United and Spirit Airlines Increase Pay for Pilots and Flight Attendants to Offset Labor Shortages

The airlines announced the temporary pay bumps for select staff members on Friday
By Entrepreneur
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January 5, 2022Updated: January 5, 2022
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By Amanda Breen

In the wake of a holiday season full of flight cancellations across the U.S., airlines are doing what they can to keep their employees happy and working. For United and Spirit, that means a temporary pay bump for their pilots and flight attendants. Business Insider reported that United pilots who work additional flights through January 29 will receive triple pay, and Spirit flight attendants will take home double pay through January 4.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc when it comes to air travel. Not only can crew members expect mass delays and cancellations (20,000 since Christmas Eve alone), but, increasingly, they’re also subjected to the whims of unruly passengers who frequently refuse to follow masking policies.

Related: Disgruntled Customers Sound Off on Southwest Airlines Amid Cancellations

In a letter circulated on Friday and obtained by Insider, United’s Senior Vice President for Flight Operations Brian Quigley informed pilots of the triple pay opportunity. “Thank you all for your hard work and professionalism during this holiday season,” he wrote. “We continue to do everything we can to take care of our customers during this challenging time, and today I’m happy to share a significant update: We worked with the ALPA to provide additional compensation for pilots.”

Spirit Airlines staff were notified of pay incentives on Friday via their union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. “All flight attendants, regardless of how you have obtained your pairing, will be receiving 200 percent pay for any pairing that touches Dec. 28 through Jan. 4,” the AFA-CWA said in a statement.

Despite airlines’ best efforts and new CDC quarantine guidelines, nationwide flight cancellations continue with no clear end in sight. According to FlightAware, today’s travel disruptions already include 1,040 delays and 1,193 cancellations.

Related: American Airlines Has Cancelled More Than 2000 Flights Since Friday