United Airlines, an airline based in Chicago, is offering cash incentives to pilots to alleviate delays and cancellations caused by the Omicron coronavirus strain. If pilots book trips in January, the friendly skies airline will pay them triple.
More than 10,000 flights have been cancelled in the United States since December 23 due to severe weather and employees calling in sick after testing positive for COVID-19. Around 1,500 flights were cancelled across the country on New Year’s Eve. United Airlines had to cancel 200 flights, accounting for 11% of its scheduled services.
United Airlines signed a contract with the pilot’s union
According to CNBC, United and the Airline Pilots Association agreed on higher pay for pilots who picked up open trips. The duo has issued a note by United’s senior vice president of flight operations, Bryan Quigley.
Pilots who take an open flight between December 30 and January 3 will be paid three and a half times their regular pay. “The impact on the operation is apparent. United has had a similarly large number of cancellations over the past week,” the union wrote a letter to its members concerning pilots calling in ill due to Omicron.
The cabin crew will also get additional payments
United has also agreed to offer extra money to flight attendants who pick up trips. Other airlines, such as JetBlue, American, Southwest, and Spirit, provide financial incentives for the crew to pick up extra flights. The relocation is part of a plan to minimise interruptions during the Christmas and New Year vacations.
“All flight attendants, regardless of how you earned your pairing, will be getting 200% pay for any pairing that touches December 28 through January 4,” the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, representing about 4,000 Spirit Airlines cabin crew, said in a statement.
Many airline employees opt to stay at home rather than take the extra pay.
The fast-spreading Omicron strain is impacting aviation traffic during what was thought to be the busiest travel time since the pandemic began. Airlines are trying their best to alert consumers as quickly as possible when flights are cancelled due to employees calling in sick or inclement weather. Hundreds of travellers trapped at a gate are the last thing they want.