American Airlines' Pilots Just Got a Nice Surprise

Under new contract, pay will go up 21% immediately, then even more
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
American Airlines' Pilots Just Got Big Raises
American Airlines planes are parked at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 31, 2020, in Imperial, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, file)

Under a new contract ratified Monday, American Airlines pilots are getting a significant pay bump. Their compensation will increase by 46% over its four-year duration, with immediate changes including a 21% boost in pay and improved sick leave, vacation pay, and training pay. The airline also increased 401(k) contributions and improved benefits, and the deal includes back pay and ratification bonuses as well, the New York Times reports. The deal brings American in line with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, which reached similar contract deals this year, and leaves Southwest Airlines as the last of the four big carriers in the US not to have come to even a preliminary agreement with its pilots.

In fact, it was United's deal that, as the WSJ puts it, "threw a wrench" in the process over at American; after a preliminary deal was reached at American in May, United made a better deal with its pilots, so American bumped up its offerings to match. (Delta had been the first to make a new deal that significantly boosted pilot pay back in March.) As the Times notes, air travel demand is up and pilots are in short supply, giving unions a big boost in leverage. "This contract is a big first step toward restoring the wages, benefits and work rules that were lost during the past two decades while our profession was under continuous assault," says the president of the union representing American Airlines pilots. (More American Airlines stories.)

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