Delta and pilots union reach accord that would avoid coronavirus furloughs

Oct 30, 2020

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 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.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

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.

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 Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images.




Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • 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.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • 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
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.