Southwest Pilots Accept 50 Percent Pay Hike


Southwest pilots have voted overwhelmingly to accept a new five-year contract that will give them a cumulative 50% wage increase over the term. The Associated Press reported that in the first year, they get a 29.15 percent bump followed by 4% increases in the next three years and a 3.25% raise in the final year. There are also enhancements for retirement and parental leave programs. About 93% of pilots voted in favor of the deal, which also includes an overhaul of the airline’s crew scheduling system that contributed to a collapse of the airline in a snowstorm in December of 2022.

Southwest Pilots Association (SWAPA) President Casey Murray said the contract includes “the security and protections that have been long needed.” The Southwest deal is in line with contracts settled with pilots at the three largest U.S. carriers. United, Delta and American pilots accepted wage increases in the 40% range over four years. Southwest still hasn’t reached a deal with flight attendants, who rejected its last offer in December.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. I suggest SWA reduce by an equal amount the exorbitant airport / landing / TSA fees it’s now forced to pay. These can make up half the ticket prices, nothing less than government extortion.

    • Someone has to pay for the airports and the system. Why not those using it? Why should the taxpayers shoulder all the burden when many of them don’t fly on the airlines or if they do it is maybe once a year.

  2. Southwest Pilots Accept 50 Percent Pay Hike + Net Jets Adopts Mandatory Retirement At Age 70 For Pilots = Get It While You Can

  3. Good for them. Pilots are getting record setting contracts and I’m sure many who read about a 50% pay hike will claim it’s too much. But those same people forget how many pilots were furloughed and how many pay cuts resulted during the Great Recession.

  4. Southwest flight attendants need a contract as well. SWA management needs to stop fiddling around and get serious about treating their employees as assets as the airline once did. The mindset of an employee as an asset is what built the airline in the first place.

  5. TWA became miserable under Carl Ichan. Although I was senior and flying captain on the 1011, I threw in the towel at age 54. A DAL 1011 F/E was making more than I was, and he had good working conditions. Nothing again DAL. A lot against TWA.

    I think it’s great that the pilots at the major airlines are raking it in. Also, while improving their working conditions.

  6. I think the pilots deserved a raise but … 50% … seems a bit high to me. This is gonna wind up being just like the Kalyfornya $20/hr law for hamburger flippers. At some point, the fliers will balk at the high cost of flying resulting in fewer travelers and profit for the airlines. And … down the line when a bevy of younger kids getting the requisite credentials to fly commercially glut the market, the airlines will find ways to retire the old guys making too much money.

    There’s ALWAYS a happy medium … to me … 50% ain’t it.

    • It’s not a straight 50% – it phases in over 5 years. Once you take into account real inflation, the raise isn’t as big as it seems at first.

  7. The agreement includes a 29.15 percent pay raise on the day of ratification. Pilots would get four percent raises in 2025, 2026 and 2027, with a 3.25 percent raise in 2028.

    The pilot’s union says the deal also includes changes to scheduling, maternity and paternity leave, increases to retirement and more. By FOX 4

  8. And at the end of the 5 years they will continue working without a new contract for another 1+ years with no raise. Happens will all our contracts.

  9. I’m an AME but now work in air safety as a technical investigator. I was in a hangar in CYHZ yesterday and spoke with a small group of AMEs and was shocked how little wages have changed since I was working in industry 13 years ago. The spread between pilots and technicians seems to be growing.