Delta avoids Thanksgiving furloughs after pilots agree to coronavirus concessions
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.
More than 1,700 pilots at Delta Air Lines have one less thing to worry about this Thanksgiving.
Cockpit crews at the Atlanta-based carrier have voted 76% in favor of pay cuts and other concessions to avoid the involuntary furloughs of 1,713 pilots on Nov. 28 — the Saturday after Thanksgiving — the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said Wednesday. Delta is barred from forcibly shrinking its staff of 12,900 crew until January 2022 under the accord.
The deal follows similar ones between Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines and their respective pilots unions to avoid furloughs earlier this year. However, the pacts did not stop a larger culling of airline workforces with more than 30,000 staff involuntarily furloughed since Oct. 1, when protections under the federal coronavirus aid package, or CARES Act, expired.
“I don’t think there is any better way to welcome in the Thanksgiving season than with the achievement of protecting all our pilots from furlough,” Delta operations chief John Laughter told staff in an internal communiqué on Wednesday shared with TPG.
Prior to the pilots accord, strong uptake of the airline’s voluntary departure and or unpaid leave packages allowed it to avoid involuntary furloughs of other staff.
Despite the pilot concessions, Delta and other carriers continue to push for a six-month extension of the CARES Act payroll support program for airline workers through March. They argue that keeping workers on the payrolls will allow the industry to bounce back faster — supporting the larger economic recovery —in 2021.
However, no package including that sought-after relief moved forward in Congress — despite bipartisan support — prior to the Nov. 3 election. Now, there are doubts that one will pass during the lame duck session before the new Congress and administration of president-elect Joe Biden are sworn in in January.
In addition to the furloughs that have occurred, airlines are already making cuts that they say would have been avoided with a payroll support extension. American Airlines has ended service to four cities across the U.S., including New Haven, Connecticut (HVN) and Williamsport, Pennsylvania (IPT) that have no other regular commercial air service.
Even Delta has indefinitely suspended flights to more than 16 U.S. destinations.
“We must remember the challenges will continue,” said Laughter in his communiqué. “Our recovery will be uneven — as evident by the recent increase in COVID rates which are affecting our bookings for the holiday season.”
Featured image by Zach Griff/TPG.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,040
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
- $250 Annual Fee
- Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
- Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
- Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
- Earn 2X miles on all other travel
- Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
- Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.