Triple Pay and Better Benefits: How Airlines Are Curbing Summer Travel Turmoil

With pilots in high demand, major airlines are bumping up salaries and working on new contracts.

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By Amanda Breen • Jun 6, 2022 Originally published Jun 6, 2022

With a chaotic summer travel season underway, airlines are trying to figure out how to combat the staffing shortages that contributed to over 700 canceled flights on Monday alone.

American Airlines and United Airlines are among those major carriers trying to retain their in-demand pilots, CNBC reports, with increased pay and benefits.

American Airlines regional carrier Envoy Air will give pilots triple pay if they fly open trips from July 2-31. "This will only be offered if there are open trips available, and currently Envoy is fully covered with its flight schedule this summer," the carrier said.

Additionally, earlier this month, American Airlines' regional subsidiaries — Envoy, Piedmont, and PSA — agreed to a temporary 50% pay bump for pilots through August 2024.

Related: American Airlines Desperately Asks Employees to Volunteer to Help Keep Up With Busy Summer Travel Season

Last Friday, the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents roughly 14,000 United Airlines pilots, secured a 14.5% pay increase for pilots within 18 months, marking the first time a major U.S. carrier reached such an agreement since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The two-year contract also includes eight weeks of paid maternity leave.

The United Airlines agreement sets a powerful precedent for other major U.S. carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines, as unions fight to improve their quality of life after more than two grueling years of the pandemic.

"Our team will be paid well and be paid competitively," American Airlines CEO Robert Isom promised following United's milestone agreement. "You are not going to fall behind network peers."

Related: United Airlines to Halt Flights to 11 U.S. Cities

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and recently completed the MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

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