First Major Airline Strikes a Deal With Pilots Union

United Airlines has come to an agreement with its pilots' labor union on new contract terms, setting an example for the rest of the industry.

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By Madeline Garfinkle • May 13, 2022

United Airlines is the first of the major carriers to strike a deal with pilot labor unions since the start of the pandemic, which upended travel and left the flight industry grappling with new challenges.

Pilot unions have formed in increasing numbers over the past year, negotiating for better terms when it comes to taxing schedules and compensation. The deal with United could mark the beginning of more settlements between pilot unions and major airlines like Delta and Southwest, which are still in the negotiation phase.

Although it's a big win for pilot unions, it comes as no surprise that United was the first to step up. United has historically maintained an amicable relationship with its pilot union, and it made early deals during the pandemic to keep pilots on staff.

Related: United and Spirit Airlines Increase Pay for Pilots and Flight Attendants to Offset Labor Shortages

"United Airlines was the only airline to work with our pilots union to reach an agreement during COVID," CEO Scott Kirby shared in a LinkedIn post. "It's not surprising that we are now the first airline to get an Agreement in Principle for an industry leading new pilot contract."

The Air Line Pilots Association and United have not yet divulged the exact agreement terms, but they will likely include better pay and other improved working conditions.

As of 9 a.m. on Friday, United shares were up 2.4% at $42.50.

Related: Southwest Pilots' Union Sues Airline Over COVID-19 Response

Madeline Garfinkle

Entrepreneur Staff

Editorial Assistant

Madeline Garfinkle is an Editorial Assistant at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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