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Pilots Blame AA Letter For Latest Fallout

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After flying in to try to re-start contract negotiations with American Airlines, today the Allied Pilots Association board of directors walked out of their offices and went home. Tom Hoban of the association says, “The board of directors is adjourned and there’s no intent to resume contract negotiations at this point.”

The pilots union blames this letter American sent last night threatening legal action if certain pilots continue delaying and cancelling flights.

In the letter, American calls the conduct misguided, claiming it’s inflicting economic damage on the company, and is frustrating and alienating our customers.”Hoban rejects that. “How do you expect to resume collective bargaining when you hold a gun to our heads with the threat of being enjoined by a federal court – it’s mind-boggling.”

A spokesman for American Airlines says, “Rhetoric doesn’t change the facts. The facts are some of the pilots of this airline are disrupting it are ruining customers vacations and business trips.”

Since mid-September, American says it’s had more than 700 cancellations because of the disruptions, and that only 58 percent of the flights arrived in that same time period.

One American frequent flyer, Wes Sarbien, told us he hasn’t been affected, but others he knows have. He says, “I have a lot of colleagues who’ve gone over to competitive airlines (Southwest). Just because of inconsistencies AA has delivered on its flights. I haven’t been affected yet, but if I am, then I’ll make some changes.”

Mark Drusch is a retired airline executive with Delta and Continental Airlines. He says distrust that’s built up on both sides for the past decade is a contributing problem. “Everyone’s got to step back and say how do we achieve that goal? Erase what’s going on this past six months and 10 years and do what has to be done to move forward. They both are missing opportunities to come to an agreement.”

As of 4:30pm Thursday, American said it had 22 cancelled flights system-wide today, and that about 66 percent of flights are on-time.

American has offered customers who are delayed at least two hours a choice of three options: a full refund if they don’t want to fly that day, re-book on another American flight without paying a fee, or book a flight on another airline if it’s available.

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