DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, TX (CBS) -- Broken coffee pot reportedly delayed one American Airlines flight recently, and that delay represents a brewing problem: allegations of an intentional work slowdown by angry pilots.
Sources inside American confirm that, and they point to the numbers. Sunday, five percent of the day's flights had to be scrubbed, far more than normal, and a big spike that comes just days after new, less favorable work rules for pilots were put into effect.
to put this into perspective, in July, American canceled only one-percent of its flights, just below the industry average. Several passengers are frustrated and one former pilot who says the slowdown is well within the "rules".
The weary Johnson family is just getting home Monday at DFW. It was 24 hours after their American Airlines flight from Kansas City was cancelled. Libby Johnson says, "Frustrating. With little kids traveling and having to miss school and not knowing is this an excused absence? I'm not quite sure."
Schedule monitors showed an evening flight to Washington on American Airlines Monday night-was cancelled. Flights to Charlotte and from Mexico: cancelled. Passengers are often told mechanical issues grounded their flight.
Those issues are suddenly coming up often enough along with an increase in pilot sick calls, American is cutting its flight schedule through October by up to two-percent. Airline analyst Denny Kelly says, "Pilots you can't control, because when they leave that gate, they're in command of that airplane and can do whatever legal they can do."
In the thick book of rules laid out by the government, there is a lot that crews can legally point out as a problem before a flight, said Kelly. The uncertainty though has already affected his own travel decisions.
While jets taxied slowly outside the c-terminal Monday night, some people who flew American were wondering if they should have. Tammy Russler made it back from Las Vegas yesterday-her friends are still trying to get here. She says, "We're actually thinking of going somewhere for Thanksgiving. When I start looking at flights this week I will not look at American. Because of the fear we will not get there or get home."