American Airlines Pilots Are Mad Delta Colleagues Are Getting All the Money
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Delta Airlines may have been its employees’ best Valentine: on February 14, Delta announced that it will distribute more than $1.1 billion in profit-sharing bonuses from 2017 earnings.
“This is the fourth year in a row that Delta’s profit sharing has topped $1 billion — a milestone no company in history has ever achieved,” said CEO Ed Bastian. “Delta people are the reason for our success, and Valentine’s Day is our favorite day each year as we celebrate the incredible results our people have delivered.”
According to the Allied Pilots Association (APA) union, Delta shares 10% of pretax profits up to $2.5 billion, and 20% above $2.5 billion. United shares 10% up to a 6.9% pre-tax margin and 20% above that margin. American shares 5% of its pretax profit, the lowest rate among US majors.
For Delta pilots, the best paid line employees at any airline, this results in quite a sizable payout. According to union figures, based on 2017 earnings and profit-sharing numbers, Delta captains will receive a whopping $29,000 to $59,000, depending on tenure. In comparison, a United captain will receive between $9,300 to $20,500 in profit-sharing bonuses, while American Airlines captains will receive a measly $3,600 to $7,500.
A union representative at American is, unsurprisingly, not happy that the other guys are getting all the money. “The profit sharing pool at Delta is an Olympics-size pool,” he said. “American’s is a kiddie-size pool.” (Not that pilots are exactly starving, in general. Their salaries have risen significantly in recent years, at least for those with more seniority.)
Delta says it has paid out over $5 billion through the profit-sharing program over the last five years, and the average Delta employee will receive around $6,000 as a bonus for 2017. That’s more than 10% of average base pay for most employees. These bonuses exist despite the fact that Delta’s made quite a bit less net profit last year than the year before: about 18 percent less, with $3.6 billion in net income in 2017, compared to $4.4 billion.
Delta employees make about 80% more in 2018 than they did a decade ago, according to the airline.
Profit-sharing at American Airlines is a recent development: AA employment contracts before 2015 did not include any form of profit-sharing, and the airline went beyond the contract to introduce profit-sharing at the same rate that existed before American’s merger with US Airways in 2013. In addition, American Airlines also implemented a mid-contract pay increase of 8% for its pilots in April 2017.
Featured image of a Delta Boeing 757 by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees