American Airlines Pilots Union Knocks Back Double Pay Offer

The union representing American Airlines pilots, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), has knocked back an offer from American Airlines to pay pilots up to double their normal rate to work over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.

The American Airlines pilots union has knocked back a generous pay offer to work peak periods this year. Photo: Charlotte Douglas International Airport

American offers pilots up to 100% bonus to work extra flights over peak periods

After American’s recent Halloween weekend from hell, when some 2,000 flights were canceled over a four-day period, the airline is keen to avoid a repeat over the busy Thanksgiving period. In addition to proposing to pay pilots extra, American Airlines is also offering financial incentives to flight attendants and ground employees to stay the course until after New Year.

In a letter written to the APA earlier this month, Captain Kimball Stone, Senior Vice President of Flight Operations at American Airlines, proposed paying pilots a 50% incentive to work over peak periods this year, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

“For the days that fall within the peak periods, the pilot will be paid at a peak period incentive rate of 50% (“Peak Period Incentive”) over the greater of the original scheduled value of the sequence or actual time flown for those days,the letter reads.

“For reserve pilots who fly sequences on their reserve available days during the peak periods, for the days that fall within the peak periods, the peak period incentive rate will be paid above guarantee.

“Sequences that are eligible for the peak period incentive include sequences awarded in PBS, picked up or traded in TTS, TTOT, pilot-to-pilot, or awarded/assigned to a reserve pilot or to a line holder inside or outside of the DOTC process.”

American Airlines is keen to avoid a repeat of the Halloween weekend from hell when around 2,000 flights got canceled. Photo: Charlotte Douglas International Airport

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Allied Pilots Associations rejects a generous offer

In addition, premium flights and CKA overtime days would be paid at 100% overtime. It sounds like a sweet deal. But the APA Board has rejected the offer.

“The Board received a full briefing from the Negotiating Committee and thoroughly considered all aspects of the proposed Letter of Agreement before voting 20-0 to reject it,” reads an APA statement.

“While understanding that its rejection creates a disparity among our fellow workgroups that have accepted management’s proffered incentives, the Board concluded that the need to achieve meaningful permanent improvements in a new collective bargaining agreement must remain APA’s focus.”

The pilots union has a long-running issue with American Airlines. Photo: Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Putting the squeeze on American Airlines?

The pilots union has a long-running issue with American Airlines, particularly pertaining to scheduling.

“We’ve been talking with them about this for months. And they say, ‘We’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks,’” Captain Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the APA, told Fox 4 News. “Well, now suddenly there is a sense of urgency. You think?

“The pilots’ problem is in the scheduling flexibility, the quickness in which they glue it back together, and the ability to quite frankly get us connected to the airplane.”

But an aviation industry insider also told Fox 4 the union might think it has American Airlines on the run and is now squeezing the airline for concessions in the run-up to the busy peak flying periods. The union knows American is desperate to avoid any repeat of the Halloween weekend fiasco.

“We are, of course, disappointed, especially since we have holiday pay programs in place for all other frontline groups at the company,” said Captain Stone in response to the APA knockback.

“But we will continue to look for opportunities to work with APA to support you during the holidays, as well as explore our options to maximize the availability of existing premiums.”