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American CEO Doug Parker tells workers to 'tear up' furlough notices after new relief bill

March 10, 2021
3 min read
American CEO Doug Parker tells workers to 'tear up' furlough notices after new relief bill
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It's the news every airline worker has been waiting to hear.

The next round of furloughs is officially canceled at American Airlines, following the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, the latest pandemic aid package. They're canceled at United, too. Combined, that staves off the furloughing of about 27,000 workers at those two airlines alone at least through September.

The bill, which is expected to be signed into law by President Biden in the coming days, includes an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) that was first featured in the April, 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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The $15 billion payroll support program is, in essence, meant to allow airlines to continue to pay employees even as revenue has plummeted amid the coronavirus pandemic. Airline labor groups have described it as financial aid to airline workers, which is simply distributed through the airline payroll systems.

"“For Flight Attendants and other aviation workers this bill passage means continuing the historic Workers First Payroll Support Program that we achieved in the CARES Act a year ago," Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said in a statement. "Aviation workers will receive a paycheck and healthcare through September, and stay current on our certifications so we’re in place to meet demand as vaccinations are readily available and travel returns to the skies."

The airline and broader travel industries have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. U.S. airlines lost a combined $35 billion in 2020, with passenger numbers down more than 60% from 2019 levels.

To receive aid, airlines must agree to not furlough workers before Sept. 30, 2021.

American Airlines had previously notified 13,000 workers of imminent furlough if PSP funding was not renewed.

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"For our 13,000 colleagues who received Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices last month, those are happily canceled – you can tear them up," CEO Doug Parker said in a letter to employees.

United had planned to furlough about 14,000 workers without an extension.

"We have been strategically setting United Airlines up to emerge from this as the best global airline in the world," United CEO Scott Kirby said in his own message to employees. "But a large part of that preparation relies on one of our greatest assets: our frontline employees. By extending PSP, our teams will be able to remain current in their training and ready to match expected future demand."

Although international travel demand is not expected to meaningfully recover before 2022, airlines have expressed increasing optimism over domestic travel demand, particularly as COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues.

On Wednesday, President Biden said that all Americans will have access to the vaccine by the end of May.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023