Southwest Airlines flight attendants will get a 36% pay rise by the end of a five-year contract if they accept a tentative agreement which has been thrashed out between the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the airline.
News broke that a tentative agreement had been reached last week, but it wasn’t until Wednesday that flight attendants were given details of what they were being offered.
The agreement will be subject to a ballot, but if flight attendants approve the deal, they’ll get a 20% pay rise on January 1, 2024, followed by a 3% pay rise in 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028.
A veteran flight attendant with at least 13 years of seniority who is on the top pay rate will go from earning $63.30 to as much as $85.50 by the end of the contract. Meanwhile, new-hire flight attendants will go from earning just $25.14 per hour to more than $30 per hour as soon as the contract kicks in.
Coupled with retro ratification bonus pay, the Southwest flight attendant union says the total deal equates to a 36% pay rise.
In addition to the hourly pay rate rises, Southwest will also increase diem payments, and has promised to pay a premium for irregular operations such as the Christmas meltdown the airline suffered last year.
The union has also secured a provision which means flight attendants won’t suffer a penalty if they ‘no show’ during irregular operations – an issue that had been a major concern for crew members at the Dallas-based carrier.
Other hot topic issues that have been addressed include changing up Southwest’s flight attendant reserve system by replacing a 24-hour callout window with 12-hour reserve shifts, which will be scheduled three in a row.
Last week, Southwest vice president of labor relations, Adam Carlisle, commented: “Southwest’s Flight Attendants uphold our commitments to Safety and Hospitality by providing Customers with a safe journey and making them feel welcomed, cared for, and appreciated.”
“I’m thankful for the work from both negotiating committees throughout this process and the guidance from our National Mediation Board federal mediators. We are all glad our Flight Attendants will soon have an opportunity to vote on this agreement,” Carlisle continued.
The tentative agreement was reached at the end of more than five years of negotiations, which had included the help of federal mediation.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.