Delta’s $1.3 Billion Profit Sharing Payout Breaks Hearts at American and United

Feb 14, 2019

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Delta employees don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. Instead, they celebrate Profit Sharing Day. Thursday is a particularly impressive one, with a cool $1.3 billion being distributed across the company’s 86,000+ full-time employees. Said another way, it’s a whopping 14% bonus on an employee’s base pay.

Employees gather to celebrate the launch of the Airbus A220. (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

It’s the second largest profit sharing pool in the airline’s history, and its the fifth consecutive year in which Delta Air Lines has shelled out north of $1 billion in profit sharing. That’s over $16,000 per employee on average — a pretty good distraction from roses and Hallmark cards.

Let’s put that in perspective, shall we?

  • Southwest Airlines, the third largest North American carrier in terms of enplaned passengers, is doling out $544 million through its 2018 profit sharing plan, which equals around 10.8% of each eligible employee’s compensation.
  • American Airlines, the largest North American carrier in terms of enplaned passengers, accrued $175 million for the company’s profit sharing program in 2018. That works out to around 1.4% of each employee’s base pay.
  • United Airlines, the fourth largest North American carrier in terms of enplaned passengers, recently reported that its employees “earned $334 million in profit sharing for 2018.” United has two profit sharing pools, with pilots earning around 4% of base pay and everyone earning around 3%.
delta planes operations salt lake city slc airport
Gorgeous mountain views and a 14% profit sharing bonus? Sounds lovely. (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

In a bid to show even more love, Delta is giving each full-time employee a day of paid community service. Staring April 1, 2019 Delta employees will be paid when they volunteer with a 501(c)(3) or international nonprofit organization of their choice through March 2020. The program is expected to put “up to 640,000 additional hours of service into communities on top of the thousands of hours of time Delta employees already give.”

Now, if only Delta would be so giving when it comes to low-level award space on those Delta One Suites.

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