines chaos or a similar situation.