A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lands at San Francisco International Airport on March 13, 2019 in Burlingame, California.
Justin Sullivan | beautiful pictures
United Airlines is offering its pilots triple pay to receive trips for most of January to help alleviate staffing shortages caused by the rapid prevalence of the omicron variant of Covid-19.
Flower, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, SkyWest, Alaska Airlines and other carriers have canceled more than 10,000 combined flights since December 23, citing bad weather and an increase in sick calls from cabin crew who tested positive for Covid.
The disruption comes during what airline operators are forecasting to be the busiest days since the start of the pandemic.
On Friday, airlines canceled nearly 1,500 flights to the US, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. United have canceled more than 200, about 11% of their main schedule.
Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations, said Friday in an employee note, reported by CNBC.
The announcement said pilots will be paid three and a half times their salary for flights that open between December 30 and January 3, and three times their salary when picking up flights between January 4 and January 3. January 29.
“Due to the rapid spread of the COVID Omicron variant, we are currently seeing record levels of pilot illness,” the pilots union wrote to its members. “The impact on operations is clear and United have experienced a correspondingly large number of cancellations over the past week.”
United flight attendants are also being paid extra to catch trips, and other airlines including JetBlue, American, Southwest and Spirit have also increased cabin crew salaries to avoid flight disruptions on holiday.