tentative agreement could get Southwest flight attendants a $20,000 bonus

Tentative Contract Could Get Southwest Flight Attendants a $20,000 Bonus 

Southwest Airlines flight attendants could earn a one-off $20,000 bonus from the airline if they accept the new contract. 

The $20,000 bonus was meant to cover the loss of earnings when their contract became amenable in 2018. In the leaked documents, it is being referred to as a retroactive bonus. It is calculated through six periods from November 2019 to March 2024. 

However, the $20,000 bonus will be divided in two installments. The majority of which will be paid around May 20, 2024. The second installment would be expected around August 20, 2024. The computation will be based on the number of flights that the flight attendants have done from January 1 to March 31, 2024. 

“Industry Leading” Contract

The union representing the Southwest flight attendants, TWU 556 union, calls this tentative agreement an “industry leading” contract. Unlike other airlines, Southwest flight attendants are paid under a “Trips for Pay” system, while other airlines pay their flight attendants hourly.

This makes it difficult to compare Southwest’s flight attendant pay with other airlines. However, the union has already attempted to switch from its current pay structure to an hourly rate. If things go according to plan, under the tentative agreement, senior flight attendants could earn as much as $90.13 per hour. That is significantly higher than Delta’s senior flight attendants who receive $67.11. 

Tentative Contract Costs $6.3 Billion

It is estimated that with the tentative contract, this will cost Southwest $6.3 billion. Aside from the bonus and pay hike, flight attendants are also getting improved quality of life and benefits. This includes paid maternity and parental bonding leave, along with extended bonding leave with healthcare benefits. Plus, Southwest can’t contact flight attendants outside their contact time. If they do, flight attendants will get twice the pay for the work they cover. 

Southwest flight attendants rejected the October 2023 tentative agreement, but they will vote on the latest deal on April 10. Their voting ends on April 24. 


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John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.


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