New contracts to United Airlines pilots hiked by more than 14%

Boeing 777ER United Airlines. Plane to Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport.

Massimo Insabato | Mondadori Portfolio | Getty Images

United Airlines’ pilots’ union has approved a tentative deal that would give aviators a wage increase of more than 14%, making it the first major US carrier to reach a deal in the pandemic and setting the bar for the rest of the industry.

The deal comes at a time when the airline and others are grappling with pilot shortages, which some carriers say have forced them to cut flight schedules.

Under the agreement approved Friday, pilots will receive more than 14.5% in pay increases within 18 months, according to the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents about 14,000 United pilots. The two-year agreement also includes eight weeks of paid maternity leave, a first for carrier pilots.

The agreement sets the tone for talks between unions and other big US carriers, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, as labor groups seek improved quality of life two years after the pandemic. Some pilots say airlines have created grueling schedules to capitalize on a rebound in travel that has exhausted them, and have recently staged protests for the status quo.

Flight attendants and other working groups at major carriers are also in contract negotiations.


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