DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is apologizing to its best customers for the recent increase in delayed and canceled flights.
The airline sent email messages Friday to members of its AAdvantage loyalty program saying it was sorry for the inconvenience.
AAdvantage president Suzanne L. Rubin said the airline added staff in maintenance, reservations and at airports to help travelers.
Rubin said if delays will cause someone to arrive more than an hour late, American will try to book the passenger on another flight — even on another airline — or cancel the reservation and give a refund.
American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, blames an increase in delays and cancelations on a surge of maintenance requests filed by crews and by an uptick in pilots calling in sick. The pilots' union says there is no organized sickout or work slowdown.
As of Friday afternoon American had canceled 310 flights this week, more than the next three airlines combined, according to tracking service FlightAware.com. American canceled many of those flights well in advance to adjust its schedule to crew and aircraft numbers, and cancelations dropped from 61 Wednesday to 17 on Thursday and 17 on Friday, according to FlightAware.
For several days early in the week, more than half of American's flights arrived late, according to another service, FlightStats.com.