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Aviation millionaires

Only millionaires are at the helm of US airlines. Their CEOs’ compensation ranges from $2.4-15 million (€2.1-13.4 million). On their watch, US airlines nickel-and-dime their customers and transport them like cargo. They seem to consider it necessary for the carriers to earn high profits.

Passenger forcibly removed from flight

In 2017, United Airlines’ boss Oscar Munoz did not take his bonus. It is the year in which United calls security officers to forcibly remove Dr. Dao from a flight. He is a paying passenger and is sitting in a seat for which he has a valid boarding pass.

The reason for forcibly removing him from the plane is that United gives his seat to an employee. Obviously, employees have priority over a paying customer.

Video goes viral

Oscar Munoz

Oscar Munoz

The airline has bad luck because shocked passengers catch Dr. Dao’s forcibly removal on videos that go viral on the internet. In the absence of those videos there would have been hardly any commotion. And Oscar Munoz could have taken his bonus without a problem.

In 2018, however, he got his regular bonus again. As a result, his pay of $10.5 million in 2018 is almost $1 million higher than in 2017.

CEOs’ compensation

Metrics determining an airline CEO’s compensation usually include the carrier’s pretax income, strategic initiatives, and operational goals. The latter include indicators such as on-time performance, lost baggage rates, and flight completion rates.

A clear illustration of airlines’ priorities is that customer satisfaction is usually not included in the metrics determining a US airline CEO’s pay.

Robin Hayes

Robin Hayes

However, there are a few exceptions. JetBlue includes customer satisfaction in the factors determining CEO Robin Hayes’ compensation. And following the dramatic incident in 2017, United added it this to its metrics as well.

Ratio to median worker’s wage

The ratio of a US airline CEO’s compensation to the median worker’s pay is outrageous, in particular at the 3 largest carriers. Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastion gets the highest pay: $15 million (€13.4 million). But Doug Parker earns at American Airlines relative to the median worker the most: 195 times this worker’s wage.

Some details of US airline CEOs’ compensation follow.

CEO Airline 2018 Pay Ratio to Median Worker
Ed Bastian Delta Air Lines 14,982,448 184 to 1
Doug Parker American Airlines 11,999,517 195 to 1
Oscar Munoz United Airlines 10,493,832 144 to 1
Gary Kelly Southwest Airlines 7,726,455 98.4 to 1
Brad Tilden Alaska Airlines 4,374,845 80.4 to 1
Robin Hayes JetBlue Airways 3,585,420 66.5 to 1
Peter Ingram* Hawaiian Airlines 3,349,324 48 to 1
Maury Gallagher Allegiant Air 2,850,307 57 to 1
Robert Fornaro** Spirit Airlines 2,405,551 50 to 1

Related: “Are passengers cargo?

Tags: US airlines, CEO’s compensation, median worker’s pay

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