Should Business Travelers Avoid This Airline?

If you travel this airline frequently, there’s a good chance you were late for a business meeting or you sacrificed precious vacation time or due to delays and cancellations.

American Airlines
American Airlines

The airline is American – and in recent days the carrier has delayed or cancelled nearly 40 percent of flights largely due to "unprecedented and very significant" increase in maintenance issues.

Delays on American are so widespread and unexpected that The Wall Street Journal's travel editor, Scott McCartney, took the unusual step of warning fliers to select another carrier.

"If you’re making travel plans for this fall, avoid American Airlines. American has become too unreliable," he wrote.

“It’s damaging. Customers are upset,” admitted former AMR Chairman & CEO Donald Carty on The Kudlow Report. “There’s nothing worse than a cancelled flight.”

That sounds as if American isn’t executing very well but there may be more than meets the eye here.

American began implementing cost cuts for its pilots this month after a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled the airline could abandon its collective bargaining agreement with the pilots union.

The pilots are the only major work group at American that have not agreed on contract concessions since the airline filed for bankruptcy in November. The union voted down a final offer from the carrier in August.

The pilots, however, deny any wrong doing.

"There is no job action of any sort that is organized, supported or sanctioned by the Allied Pilots Association," the union's statement on Thursday.

On The Kudlow Report, Donald Carty reminded that “it’s not every pilot or every flight. I just had a wonderful flight.”

Nonetheless, from Monday through Wednesday of this week, American and American Eagle canceled more than 250 flights, according to the FlightAware.com tracking service.

FlightAware said cancellations at American have been well above the rest of the industry for the past two weeks.

"My advice is until things get straightened out with the operations, if you have a choice you ought to book another airline," the Journal’s McCartney said. It's just not worth it."

Tune in:

"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.