Human Capital & Careers

American Airlines Flight Attendants Get Pay Hike

The 6% American Airlines raise comes on the heels of a profit-sharing plan.
Matthew HellerMarch 24, 2016

A day after announcing it will offer profit-sharing to its more than 100,000 employees, American Airlines said Thursday it would increase pay for its 25,000 flight attendants by about 6%.

Under its contract with flight attendants signed in December 2014, American was required to adjust pay scales once United Airlines reached a new joint contract with its flight attendants. Rather than wait any longer for United to reach a deal, American is going ahead with a pay hike, effective April 1.

“We are making this adjustment now because none of us expected our flight attendants to have to wait this long to receive that increase, and it remains unclear when United will reach a joint agreement with its flight attendants,” American CEO Doug Parker said in a letter sent to flight attendants.

With the increase, flight attendants with more than 16 years with American will earn $60.13 per hour, up from $56.69 per hour. A newly hired flight attendant will make $26.16 per hour, up from $24.67.

“I’m happy to see that management is finally recognizing everything flight attendants do to make American Airlines successful,” Marcus Gluth, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

On Wednesday, American announced it would begin paying 5% of its pre-tax income into a profit-sharing fund, with employees receiving their first cash payout in early 2017 if the company is profitable as expected.

The move was “a major shift in strategy for the airline after several years of forgoing the benefit in favor of higher base pay for its workers,” the Dallas Morning News said, noting that American acted outside the traditional bargaining process with its unions and is not seeking any concessions in return for the new benefit.

The 5% profit-share payout is lower than at other major carriers. But Parker told employees that “we plan to offer hourly pay rates higher than those same peers in the contracts we’re negotiating now and in those to be negotiated in the future.”