American Airlines pilots to get instant pay boost of over 21% following vote

American Airlines removed free checked bags from Basic Economy
Bradley Caslin /

Pilots working for American Airlines have backed a new pay and quality of life deal that the Allied Pilots Association (APA) and airline management negotiated on August 1, 2023.  

The new terms were put to 15,000 members of the union of which more than 95% of eligible pilots participated.  

On August 21, 2023, the APA announced that the pilots approved the new agreement by a margin of 72.7% in favor.  

Held over two weeks, the result showed that United Airlines pilots unanimously supported the proposed agreement which included, on average, an immediate 21% or more increase in their salaries.  

According to the APA, the new 48-month contract features approximately $1.1 billion in immediate one-time payments and ratification bonuses, annual pay rate increases for the contract’s duration and enhancements to various benefits and work rules. 

“The pilots of American Airlines have spoken. It’s time to move forward with a new working agreement that provides substantial monetary gains and quality-of-life improvements,” said Capt. Ed Sicher, Allied Pilots Association president. “This contract is a big first step toward restoring the wages, benefits, and work rules that were lost during the past two decades while our profession was under continuous assault. As pilots, we hold a tremendous amount of responsibility with every flight we take. It’s a responsibility we take seriously, as evidenced by the US airline industry’s unrivaled safety record, and it’s time for our profession to provide rewards commensurate with its unique demands.” 

Sicher noted that work-rule changes in the new agreement are intended to help ensure more reliable service for passengers and more predictable schedules for pilots. 

As well as the 21% increase in salary, pilots will see an increase in 401(k) contributions and subsequent pay raises each May, bringing the pilot compensation rates rise by more than 46% during the contract’s duration.  

In all, the new contract will provide American Airlines’ pilots with approximately $9.6 billion in additional value versus the prior agreement.   

The new contract becomes amendable on August 1, 2027, with a provision for the next round of bargaining to begin as soon as November 2026. 

Quality of life improvements represent nearly 20% of the increased value of the new contract, including enhancements to vacation benefits and reassignment pay and increases in training pay and per diem. 

“Today is a really great day for our pilots and airline,” said American’s CEO Robert Isom. “This agreement will help American immediately expand our pilot training capacity to support under-utilized aircraft and future flying and provide our pilots with more opportunities to progress in their careers. We’re grateful for the company and APA negotiating teams who worked diligently and collaboratively to reach an agreement we’re proud of and one our pilots deserve. And, I would like to personally thank and congratulate Capt. Ed Sicher, APA President, for his superb leadership throughout the negotiating process.” 

The new deal means United Airlines pilots have a contract that is in line with those at Delta and United. 

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