American hopes IT switch doesn't snag flights this weekend

Markets Associated Press

In this Friday, June 3, 2016, photo, an American Airlines passenger jet takes off from Miami International Airport in Miami. Nearly three years after its merger with US Airways, American Airlines will roll out a flight system covering all its pilots, ... the airline announced Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. American hopes it can make the change on the fly during the weekend without causing delays or canceling more flights. The airline dropped about 200 flights for the weekend to lighten its load and make the switchover easier. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) (The Associated Press)

American Airlines will make a big technology change this weekend involving planes and pilots, but passengers won't notice a thing if all goes well.

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Nearly three years after the merger that created the current American, the airline switch to a single flight-operating system instead of three separate systems.

American expects the change to boost efficiency, but like anything involving technology and airlines, it comes with risk. In a memo to employees Friday, executives said hundreds would be staffing "command centers" around the clock in case of hiccups.

American has tried to make the job easier by conducting the technology switchover on a Saturday in early fall, when fewer people are traveling, and by pruning about 200 flights from its schedule from Friday night through early Sunday.