ORLANDO, FL – As American Airlines faced widespread flight cancelations and delays resulting from crippling computer issues, another airline delayed a few of its own flights in a show of solidarity for its beleaguered competitor.
A widespread technology outage has forced American Airlines to cancel or delay hundreds of flights today, creating havoc across the country for travelers, and stranding many. The outage is reportedly due to an old Windows XP operating system that hasn’t been upgraded or even patched in many years and that was running the timecard system that gate agents use to clock in and out for the day.
With no ability to clock in, the airlines’ Union refused to let their employees work, forcing the cancellations or delays that have rippled across the country and infuriated thousands of customers.
There appears to be a silver lining though, amid the chaos and frustration. A competitor airline, JetBlue, made the decision to cancel several flights of its own in a show of solidarity with American Airlines. The touching move was quickly applauded on social media by the heads of other unions and airline industry veterans.
“Us airlines have to stick together, you know,” said one union head on social media. “If one member is affected, we are all affected. We have to stay strong. This is what we used to be about and it’s heartwarming to see that some folks in this space still get that.”
JetBlue issued a statement noting, “After two years of suffering through a pandemic, the airline industry has learned we’ve got to stick together. It’s us against the passengers and we are proud that this small gesture might lift the spirits of some of our fellow airline industry staff – regardless of where they work.”
No other airline appeared to join JetBlue in showing their support for American Airlines, although it is rumored that the Southwest Airlines executive team had a big laugh about it when one former American Airlines-turned-Southwest exec suggested it during a staff meeting. The exec was later fired.