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Last Updated On: 9/30/2012

Media reports suggest an unusually high number of flight cancellations at American Airlines, an off-shoot of the tension between the airline's pilots and management.

FlightStats.com is reporting that American Airlines canceled 100 flights, or 5.4% of its schedule on Thursday, and only 49.9% arrived on time.

The situation improved on Friday although there were still 39 cancellations by late afternoon.

Pilots and management at American Airlines are at loggerheads over new pay and work rules.

Management is accusing the pilots of a work slowdown that is leading to increasing number of late arrivals and cancellations.

Senior officials of American Airlines are charging pilots with filing a high number of frivolous maintenance write-ups and flying circuitous routes.

Pilots are responding that old planes need maintenance and that there is a shortage of pilots.

Caught in the crossfire is the hapless passenger with a cancelled or delayed flight.

Flight cancellations and delays at American Airlines has been way ahead of other airlines since early September.

Irrespective of the merits on either side, travelers who have booked on American Airlines flights have been to put to great inconvenience over the last few days.

Such inconvenience cannot be tolerated by paying customers.

The two sides need to work out their dispute without inconveniencing passengers whose support is crucial for the airline's survival.

Amtrak Travelers, Beware

If you're one of those American travelers who, put off by frequent flight delays, endless add-on fees, last-minute cancellations and the long security lines at airports, is riding the Amtrak trains more often lately, there's some unpleasant news for you.

A new report from Amtrak Inspector General Ted Alves warns that the key staff operating the trains (conductors, mechanics and engineers) are testing positive for drugs and alcohol more frequently over the last six years.

Warning of safety risks, Amtrak’s inspector general said drug and alcohol use by employees in safety-sensitive positions far exceeds the national average for the railroad industry.

The railroad's mechanics and signal operators had the highest rate of drug use in 2011, testing positive for drugs four times as frequently as those working for other railroads, said the Washington Post.

Use of cocaine and marijuana by employees in critical safety positions has been a major problem for the passenger railroad that is subsidized by the federal government.

“These conditions increase the risk that a serious accident will occur that involves drugs or alcohol,” Alves wrote in his report.

Amtrak promised to take more steps to improve passenger safety and increase its random drug testing rate from 33% to 50%.


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