MIAMI — Delta has announced that they would be boosting their profit sharing program for their 80,000 employees by an additional $1 billion, stirring the waters of competing airlines such as American Airlines (AA) and United Airlines (UA).

Pilots at those other carriers have raised their concerns because the profit sharing numbers at those airlines are substantially smaller than that of Delta’s. In fact, AA’s latest profit sharing payout was just in the range of $241 million—five times less than that of Delta’s.

To put things into perspective, the Allied Pilots Association calculates that a Captain at Delta Air Lines will get a payout in the range of $30,000 – $60,000, pending on seniority.

On the contrary, United Captains are getting payouts in the range of $10,000-$20,000, also pending on seniority.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Delta has been able to reward their +80,000 employees—pointing their profits towards their performance and their operations as an airline, “a milestone no company in history has ever achieved,” said Delta’s Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian.

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Up to date, more than $5 billion has been put into the profit sharing program so far, showing Delta’s long commitment to reward their employees and also to keep them happy while providing the service that they want to give to its broad customer base.

This compensational approach has been in practice since 2008, and such investments and rewards have increased by up to 80% over the past decade.


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Delta ultimately believes that through the program, employees share in the success they create together through hard work and a focus on the customer.

“Our industry-leading profit sharing and compensation philosophy reflect a decision we made a long time ago to share in the company’s success each year with our people who make it possible,” Bastian said.

“Rather than make a one-off payment like other companies, Delta is invested in highly competitive base pay, an industry-leading annual profit sharing plan, and monthly bonuses each year when the airline performs well,” he added.

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Delta will more than likely have this program in place due to the forever increasing competition, not just in the domestic American market, but looking towards the Middle-East with Qatar, Emirates and Etihad trying their hardest to expand and thrive in the markets that the American carrier flies to.

According to Akhil Anumolu, leading Digital Marketing Technology & Personalization at Delta, the airline not only rewarded its employees with a hefty payout. “This year, we cut the skin from one of our retired 747s and made it into 80,000 pieces that will be distributed to every employee,” he tweeted earlier today.

For each employee to get a piece of the retired Queen of the Skies is undoubtedly a testament to how the airline wants to keep its team unified and working towards one same goal.

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By expanding themselves as a brand through their unique customer service from the employees, it could encourage flyers to either pay more for the guaranteed service or to keep flying with them, in which both options work well for the carrier.

This would now mean that other carriers that operate in the same market as Delta will have to step their game up in their customer service to get as much market share as possible.

This can be achieved through the compensation programmes that Delta have on offer, as further motivation in a workforce can generate better results for the brand as a whole, meaning their competitiveness increase in the business.