'Flightmare': Southwest Pilots Are Protesting Low Pay and Current Working Conditions

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Southwest Airlines pilots have had enough. More than 1,300 uniformed pilots held signs at Dallas Love Field Airport to protest inadequate pay and poor working conditions.

Southwest pilots are just as frustrated with the increase in flight delays and cancellations as the industry struggles to deal with the current travel demand amid a pilot shortage.

Casey Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association  (SWAPA), representing more than 9,000 pilots, says work has turned into a “flightmare.”

Murray says pilots are dealing with last-minute scheduling changes daily, including overscheduling of flights.

“It’s a struggle every day out there. Our fatigue rates reflect that,” he says.

The union found that pilots are three times more tired than last year, USA Today reports.

According to SWAPA, pilots have lost 20,000 days off due to schedule mismanagement over the last year. In addition, thousands of pilots have flown on their days off to get passengers to their destinations.

Union leaders hope a new contract, something they’ve been asking for since 2020,  will fix this issue.

Southwest said in a statement that while it respects the right of employees to express their opinions, “we do not anticipate any disruption in service as a result of this single demonstration.”

Not Just A Southwest Airline Issue

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) recently posted an open letter to Delta Air Lines customers empathizing with travelers whose flights were either delayed or canceled.

“This is the first time in our history that we’ve published an open letter to customers,” said Delta ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman Capt. Jason Ambrosi.

He adds, “It’s disheartening to see customers waiting in long lines to rebook flights due to scheduling issues that could have been prevented.”

Delta pilots said they are working overtime at record numbers and are blaming Delta management for their issues.

United Airlines just reached a tentative two-year agreement with ALPA that will enhance overtime compensation and premium pay,  improve quality of life for pilots with schedule flexibility, and allow an 8-week paid maternity leave.

American Airlines pilots recently gathered near the New York Stock Exchange and airports nationwide with signs that read, “Frustrated with AA? So are we.”

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