Delta pilots say they’ve worked more overtime in 2022 than in 2018 and 2019 combined.

Delta Pilots Picket Seven Airports

Pilots for Delta Airlines picketed seven major US airports on Thursday, calling for better working conditions. The demonstrations come on the eve of the 4 July holiday weekend, when passenger demand for flights is high.

Delta Pilot Pickets at Salt Lake City International Airport
Pickets at Salt Lake City International Airport | © Reed Donoghue

Pilots protested at airports in New York City, Detroit, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Los Angeles, holding signs with slogans such as “Ready to Strike” and “Industry-leading contract NOW”.

Although pilots are threatening to strike, no strike action has yet been planned. The picket is only being carried out by pilots when they aren’t scheduled to fly, so should have no impact on Delta’s flight schedule.

Why are Delta Pilots Protesting?

Pilots are protesting for better working conditions. Following the surge in passenger demand after the pandemic, pilots are being made to work overtime just to keep up with the airline’s flight schedule.

Delta Pilots picket
The Pilots are asking for more time off | © Dennis A. Clark

First Officer David Adler, a spokesperson for the pilots protesting at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, says his colleagues have already worked more overtime hours in 2022 than they did in 2018 and 2019 combined. Adler adds: “Overtime is not a bad thing, but relying on it all the time is problematic,” also noting, “We’re short of pilots right now and if we get a little bit of a hiccup in the system, whether it’s due to saturation in the airspace, whether it’s due to weather or things like that, we don’t have the staff to go ahead and recoup.”

The last time Delta negotiated a contract with its pilots was in 2016. The terms of the contract have been opened for re-negotiation since 2019, but were temporarily put on hold during the pandemic. Delta says it’s working to speed up the hiring process to help smooth over some of the difficulties it’s been facing.

What are your thoughts on the Delta pilots picketing? Let us know in the comments below! 

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