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Delta avoids Thanksgiving furloughs after pilots agree to coronavirus concessions

Nov. 25, 2020
3 min read
Delta avoids Thanksgiving furloughs after pilots agree to coronavirus concessions
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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.

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"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.

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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.

Related: Delta and pilots union reach accord that would avoid coronavirus furloughs

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."

Related: US airlines see cancellations rise amid COVID warnings against Thanksgiving travel

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
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Best premium travel card for value
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 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more