American Airlines is in the thick of a dirty dispute with the union representing the mechanics that keep planes safe as they work toward negotiating a contract. And it's causing some massive problems.
The saga goes back months, but just recently, American brass has accused mechanics of intentionally causing disruptions and delays to flights. A federal court sided with the airline and slapped the mechanics union with an injunction to prevent more disruption. Still, there's no resolution in sight
So just how bad is it? View from the Wing obtained internal data from the airline allegedly showing on-time performance data from the week of June 7 through June 13. And during that period, just 57.8% of American Airlines flights departed on time.
It's worth pointing out that American measures its own on-time departures very rigidly – this metric doesn't include any 15-plus-minute grace period, as most airline statistics do. If any flight departs just a minute late, that flight is late in American's eyes.
Still, getting less than 58 percent of flights out on time is horrible. For reference, more than 80% of all flights departed on time in March 2019, the latest month the Bureau of Transportation Statistics has data available. These data points aren't exactly apples to apples, but it's still telling.
Of course, there are other factors afoot behind American's putrid on-time performance. American's operations were already strained by the grounding of the 737 MAX, which has caused thousands of cancellations and scheduling trouble at American. And before all this, American has never been the smoothest running airline, to say the least.
But there's no question this spat with mechanics has taken a bad situation at American and made it far worse.
With no end in sight to this union dispute, don't count on getting out on your American Airlines flight on time.