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United Airlines Pilots Ratify New Contract That Includes $10B in Increased Value

United Airlines Pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract.

Big Picture

Pilots at United Airlines have approved a new four-year contract. They have joined pilots at American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, who both approved new contracts earlier in 2023. Pilots can use increased leverage from the pilot shortage to make significant gains in compensation, working conditions, and job stability.

Key Points

  • Pilots are receiving up to 40% pay increases, with the combined value of compensation increases valued at around $10B for the United Pilot group.
  • The new pay rates match Delta Air Line’s pilot pay rates. This is triggering a me-too clause at Delta that is increasing their pilot’s pay rates.
  • United Airlines pilots will be getting profit sharing similar to what Delta Air Lines has. They’ll get 10% of profits up to $2.5 billion, and 20% of profits above $2.5 billion.
  • Pilots will be getting recapture pay as a retroactive bonus looking back to 2020.
  • The new contract contains improvements in quality of life and also improves how pilot pay is calculated.
  • The new contract includes improvements to the pilot retirement plan, increased sick leave accrual rates, and increased vacation accrual.

This document outlines all the improvements in the new United Airlines pilot contract.

New United Airlines Pilot Pay Rates

Below are the tables for the new United Airline Pilot Pay rates. These rates our an hourly rate. Airline pilot pay is calculated differently than the norm. A good rule of the thumb is to add three 0’s to the end of the pay rate to get a general idea of what the yearly salary will be.

United Airlines Captain Pay Rates


United Airlines First Officer Pay Rates


What to Watch For

United Airlines Pilots Information Picketing in Order to Secure a New Contract

Pilot unions at other airlines across the United States are still negotiating improvements to their contracts. This includes pilots at Southwest Airlines and a number of other small carriers. Pilots are in a unique position in the current environment in that they have not had the leverage that exists now for many decades. Most pilot groups are attempting to use this leverage for significant increases in quality of life and compensation. And they are attempting to increase safeguards to keep from having work outsourced.


Pilot Unions have been using the leverage from the current hiring environment to claw back compensation, work rules, and scope protections that had previously eroded from the lost decade.

Relations between airlines and the airline labor groups are governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA) in order “to avoid any interruption of interstate commerce by providing for the prompt disposition of disputes between carriers and their employees and to protect the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively.”

The processes and procedures required by the Railway Labor Act often cause pilot contract negotiations to drag over several years. Negotiations for the contracts currently being approved began before the Covid pandemic. Several of the negotiations still ongoing will likely take as long to complete.

Greg started his professional pilot journey in 2002 after graduating from Embry Riddle. Since that time he has accumulated over 8,000 hours working as a pilot. Greg’s professional experience includes flight instructing, animal tracking, backcountry flying, forest firefighting, passenger charter, part 135 cargo, flying for a regional airline, a national low cost airline, a legacy airline, and also working as a manager in charge of Part 135 and Part 121 training programs.

Greg Thomson