Delta Airlines pilots to become latest to picket at Sea-Tac citing strain from low staffing

Apr 16, 2022, 5:45 AM

Delta pilots...

Delta Airlines pilots picketing. (Delta Master Executive Council)

(Delta Master Executive Council)

In early April, Alaska Airlines pilots at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport picketed to protest what they say is an outdated labor deal, all while grappling with low staffing. Now, Delta Airlines pilots are voicing similar concerns, with a picket of their own planned for Tuesday, April 19.

The union representing Delta’s pilots claims that the airline is currently “trying to operate more flights with fewer pilots, leaving no wiggle room for weather delays and operational strain,” and that they have been logging “record amounts of overtime” in the process.

“Pilots are mission-oriented and want to deliver the best service in the industry, but we are also humans with limitations,” Delta Master Executive Council Chairman Capt. Jason Ambrosi said in a news release. “Not every day is blue skies. Weather disruptions and other operational issues can cause flight delays and cancellations. Our customers deserve better.”

Alaska Airlines cancels at least 71 Sea-Tac flights as pilots picket

Ultimately, Delta pilots are hoping to have “management come to the table to discuss scheduling concerns.”

That will have the airline’s pilots picketing on Tuesday at Sea-Tac, marking the fifth different travel hub where they will have done so.

Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines pilots are continuing to warn of a shortage of pilots, following a slew of cancelled flights. Ultimately, the airline was forced to scale back its flight schedule starting in June to account for ongoing staffing difficulties.

Talks between the airline and the union representing pilots have been ongoing since 2019, but were paused for a year “as the industry weathered the pandemic,” the company notes. Alaska says that it filed for mediation in October of 2021, with a session scheduled for late April.

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Delta Airlines pilots to become latest to picket at Sea-Tac citing strain from low staffing