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Southwest’s Flight Attendants Vote in Favor of Sweeping New Contract

The carrier is the first major U.S. airline to ink a new deal with its flight attendants.

Southwest 737 MAX 8 aircraft (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 556 at Southwest ratified a new four-year contract after its flight attendants voted in favor of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). As a result, the Dallas-based carrier is the first major airline in the U.S. to ink a new, enhanced contract with its flight attendants.

The four-year contract includes numerous enhancements for pay, including a 22.3% ‘snap up’ raise effective on May 1,  premium pay for extended duty days, increased pay for irregular operations, three percent pay increases for the next three years, and additional compensation for lengthy ground time. Flight attendants will also receive $364 million in retroactive wages, paid out based on how much flying was completed during negotiations.

Additionally, company-paid maternal and parental will be offered, and healthcare will be given to those who are caring for a newborn child.

“Our Flight Attendants embody Southwest’s legendary Hospitality as they take care of our Customers and keep them safe throughout their travels,” Adam Carlisle, Vice President of Labor Relations at Southwest Airlines, said in a statement. “This agreement rewards our Flight Attendants and includes provisions that strengthen Southwest’s operation.”

The local TWU 556 chapter represents more than 21,000 flight attendants across Southwest’s network. Previously, the airline’s flight attendants rejected the initial tentative agreement last year in December. However, 81 percent of votes cast were in favor of this new agreement.

“This deal provides significant raises and critical quality-of-life improvements for TWU’s Southwest Flight Attendants who worked through historic operational meltdowns and a global pandemic,” TWU International Executive Vice President Alex Garcia said in a press release. “TWU Local 556 won quantifiable compensation throughout all phases of the day that will put real money into our Flight Attendants’ pay checks. This is the least they deserve after years of hard work and negotiations.”

Southwest’s Pilots

Earlier this year in January, the carrier’s pilots – represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) – also approved a new contract, which included several pay raises. Now, with both the pilots and flight attendants receiving new contracts, 11 union-represented workgroups at Southwest have ratified new agreements since October 2022.

Benjamin Pham


  • Benjamin Pham

    Benjamin has had a love for aviation since a young age, growing up in Tampa with a strong interest in airplane models and playing with them. When he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Benjamin took part in aviation photography for a couple of years at Gravelly Point and Dulles Airport, before dedicating planespotting to only when he traveled to the other airports. He is an avid, world traveler, having been able to reach 32 countries, yearning to explore and understand more cultures soon. Currently, Benjamin is an Air Transporation Management student at Arizona State University. He hopes to enter the airline industry to improve the passenger experience and loyalty programs while keeping up to how technology is being integrated into airports.

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