American Airlines Cancels 500 Flights, Grounds Additional Planes For Safety Inspections

American Airlines has announced the cancellation of upwards of 500 flights as they inspect the way a bundle of wires are attached to the MD-80 aircraft. These new inspections stem from FAA concerns about the way American handled the last round of emergency inspections.

From CNNMoney:

“We’re apologetic for the issues this is causing customers, Frizzell said. “In some situations these adjustments will take only 15 minutes.”

American stated it would cancel upwards of 500 flights Tuesday with additional cancellations likely Wednesday. By about 6:00 p.m. ET, American had already cancelled 409 flights, according to FlightStats, an independent flight tracking service.

By comparison to Monday’s total cancellations, FlightStats reported that American scratched only 108 flights on Tuesday for typical reasons.

Second fix. The FAA ordered similar inspections last month that resulted in the cancellation of over 300 American Airlines flights. The FAA raised additional concerns and ordered a new round of inspections Tuesday regarding the manner in which American followed a specific directive in the previous inspections, the airline reported.

American cancels hundreds of flights [CNNMoney]
(Photo:So Cal Metro)


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  1. wilhelre says:

    I am supposed to fly out on american tomorrow morning and found out my flight at 7am is cancelled out of St. Louis. The best they could offer me was a flight at 4pm on an american flight. I requested being booked on an earlier flight with another airline. After being on hold for 20 minutes was told by the representative that they have no circuits right now for outbound calls and they would be unable to verify availability of the flight. It is a no brainer why so many airlines fail.

  2. dcaslin says:

    Worst. Airline. Ever.

  3. transplant says:

    @ wilhelre: You got through to an agent? I’ve been on hold for the last 30 minutes.

    The international portion of my flight looks like it’ll be on time, but the domestic portion to get to the international leg is canx’d. Grrrr…

  4. dachuckyb says:

    The FAA did a spot check on 10 random MD-80’s. 9 of them failed.

  5. ywgflyer says:

    Sounds to me like the FAA is doing a little crackdown on fraudulent maintenance practices. How hard is it to actually FOLLOW the job cards, folks?

    American has, what, over 300 MDs now? What a kick to the jewels for them. Ouch.

  6. kenblakely says:

    @ywgflyer: Yep, I think that’s exactly what’s going on. Not only that, but the level of industry involvement in our country’s airline regulation is so great, that for the FAA to be forcing over 800 flight cancellations means that the initiative to demand these inspections has been analyzed and coordinated to death.

    In other words, this isn’t just some rogue inspector. There’s really something going on, and something big enuf to make the regulators force this much revenue loss. Pretty amazing….

  7. TechnoDestructo says:

    Once Delta and United go out of business, maybe.

  8. mmstk101 says:

    It may be because I’m nervous about flying, but I find the sheer number of cancellations a bit, well, terrifying.

    While I doubt that the way that the “bundle of wires” is attached will cause the planes to fail, shouldn’t they maybe have looked into this from the start? Like, before people have been flying on them?

  9. PHX602 says:


    And leave Northwest and US Airways? Come on!


    Without knowing specifically what the issue with American’s wiring, Swissair Flight 111 crashed in 1998 in part due to arcing from wiring for the in-flight entertainment system.


  10. ColonelDebugger says:

    Once again the CEO of Southwest wonders where the fine for American is.

  11. MoxieGurl says:

    Unfortunate for me, I fly with them tomorrow.

    If today is any indication as to what can happen tomorrow, looks like I can make it to St. Louis. Today’s St. Louis to Chicago has been canceled.

    I should have flown with United or Air Tran. I can just scream!!!

  12. milk says:

    I think it’s pretty awesome because our director is traveling at the moment. Yesterday he spent seven hours in the airport because four of his flights got canceled. He’s such a tool to whom everyone caters, he deserves a little real world treatment.

  13. karmaghost says:

    “‘We’re apologetic for the issues this is causing customers, Frizzell said. “In some situations these adjustments will take only 15 minutes.'”

    How is this supposed to make people feel better? It doesn’t matter how long the adjustments take if the flight has been canceled completely.

  14. @dcaslin: I challenge that. I believe United holds that title.

  15. karter says:

    I was one of the many passengers stranded in Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) yesterday. After coming in on an MD80 from Kansas City, the flight attendant told everyone that the FAA had grounded all of American Airline’s MD80. Unlucky for me, my connecting flight home from DFW to San Francisco was canceled. So like hundred of other stranded passengers we lined up at every American counter to try to get some info/help as to what they could do for us. Lines were long and tempers were short. They also had employees pass out 800 numbers to call and reschedule flights. I was able to reschedule my flight out over the phone for the next day, Wednesday. The agent told me I could have a flight in the morning at 11am, but I told her that I did not want to fly on any flights that were on another MD80. I informed her that I would even take a later flight if she could find one that flew on another type of airplane. So now, I am waiting for my 350pm flight on a Boeing 767. As soon as I got confirmed for this flight yesterday I went right away to the check-in kiosk and checked myself in. Lucky I did this because today they’ve canceled more flights and most of the planes that American flies are MD80 so I don’t know how many more people will be stranded today.

  16. ekasbury says:

    Last time American did this to their MD-80s, Delta followed suit the next day . Anyone know if one should expect a repeat?

  17. TWSS says:

    After getting screwed over by American’s Monday cancellations, I read “apologetic” as “apoplectic” and was stunned at the empathy for a moment.

  18. Hairyback says:

    I was supposed to fly from Portland through DFW and connect to New Orleans tomorrow for a rollicking weekend in the French Quarter. Ain’t gonna happen. Those craven overlords at American Airlines cancelled the flights. All of ’em.

    Some cranky bitch on the phone suggested that I GO TO THE AIRPORT AND SEE IF THEY CAN ACCOMMODATE ME ON ANOTHER CARRIER!

    How stupid did she think I was? (don’t answer that).

    Fuck you, American Airlines. Fuck you in the eyes.

    Don’t give me that safety shit. The wiring adjustments they’re requiring aren’t even safety related. Anyway, I made them refund the ticket and I’ll just try to get on another carrier.

  19. MoxieGurl says:

    My flight tomorrow (Thursday) from New Orleans with connection in St. Louis to Chicago (flights 5588 / 362) got canceled today. But get this, the rep claimed it WAS NOT because the the plane was a MD80 but because of bad weather expected in Chicago. Since when does an airline cancel a flight 24 hours in advance of supposed bad weather? I guess they don’t want those wires to get wet.

    I went the hell off! I could only get an alternate flight for Friday morning on United. I was scheduled to attend a benefit in Chicago tomorrow night.

    Fab dress = $150.00
    Fab shoes and accessories = $100.00
    Ticket to the beneit = $100.00

    Apology from American = MEANINGLESS

  20. Zaphâ„¢ says:

    My flight from Columbus to San Antonio via a layover in DFW was canceled earlier this evening, so I called called customer service. Due to the crush of everyone calling it took three tries to get into the phone queue and not a busy signal. When I was finally able to get a person on the line she was able to get me another flight out through a different carrier, though it is on Friday rather than Thursday, but at least I am getting a flight out. The phone rep sounded absolutely flustered, but I was resolute to be extremely nice and put the agent at ease that I was not going to yell at her, and I think that is why she worked so hard to get me a new flight out through Delta. While I am disappointed that I will have even less time with my family due to the cancellations, I still can’t say too many bad things about American Airlines. They always get me where I need to go.

  21. Hairyback says:

    When I spoke to AA on the phone, she said “well we’re doing this because we have your safety in mind.” When I confronted her with the report that this doesn’t have to do with safety, she said, “Yes, I guess that’s true.”


  22. Hairyback says:

  23. Aeroracere says:

    Hey all; so my girlfriend and her brother were flying to meet me in Chicago for a wedding via AA tomorrow, but unfortunately, this threw a monkey wrench in that whole deal. So, hopefully to help you guys out; if you call AA Vacations (rather than main reservations, which is constantly busy) they can process refunds for your tickets, or help you set up new reservations!

    You can reach them at 800-321-2121

    Good luck!

  24. ikrasnoff says:

    I agree!!!! My comments:
    I am really appalled by the sheer volume of cancelled flights due to maintenance/safety compliance issues. If there is going to be a mass volume of cancellations why not target for the week-end thru Monday rather than Tuesdays thru Friday. It is a huge inconvenience to business travellers who are anxious to get home. We travel every week, and the week-ends are the only time for quality family time. The least the airlines could do is cater to the vast majority of its domestic customers on the week-days who are business travelers – do everything you can to get us home on Thursday/Friday mornings even if it means re-booking us to an alternate carrier.

    For revamping your fleets I recommend focusing on the week-ends instead. American Airlines your track record is appalling to say the least. I am very disappointed in the fact that my company does business with you.