American Airlines Will Terminate At Least 30% Of Management And Support Staff

American Airlines is about to inform management and support staff that they expect at least 30% to be let go, according to internal documents reviewed by View From The Wing. The airline wants some of these layoffs to be voluntary, and they’re taking both a carrot and stick approach.

  • There are two voluntary packages employees can choose from
  • if they do not pick one they may be subject to the involuntary termination package.

The federal government provided $5.8 billion to American Airlines for payroll but that just delayed the inevitable.

While the CARES Act requires airlines to guarantee employment and pay rates to existing staff through September 30, his plan will involuntarily terminate management and support staff effective mid-July, but their pay will carry them to the September 30 legal deadline.

Employees up to a level 6 manager can take either:

  • 6 months at 1/3 pay and 250,000 frequent flyer miles plus 5 years of travel benefits (“pay priority” package) or
  • 3 months at 1/3 pay, 21 months of health benefits, and 10 years of travel benefits (“Travel/Health priority” package)

Involuntary separation receives 3 months of severance – and goes off payroll October 1. They get 1 year of travel benefits and are on their own to pay for COBRA health benefits.

More senior directors and above will receive different offers.

Just last summer Doug Parker told employees that their not ever having to worry about their jobs would be his legacy,

where they didn’t need to worry about whether their company was going to be there for them. Into a place where they knew that as long as they show up and do their job as well as they do the company would be there for them forever.

Doug Parker told employees literally this month that he believed they’d get through this crisis without involuntary furloughs. When United’s Scott Kirby announced a reduction in hours for employees and an intention to lay off significant staff Parker called that out as illegal.

The airline business isn’t expected to return to where things were at the start of the year for some time, so fewer employees are needed to support the business. And in order to make it through to where demand recovers, they are working to conserve cash. Already they’re the most fragile airline in the U.S.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. SO at the end of the day does anyone believe Parker when he makes statements as he has in the past? I am amazed he is still standing.

    The airline industry like most of the travel industry needs to shrink their size, many of the marginal airlines closed down, of course the pilot shortage will go away. The robust schedules flown prior to the virus outbreak will need to be pared back, planes grounded.

    One point how does this announcement play into the PP program?

  2. Part of American’s problem (and there are Many) from what Employees have told Me is an over abundance of FAT/Pork in the Ranks of Middle Management. Many of these positions blossomed after the Merger and currently they sit around watching Paint dry or walk the Grounds of their New Corporate Complex. One Employee even told Me “They needed that New Headquarters Complex like Rome needs another Church.” I have flown AA for Years and have always been taken care of but unless there are Changes at the Top, I see tough sledding for Parker’s Version of American because No One has Any faith in this Snake Oil Salesman. (Employees outright DESPISE Him and will Tell You as much).

  3. What I don’t understand is why AA is being so stingy with the travel benefits. It costs them next to nothing to give those fired non-rev status like retirees. I can see not doing it for new employees, but someone who has been working there for years…

  4. Retiree’s never get on flight to choice destination s after 41 years I buy my TKS it’s cheaper then you think

  5. Stingy? how is 10 years stingy or even 5?
    also you should be ashamed sending this before aa employees see it gary. No integrity at all. Blog has gone down hill lately with click bait articles. Trash blog

  6. Personally, they all know it was coming. Parker’s reference to UA was that they were letting people go BEFORE October 1st, which is against the CARES Act. This notices gives them time to save money, get their expenses in order and plan for the next year coming.

    I agree that a staff reduction will put AA in much better shape to recover, grow and compete. They have their fleet rightsized, a good route and hub system and now they will cut out the fat from USAir days.

  7. Gary honestly terrible integrity from you this was going to come out tomorrow and you’re slimy fingers typed this up. If i was dp I’d black list you and say F off.

  8. The Delta voluntary package is coming out tomorrow morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if they trimmed M&S by at least 30% – they’ve added a lot of fat in that area in the past few years, especially in the middle management ranks.

    From what I’ve seen, both the AA and UA packages for M&S type employees is better than what DL is going to offer.

    That being said, I’d value 350k AA miles (which can be used for OW J/F awards) over a confirmed space ticket that has no guarantee of an upgrade.

  9. @tassojunior – the way I’m reading this is if you take the 21 months of healthcare you get 350k miles. If you take the extra 3 months of pay, you only get 250k miles. Basically, they’re trying to get people to skip the extra 3 months of pay while getting an extra 100k miles and an extra 15 months of healthcare. Basically, take less money up front and hope that come Q2 2021, AA will be making more money to make it easier to pay for the healthcare then than pay hard cash in Q4 2020.

  10. Gary Leff should be investigated for posting proprietary information. It’s clear he printed a screenshot off an AA computer. I want to know how he got it.

  11. and I’d think unemployment would blunt the effect of 3 extra months 1/3 pay.

  12. Gary Leff should be investigated for posting proprietary information. It’s clear he printed a screenshot off an AA computer. I want to know how he got it. He has no integrity Kevin its quite sad.
    This was supposed to come out tomorrow for AA.

  13. How does Gary Leff get away with this? Seriously? Posting this very difficult news meant for American employees ahead of when they were to receive this is no ones business but theirs and especially after it appears that it was leaked. Peoples lives are impacted by this and it appears that he is celebrating that he knows first and does not care about the lives of these very dedicated and hard working people. I feel bad for these folks that make sure we are taken care of on our journeys. Apparently Gary does not. Sad.

  14. Kevin Birnbaum – feathers ruffled much? It’s no secret. Get a grip.

  15. @DB

    Non revs routinely take up space from paying customers. Non revs hurt chances of last minute upgrades for paying customers. Given that airlines are scaling back their routes and frequencies, capacity may be higher for the routes it does run.

  16. What types of positions are they cutting? E.g., in a reservations office, would a supervisor be considered management or support? (Obviously, directors, senior directors, vice presidents, that sort of thing.)

  17. So you’re telling me this is a good time to start suing AA for the AAdvantage miles they stole since they’re gutting their workforce.

    Good to know.

    And hopefully lots of heads roll in Corporate Security.

  18. Kevin – wow, stop being a wannabe tattletale. Have some empathy for people losing their livelihood and let it go. The airlines are borderline illegal in taking federal aid and preparing layoffs.

  19. @Matt – my understanding is this is anyone that is paid on a salary basis versus hourly pay.

  20. American has no significant problem that can’t be solved by seeing the Oasis project through to completion

  21. Hey folks. Quit with your whining!
    The economy was shutdown virtually overnight! Duh !!!
    AA has been trying to deal with this BS just like all the other corporations, big and small.
    Let’s rally around Trump and try to get things opened up and work our way back to normal!

  22. @Grant – “Peoples lives are impacted by this and it appears that he is celebrating”

    How does it appear I’m celebrating? I’m really saddened by this, I know many people at American, have many friends there.

  23. Dont worry Kevin
    He has already been reported for sharing proprietary information and for being an insensitive DICK HEAD, with no journalistic decorum. Fuck him and his story! Fucking prick! #MR.ICOULDNEVERMAKEFRIENDS

  24. The “health priority” package just makes plain what we all know: that health care should single payer or government provided, and not dependent on corporations. The notion that “Americans want to keep the health care they chose” is absurd, because they don’t choose it and they can’t keep it.

  25. I just dont think it’s your role or responsibility to be breaking this “news” before an airline tells its own employees, just because you think it’s cool to do so. YEs we know that you hate Parker and most of the management, but that does not give you any right at all to interfere in the very delicate communications on this subject at AA. It’s not your role, it’s not your place, and for the most part, this really is not a matter of public concern. Would you do the same for employees in non-travel related companies? Just an odd thing to do, one that you really have no business sticking your nose into.

  26. @Jackson Henderson – Nonrevs do NOT take up space from paying customers or upgrades. They’re accommodated after all revenue pax have been accommodated.

  27. @Jason

    At American non revs can be waitlisted for business class seats after paid upgrades. I rather these go to paying customers in premium economy. And I rather there be space left in the cabin if paying passengers aren’t upgraded. Non revs have a bad reputation for diluting the product and talking loudly in the galley for half the flight with the FAs.

  28. @gary save the crocodile tears. you’re “saddened””?. You’re empathy is about as serious as Trump is about 100k pandemic deaths. Your first step should have been to respect the “saddening” news by publishing your blog after the official release.

    Fact is, it was planned for 9am today. Perhaps your publishing early last evening was what prompted it to be sent to employee mailboxes after 8pm last night.

    We’ve watched your dark self- centered, angst-filled transformation over the years but this is a new low. Like they say about Trump, we don’t know how low he can go.

    Let’s just hope those friends who give you their proprietary access, lose their jobs causing you to lose your access. Privilege and trust of sources should be respected. They should cut you off immediately.

  29. First of all, let’s not shoot the messenger. It’s Mr. Leff’s job to report the news, as soon as it happens. That’s what a Free Press is for. To expect that Mr. Leff should make a value judgement about employee sensitivities is wrong-headed, and exactly what a journalist shouldn’t do.

    Second, every corporation has to make difficult survival decisions. While greatly exaggerated by the present situation, corporations have always had a fiscal responsibility to maintain profitability while at the same time treating employees fairly. I don’t see why that standard should be different in American’s case.

    Third, Mr. Parker is trying to provide employees early warning and some flexibility to make the best possible arrangement for themselves, in balance with the needs of the Company in its desperate state. It isn’t a supremely generous act, but it’s not draconian, either. In any other situation, these employees would have been furloughed (or, terminated) immediately, as would be the case in any other company.

    Lastly, while Mr. Parker’s management team hasn’t always made sound decisions (the degree to which is open to lengthy discussion), the employee group doesn’t universally despise Mr. Parker. There are those that do, but it’s hardly universal. Many employees of corporations perceive that they have diverging goals from that of their employer, to some degree, and they often exaggerate their distain for their leadership because it is making decisions that are perceived as not in their personal interest. And so goes politics, as well. Employees who are a little more dispassionate, are better able to see that Mr. Parker’s leadership has been generally satisfactory with fair and honest treatment of the employee group. Again, not to describe it as superior or generous, but he’s been an honest broker and a satisfactory leader in a notoriously problematic industry.

    American Airlines and Mr. Parker are unfairly maligned, in my opinion, by both employees and the public, and I hope history will reflect more positively on the Company its leadership in a few (dozen?) years time.

    Disclosures: While I attest that I’m making objective statements, I am both a Unionized employee and a stockholder of the Company. Perhaps that fact also gives my comments the credibility of someone who might know something about it.

  30. @Jackson Henderson –
    If people in Premium Economy have paid for an upgrade to business class or have used an upgrade instrument to go to business class, they will be accommodated before any non rev in business class. But, there is no circumstance that somebody in premium economy would get an upgrade to business class just because, as you seem to implying they should. Why would that make any sense? If somebody in premium econonomy wants to upgrade and they have the cash/ instrument/ status to do so, then they’d always get the seat before the nonrev in business. IF they dont have any of those, then they shouldnt. You dont get to set the terms of boarding priority just because you dont like nonrevs, sorry.

  31. So self centered of you to call AA last night and threaten to publish your inside, leaked info on the layoffs. These are people’s lives you are messing with. Shame on you. This blog lost all credibility with me and hopefully thousands of others. Mind your business and stick to travel related business. I hope your informant loses his job.

  32. Non revs deserve first class anytime that it becomes available we worked hard to have those benefits at least costumer Service agents (one for 20 years) it’s not your place to make that decision maybe you don’t deserve it but I sure do

  33. Wow a lot of people here sound like shills talking for American Airlines HR and Social Media teams. What Gary did is extremely common in blogging communities, leaking and bringing internal news to the masses early. Why does it matter if it comes from a blog or HR, it’s showing what is most likely provided and not who is being let go. If it was done a few days early and it large amounts of traction for being a horrible deal these types of actions have the possibility to create change potentially providing better severance benefits to people too.

  34. I don’t think Gary has a J school degree or do you? A journalist would have called AA HQ and asked for an interview with Parker about this. Have to wonder if Parker would have obliged or let a PR person be interviewed. At any rate as a blogger he can do what he wants.
    As for PJ, tell the relatives of those who died from Covid they should “Rally” around chump. Yeah, let’s all have a party and celebrate chump’s handling of 100,000 deaths.
    I’m sure chump’s buddies, Kim, Putin and Xi will show up.

  35. Wow, the trolls are really out in force today and REALLY pissed off! Some are completely unhinged! Including some idiot who doesn’t even know how to spell choad. Obviously AA execs (maybe even Parker himself) masquerading as ‘readers’ of the blog who hadn’t been able to perform their usual obfuscation before the news became public. And then, of course, the ‘poorly educated’ like @PJ who says, “Let’s rally around Trump.” Right. So 100,000 deaths aren’t enough for you? 25% unemployment isn’t enough for you? God knows where those numbers will be come November!

  36. @Rog “I don’t think Gary has a J school degree or do you? A journalist would have called AA HQ and asked for an interview with Parker about this.”

    I called American Airlines headquarters they weren’t even interested in offering a statement from Parker.

    Now let’s talk about what a journalist would do, the first mainstream site I saw cover this was CNBC. They didn’t get an interview with American on this, they merely quoted the Elise Eberwein email that was pushed forward because of my coverage. (

  37. I imagine many of the people being let go were not really surprised. It should not hurt any worse to hear about it on Thursday instead of Friday , the end result is the same.
    I don’t understand why people are trying so hard to generate outrage. It’s not Gary’s fault that people are losing their jobs.

  38. They are not providing health coverage in any of the options. The employee has to pay for it, which is difficult without a paycheck.

  39. MiamiTraveler – Your butt kissing AA is clear and you have no credibility. Thanks for playing at $11.00 stock price (at this second). That IS pathetic and an indication of how dysfunctionally the Company is. You have NO business speaking for the employees.

    Parker is a evil person. Go read up and stop ignoring history. Your ignorance is proven.

  40. I would like to point out that the information this person has is inaccurate and I still think what he did was inappropriate…moreover, who ever leaked it is to blame as well.

    As one of the many folks being affected by this situation, it would have been nice if people would have shown integrity…and not put out false info.

    Specifically, the second plan DOES NOT allow for 21 months of medical benefits….

  41. Gary, you must have creamed in your undies to get this story out before management was able to notify us. I hope that you enjoyed it. Don’t give us your BS about being sad.
    Karma is a bitch!

  42. The Problem with AA and any other major corporation sending “bad” news out to their employees via company mail is they will spit it out late Friday afternoon and let them “stew” with the information while they go home for the weekend. Any AA employee with 5 years or less, maybe more, can’t be surprised that their jobs are in jeopardy come October!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *