On April 18, the union for American’s flight attendants, APFA, announced that “[w]hile our peers at Delta enjoy an additional 6% raise this month,” AA flight attendants would only be receiving a “disappointing” 1.6%. The raise comes as a result of a decision by a panel of arbitrators tasked with interpreting language in the American-APFA agreement – a contract that was touted as “industry leading” by APFA at the time of its negotiation but has delivered much less. In fact, Delta’s total compensation, including base pay and profit sharing, has exceeded and continues to exceed American’s.
APFA had argued that under their contract, flight attendants were entitled to an 8.2% raise to put them on par with Delta’s rates in September 2016 – they acknowledged they could not match Delta’s April 2017 rates. However, the arbitrators ruled in favor of American, finding that under the parties’ agreement only United’s September 2016 rates (not Delta’s) were relevant.
As a result of the decision, American’s new top-of-scale rate, retroactive to September 2016, is $62.31, compared to $62.00 at United ($62.83 for flight attendants who work 80 hours per month) and $64.96 at Delta – putting American’s top-of-scale flight pay rate more than 4% below Delta’s. In addition, Delta’s flight attendants received higher profit sharing payouts than flight attendants at both American and United – 10.3% compared to 7.88% at UA and 3% at AA.