Regional carrier on reduced schedule at CLT, again leaving passengers frustrated

Disgruntled passengers try to find their way home after glitch cancelled 100 flights

Disgruntled passengers at Charlotte's airport are letting American Airlines have it on social media after a "technical issue" left thousands stranded at the airport overnight.
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Disgruntled passengers at Charlotte's airport are letting American Airlines have it on social media after a "technical issue" left thousands stranded at the airport overnight.

PSA Airlines, a regional carrier of American Airlines, will operate on a reduced schedule of flights into and out of Charlotte until noon Monday after a technical issue led to the cancellation of about 70 flights on Sunday.

The problem doesn't affect American's other regional carriers or mainline flights, an American spokeswoman said. The flight tracking site FlightAware showed other carriers landing and departing Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday.

"We understand that these cancellations have been frustrating for our customers, and we are doing everything in our power to get things back to normal as quickly as possible," spokeswoman Katie Cody said by email. "We are rebooking passengers and American's Customer Relations department will be reaching out to all affected customers. We encourage all customers flying out Sunday evening or Monday to check their flight status on aa.com or the American Airlines app."

Cody said the issue was with PSA's crew scheduling and tracking system. To operate flights, the airline has to assign crews to each aircraft. Those systems have been having issues, and American Airlines has dispatched a group of technical workers to PSA's headquarters near Dayton, Ohio, to resolve the problems.

PSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines that operates regional flights under the American Eagle brand. Those flights are typically on smaller jets that feed passengers from regional airports to major hubs like Charlotte for passengers to make connections.

The Federal Aviation Administration referred questions to the airline, and its flight tracker showed delays of arrivals and departure from Charlotte to be generally 15 minutes or less Monday morning.

One passenger, Fox Sports reporter Alan Cavanna, tweeted that he was already on his plane in Des Moines early Sunday morning when the pilot announced an "IT crash" at Charlotte's airport.

"Nothing going in or out of Charlotte," the pilot said, according to Cavanna.

Anne Norris of Cambridge, Mass., said her 13-year-old daughter and a friend were trying to fly from Boston to Pennsylvania as unaccompanied minors on Sunday. They were supposed to connect flights in Charlotte, but their first flight was canceled and they had to wait hours in the airport without their parents.

Norris called American Airlines for help, she said, but the help line had a nearly two-hour-long wait time.

"It's been a nightmare," she said.

The problem on Sunday was the second time in four days that PSA Airlines flights led to trouble for air travelers.

A technical issue with the regional carrier caused more than 120 Charlotte flights to be canceled on Thursday, and the issue continued into Friday morning, the airport reported in a tweet.

Hundreds of people were stranded at the airport Thursday night, some of them sleeping on floors. Other airports were also affected.

Airport officials told WBTV that Charlotte Douglas remains in an "irregular operations" plan that began Thursday to help stranded passengers. The plan extends concession and checkpoint hours, adds airport support staff and makes available emergency supplies including diapers, wipes and formula, blankets and pillows. The airport is also providing additional buses to bring passengers back to the terminal.

PSA Airlines normally operates more than 800 daily flights to United States destinations east of Ohio, where the American Airlines Group-owned company is based, according to its website.

If you have a flight scheduled, check its status online before arriving at the airport, Charlotte Douglas recommended on Twitter.


An earlier version of this story should have made clear that Sunday's ground stops at Charlotte Douglas only applied to PSA flights.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128 @janewester