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Delta and pilots union reach accord that would avoid coronavirus furloughs

Oct. 30, 2020
3 min read
Delta and pilots union reach accord that would avoid coronavirus furloughs
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Delta Air Lines and its pilots union have reached a deal that would allow the carrier to avoid any furloughs for over a year even as it weathers the coronavirus pandemic.

The tentative agreement postpones any pilot furloughs to at least Jan. 1, 2022 from Nov. 1 while at the same time giving Delta the flexibility to reduce crew expenses during the crisis, the Delta chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said late on Thursday.

The Atlanta-based carrier stood apart from peers American Airlines and United Airlines by avoiding furloughs on Oct. 1. Protections under the federal coronavirus relief package, or CARES Act, expired the day before. However, barring an agreement with ALPA, Delta was set to let go of at least 1,700 pilots this Sunday, Nov. 1.

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U.S. airlines and their labor unions continue to push for a six-month extension of federal payroll support. That relief would allow carriers to keep staff on their their payrolls through the historically weaker winter travel period and allow them to bounce back faster next summer.

In addition, the support would act as a way of keeping airline staff employed and avoid further expanding unemployment rolls.

"ALPA’s priority will remain focused on making sure our voice is heard on Capitol Hill as we continue to seek a clean extension to the CARES Act and the [payroll support program] despite the recent delays that have been encountered," said Delta pilot and union spokesperson Chris Riggins in a statement.

Related: More than 30,000 furloughs begin as ‘terrible Thursday’ arrives for airlines

If the payroll program is extended after the Nov. 3 election, the new deal between Delta and ALPA would be put on hold for the duration of the extension. American and United have promised to recall all of their furloughed staff as well.

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In addition to furlough protection, Delta pilots would also receive a guaranteed seat on flights when they are commuting to work. For example, a crewmember who lives in Washington, D.C., but flies from Atlanta would get a confirmed seat when they fly from Washington to Atlanta to go to work.

Delta has delayed pilot furloughs until Nov. 28 in order to give crews time for a necessary ratification vote on the agreement, operations chief John Laughter told staff in a memo on Oct. 29 shared with TPG.

"We are confident this can help Delta to be better positioned through the long and choppy COVID-19 pandemic recovery," he said of the accord.

Related: Delta works towards eleventh-hour deal to avoid pilot furloughs even as outlook remains ‘grim’

Featured image by Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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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.

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  • 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