United Pilots Offered Triple Time For Extra Flights


United Airlines is offering its pilots up to 3.5 times their regular pay for picking up extra trips for the next month. The 3.5 times rate applies to holiday period flights until Jan. 3 but they can still get triple the money for extra pairings through the end of the month. The pay schedule was negotiated with the pilots’ union and is endorsed by it.  “Due to the rapid spread of the COVID Omicron variant, we are currently seeing record levels of pilot sick calls,” the pilots’ union wrote to its members. “The impact on the operation is clear and United has experienced a correspondingly large number of cancellations over the past week.”

Airlines have cancelled more than 10,000 flights over the holiday period, some for weather but most for staffing shortages. United is also offering extra money to flight attendants for extra trips and other airlines are also sweetening the deal for their staff. For an experienced wide-body captain, the overtime works out to more than $1,000 per flight hour while a first year FO on a regional jet will get almost $400 per flight hour.

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.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. It is interesting that even with the increased compensation offered by the various airlines, those airlines are still cancelling flights due to what they say are lack of crews. Sure there are weather issues out there, but not enough to justify what is happening now. And if there are that many crew members out sick with Omicron, all the additional compensation being offered won’t do any good.

    • Exactly what I was thinking. What weather? You’ve got to be kidding me. The airlines are lying through their teeth. There’s a serious shortage of workers at all levels of the airlines that are not coming back. Time will be the truth teller.

      • What weather? I’m constantly amazed that on a pilot’s website people would make such comments. There are plenty of weather sources out there for the curious. Maybe I watch the national weather too much, but for the past week with harsh winter weather affecting numerous hubs including ORD, MSP, SEA, DEN to name a few, it should be no surprise to a pilot that cancellations would be likely. Add staffing issues, and it’s a mess.

    • Don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be sitting behind a PIC who’s sick – with Omicron or anything else. Seems to me the FAA has rules about that.

  2. MattW: Just because an employer offers to pay for more work….is NOT a compulsory requirement for a man (or woman) to interrupt their own lives if they don’t want the work. I work to LIVE… not live to Work!

    • I completely agree! I probably should have come out and said that directly. To finish that point maybe some of those 500hr wonders who are so focused on getting that airline job should read this article and the comments to make sure what those wonders are getting into, especially since it is the pilots on the low end of seniority who usually get stuck with holiday and weekend flying.

  3. I am a pilot for a regional airline that flies as United Express (that is my airline works for United). The statement ‘…while a first year FO on a regional jet will get almost $400 per flight hour.’ is incorrect. I can’t get anywhere near that much per hour. Even double time pay is a rare thing in the regional world. The regional airlines have separate pay scales/rates from United’s ALPA union-negotiated rates. If United offers increased pay to their pilots, that does NOT trickle down to my airline. Regional airlines exist, in part, because they do not pay as well as the mainline airlines for whom we work. We fly smaller planes with fewer people and we have a lower cost basis and therefore cost the mainline carrier less to operate branded flights on those routes and city pairs where we provide service than if they did the flights themselves.