There’s not a day that goes by without news about airline delays and flight cancelations. Today, at Honolulu and at Maui, there are already more than 50 flights listed as being on delay. Not far behind talk of delays, comes disputes between airline pilots, their unions, and the airlines themselves.
As of today, all but one airline that flies to Hawaii is coming up for pilot contract renewals, and with that seems to always come unpleasant back and forth discourse and picketing, even if there is thus far, no strike.
We saw an example of how much airline pilots are paid for flight hours. Hawaiian Air pilots are reported to earn from $227/hour to $337 hour depending on seniority and aircraft type.
Here’s what’s going on at all of the airlines that fly to Hawaii:
- Alaska Airlines. The pilots have picketed nationwide and are publicly posturing to strike, even if that eventuality isn’t likely. Alaska pilots, too, have been in contract negotiations since 2019, and those are at an impasse. Read: Hawaii Travel Could Be Upended As Alaska Pilots Approve Strike.
- American Airlines. Last month, AA pilots took out newspaper ads to publicly air their grievances regarding a contract negotiation ongoing since 2019. AA is starting to pare back flights due to a shortage of pilots.
- Delta Airlines. Delta pilots have been picketing around the country, complaining about pilot fatigue. The airline said that these protests won’t disrupt their operations.
- Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian’s pilot agreement becomes amendable starting July 1 so it’s too early to say how well contract negotiations will go. It’s been over five years since the last bitter dispute between HA pilots and the company ended amicably.
- Southwest Airlines. This is currently the most public of the disputes between the airlines and their pilots. Coincidentally, their delays represent the bulk of all those in Hawaii today. This week, as many as 1,300 SW pilots protested at Love Field over what they called being understaffed and overworked because of company mismanagement. Pilots say that fatigue is its “number-one safety concern.” SW has been in gridlocked pilot contract negotiations for two years. Thus far, no progress has been reported. Read: Southwest Pilots Safety Warning. Southwest Airlines Pilots Association called pilot fatigue its “number-one safety concern.”
- United Airlines. You guessed it. United is the only airline that isn’t facing contract negations or disputes with their pilots, although pilot shortages are still an issue there, too. UAL became the first of the airlines to reach a pilot agreement last month. Details of the lucrative contract, which includes a 14% pay increase, are just being released. UAL has a good relationship with its pilots, partly due to how they were handled during Covid. UAL’s CEO said, “We are now the first airline to get an Agreement in Principle for an industry leading new pilot contract.”
Could this evolving situation impact your choice of airlines when flying to Hawaii? We welcome your input, and we love hearing from pilots!