Travel misery continues to drag on across the US with close to 500 flights canceled Saturday – but a deal with a pilots’ union could signal light at the end of the tunnel.
The largest pilots union has approved a contract that would boost the pay of pilots at United Airlines by more than 14 percent – a move that could set the stage for similar wage hikes across the industry.
The deal comes as the latest development in the travel mayhem seen across the US’ major airlines, which have seen pilot and staffing shortages that have caused mass cancellations worldwide.
On Twitter, thousands complained about poor service they’d received at the hands of airlines over the past two days.
Delta and American – the two airlines with the worst delays – were accused of smashing cases, failing to deal with lines, winding-up autistic customers and lying about bad weather to cover-up delays.
One passenger even claimed a Delta flight had taken off with a broken door, although didn’t say any more about how serious that malfunction had been.
JetBlue and Southwest also came in for condemnation, with the latter accused of accidentally leaving a trolley full of bags on a taxiway that had been destined for a plane that took off without them.
The agreement, reached between The Air Line Pilots Association and United – North America’s third-largest airline – reflects the leverage held by pilots over their employers amid the shortage.
Meanwhile, the industry continues face backlash from passengers irate over recent cancellations and reports of poor service, likely spurred by the shortage.
Early Saturday, an astonishing 486 flights into or out of the US were reported as canceled by flight tracker FlightAware.com, marking nine straight days of mass cancellations.
American Airlines and Delta – two of other three major airlines – account for more than half of those cancellations, with 262 as of Saturday at 12 pm.
Delays have been ever more rife, with the US reporting 1,787 Saturday – with American and Delta seeing 129 and 162, respectively.
One unlucky passenger took to Twitter Friday night to claim American Airlines had destroyed her suitcase
Another claimed Southwest had simply forgotten to load these carts full of cases onto a plane before taking off, as travel misery continues across the United States
The Air Line Pilots Association made the announcement Friday, after a council overseeing relations with United approved the agreement.
It covers about 14,000 of the airline’s pilots.
The contract, however, still needs to be ratified by rank-and-file pilots to take effect. Voting will run through July 15.
United CEO Scott Kirby said Friday the deal, if passed, would benefit both the union and his airline, as well as other players in the industry affected by the shortage, which came after the companies reduced staffing early in the pandemic, and have since struggled to bounce back.
Travel rates, meanwhile, have returned to pre-pandemic paces – sparking fears ahead of the July 4 weekend that the airlines will not be able to keep up with that demand.
Multiple travelers have taken to Twitter to complain about recent experiences with the airlines – airing grievances ranging for broken or lost luggage, unannounced cancellations, and all-around bad service.
One passenger took to the platform earlier in the week to report that Delta lost their bags.
‘My wife and I have had a terrible experience with Delta and Air France,’ the user wrote.
‘Our bags have been missing for over 2 days and WE CANT GET ANYONE AT DELTA OR AIR FRANCE TO HELP. And I’m Diamond. Don’t ever fly @Delta with a connection via @airfrance. They simply don’t care.’
Two days later, on Saturday, the pair had still not been returned their luggage.
‘On our last day in Italy and still no luggage. despite numerous calls, @airfrance and @Delta have no idea where our luggage is. Frustrated and angry.’
Another complained that a Delta flight took to the skies with a broken door, with staffers not realizing the flub until after the plane landed.
‘Yo @Delta just landed and found out there was a broken door? Can’t believe y’all let planes take off like that,’ the traveler wrote.
Another complained to the airline of disorganized staffers at one of its gates at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, which stressed out his young son who he said suffers from anxiety.
‘@Delta the amount of confusion today @Reagan_Airport at gate B19 when having my 11 year old son take his first flight by himself to see his grandmother was appalling,’ the user wrote, tagging Delta in the post.
‘The performance of the gate agents heightened his anxiety. You need to do better.’
Another posted long lines seen at Delta gates in New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
‘Looks great,’ the user sarcastically wrote in a reply to a post from the airline promoting a posh ‘Sky Club’ opening at the New York airport. ‘Now staff it,’ the onlooker added.
One flyer blasted Delta for unveiling a snazzy new terminal at LaGuardia Airport in NYC – which he claimed there were barely any staff to work at
Other reported instances of the airline allegedly lying about delays, with one user flying from Atlanta to Orlando sharing that a pilot chalked up a delayed fight time to bad weather over Jacksonville – while a weather map of the area shows the region completely clear
There was drama in DC over claims Delta mishandled an 11 year-old boy taking his first flight
And in Louisville, Delta traveler Beth Del Bosque claimed the airline had failed to open a priority line for its most prized travelers
Multiple travelers have taken to Twitter to complain about recent experiences with the airlines – airing grievances ranging for broken or lost luggage, unannounced cancellations, and all-around bad service as a result of the airline staff shortage
Another Delta flier wrote that staffers canceled his plane in midair.
‘@Delta you canceled my next flight while I’m in air and then everything else is booked for the day? What is this? This is horrible.’
Other reported instances of the airline allegedly lying about delays, with one user flying from Atlanta to Orlando sharing that a pilot chalked up a delayed fight time to bad weather over Jacksonville – while a weather map of the area shows the region completely clear.
‘@Delta Sitting in Orlando on a flight to Atlanta and the pilot says it’s weather in the JAX corridor,’ the traveler wrote, adding, ‘Really?’
American – the nation’s most popular airline – saw similar complaints.
One woman wrote that staffers refused to let her adult brother, whom is autistic, board a flight, because they reportedly feared if his flight was canceled, the man would not be able to book arrangements for a hotel himself.
‘Hi @AmericanAir can someone explain to me why the check-in counter is refusing to let my adult brother with autism board his flight, stating if there’s a cancellation, they’re worried he wouldn’t be able to book himself a hotel?’ she wrote.
‘What in the fresh hell?’ she remarked, adding the slight could constitute a discrimination lawsuit.
The user reported the instance to the airline early Saturday, and hours later, has yet to get a reply.
The woman added that she had spent hours on hold the other night arranging escorts for him with your customer service.
One woman wrote that staffers refused to let her adult brother, whom is autistic, board a flight, because they reportedly feared if his flight was canceled, the man would not be able to book arrangements for a hotel himself. The user reported the instance to the airline early Saturday, and has yet to get a reply
Another woman posted a video showing damage to a leather bag she had checked into and American Airlines baggage claim.
The footage shows the bag badly marked up and scratched, with the woman asserting it had been brand new.
‘This is actually so f*****g annoying @AmericanAir,’ she wrote Friday. ‘Why do y’all treat people’s belongings like literal shit?’
In another instance, staffers at Southwest, the US’ fourth most popular airline, reportedly forgot an entire plane’s claimed baggage, leaving it on the tarmac.
A passenger on the plane snapped a shot and shared it to social media.
‘Hopefully they don’t just forget one of yours on the tarmac like Southwest did ours,’ the user wrote.
United, based in Chicago, is the first major U.S. airline to reach an agreement with its pilots since negotiations across the industry were put on hold because of the pandemic. Union groups at other big airlines have been watching the United contract talks closely as a potential guide in their own negotiations.
Federal law creates a long and difficult process before airline workers can legally go on strike, but pilots at the big airlines have picketed airports and other locations to pressure management into bigger pay hikes.
Pilots have complained that thinly staffed airlines are asking them to work too many flights, with more pilots reporting fatigue.
The United contract, which the union valued at $1.3 billion over two years, would be retroactive to the start of 2022 and give three pay raises totaling more than 14.5% through the end of next year.
The union said it includes better overtime and premium pay, a new retirement plan, a new eight-week paid maternity leave benefit and improved scheduling provisions.
The deal is likely to raise concern on Wall Street about rising expenses. Airlines have already seen their costs per seat rise more sharply as travel has rebounded from the worst of the pandemic.
JPMorgan airline analyst Jamie Baker said the deal probably exceeds United’s previous expectations for rising costs.
He said pilots at Alaska, American, Delta and Southwest will use the United tentative agreement in their negotiations, and that other work groups at United will seek similar increases to those of the pilots.
#Airlines #set #cave #pilots #demands #huge #payrises #United #leading