• American Airlines will pay $9.6 billion in a pilot agreement over four years for wage increases and improved benefits. 72.7% of pilots voted in favor of the latest offer.
  • Agreement includes one-time bonuses, wage increases, and changes to work schedules to enhance reliability and scheduling for crew and passengers.
  • The agreement focuses on quality-of-life improvements, disability payments, retiree health reimbursement, and 401(k) plans.

American Airlines is about to pay out up to $9.6 billion over the next four years as part of a new agreement with pilots to increase wages, entitlements, and quality of life benefits to its 15,000 pilots.

Represented by the Allied Pilots Association (APA), 72.7% of the pilots voted in favor of the deal, of the 95% of eligible pilots casting their decision. The deal will see one-off bonuses and wage increases to $1.1 billion, including changes to current work schedules. This will aid in more reliable passenger service and predictable scheduling for pilots and other crew.

American Airlines Airbus A319-132 (N821AW) taking off from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.
Photo: natmac stock/Shutterstock

Bargaining leverage has been in the union's favor of late, with travel demand exploding; American Airlines alone, for quarter two, reported $1.3 billion in revenue, which was aided by low fuel prices and increased demand across its global network.

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20% towards quality of life improvements

The latest agreement includes enhancements to the pilot's quality of life, where improvements are expected regarding vacation entitlements, reassignment, training pay, and per diems.

More improvements are also poised for long-term disability payments, enhanced life insurance, the creation of a new retiree health reimbursement agreement, and a market-based cash balance plan towards the individual 401(k).

Three American Airlines Pilots standing at the gate.
Photo: American Airlines

American Airlines Chief Executive Officer Robert Isom released this statement regarding the new agreement:

“This agreement will help American immediately expand our pilot training capacity to support under-utilized aircraft and future flying and provide our pilots 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.”

Pilot unions have had the upper hand of late, with a global pilot shortage putting the pinch on small and large carriers. With the post-pandemic travel boom in full force, pilots are putting all their cards on the table in expectation of better entitlements. Allied Pilots Association President, Ed Sicher, reiterated this as reported by ABC News:

“This contract is a big first step toward restoring the wages, benefits, and work rules lost during the past two decades while our profession was under continuous assault."

American Airlines aircraft on the ground
Photo: American Airlines

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21% increase to start

Under the new agreement, the airline's 15,000 pilots will receive an immediate 21% increase in compensation, while across the 48-month term, the payment will increase overall by 46%. Coming into effect on August 1st, the next time discussion can come to the table will be August 1st, 2027, with bargaining able to commence from November 2026.

Sources: ABC News, Allied Pilots Association

  • American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner From Above
    American Airlines has not had the slam dunk it was hoping for as Bangalore's first connection to the US in 2020. Photo: Vincenzo Pace - Simple Flying
    American Airlines
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier
    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
    Year Founded:
    Robert Isom
    United States