Which Major U.S. Commercial Airline Offers the Best Benefits Package?

Which Major U.S. Commercial Airline Offers the Best Benefits Package?

For some job seekers, overall salary comes in second to a good benefits package.

Vacation time, 401(k) match and good medical insurance can sometimes be the deciding factors when it comes to choosing a new employer. 

A Monster.com survey in 2012 found that a healthcare plan was the most valued class of benefits, accounting for almost one-third of the value prospective employees would place on a benefits package. Such a strong finding is consistent with past Monster employee benefit surveys which also showed how valuable healthcare is to job seekers and employees.

Below is a breakdown of benefits packages offered by some of the largest U.S. commercial airlines. So if you are a pilot, flight attendant, mechanic or work in another field at airports and are contemplating looking for a new job, here are what some of those airlines are offering:

United Airlines:

  • Travel privileges: Employees and their immediate family members, including their parents, enjoy reduced-rate travel privileges. In addition, employees with at least six months of service will receive special travel passes, including buddy passes that can be given to friends and extended family members.
  • Profit sharing plan: United shares its continued success with all employees through one of the best plans in any industry.
  • Performance bonus: Operational reliability and great customer service are extremely important, so we have a cash bonus plan that rewards employees when United meets its on-time flight arrival, departure and/or customer satisfaction goals for the month.
  • Perfect attendance program: Our exciting Perfect Attendance Recognition Program rewards employees for consecutive months or years of perfect attendance.
  • Retirement benefits: United provides competitive retirement benefits, such as a 401(k) Savings Plan. Benefits vary by workgroup.
  • Vacation and sick pay: Full- and part-time United employees receive paid vacation time. The sick leave policy gives both full- and part-time employees time off from work with pay when ill or unable to work.
  • Business travel accident insurance: United provides this coverage for all employees immediately.
  • Wellness program: This program is designed to help U.S.-based, benefit-eligible employees make the right choices for their personal, financial and emotional well-being. Employees can even win prizes for participating in healthy activities throughout the year.
  • Medical and dental insurance: Employees have the option to enroll themselves and their family members, including same-gender domestic partners, in comprehensive medical and dental plans.
  • Vision insurance: Employees may select coverage for eye exams, glasses or contact lenses.
  • Long-term disability plan: Employees may select disability income protection coverage.
  • Life insurance: United provides company-paid basic life insurance for employees. Employees may also select optional life insurance for themselves and their families.
  • Long-term care: This employee-paid program provides for many daily living assistance expenses.
  • Flexible spending account: United employees have the opportunity to pay for certain health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax money.
  • Personal accident insurance: Employees may choose to enroll in accident insurance, providing coverage for themselves and family members in the event of accidental injury or death.
  • Employee assistance program: This program offers identification, clinical assessment and treatment referral for a wide range of personal problems and concerns, including relationship issues, eldercare and childcare, grief or other life situations.
  • Commuter benefits program: Employees may use pre-tax or after-tax dollars to purchase transit and/or parking passes/tickets for commuting between home and work.
  • Employee discounts: Employees have access to special discounts and offers for great savings on products, services, entertainment and travel.

JetBlue Airways:

  • Medical insurance
  • Full-time prescription coverage
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Group legal
  • Flexible spending
  • Life insurance
  • Short-term disability insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Pilot loss of license
  • Health risk assessment
  • Disease management programs
  • 401(k) plan
  • Roth 401(k)
  • Self-directed accounts (SDA)
  • Guaranteed profit Sharing (not available to LiveTV®)
  • Stock purchase plan (not available to LiveTV®)
  • Airline credit union
  • Voluntary discount programs
  • Free and reduced rate standby travel on JetBlue flights
  • Discounted standby travel on other airlines

Delta Airlines:

  • Medical coverage, with options depending on where you live
  • Dental coverage with 3 options from which to choose
  • Vision coverage through Davis Vision
  • Domestic partner program which includes medical, dental and vision
  • Life insurance coverage of $50,000 provided by Delta
  • Optional additional life/dependent life/group accident/private pilot insurance
  • Optional disability benefit
  • Flexible spending accounts to cover eligible expenses
  • Employee assistance program, which focuses on your mental and emotional well being
  • 401(k) plan with automatic enrollment, automatic company contribution equal to 2% of your eligible pay and a 100% company match for the first 5% you contribute
  • Profit sharing with eligibility beginning on day one of employment; payout levels and amounts can vary annually, but in 2007 Delta distributed more than 15% of its pre-tax income
  • Shared reward program with monthly payouts based on the achievement of company wide goals
  • Credit union membership and services at the Delta Community Credit Union
  • Paid vacation, holiday and personal time
  • Free and reduced rate travel benefits for you and your eligible family members
  • Matching gifts to education programs, up to $2,000 per year
  • Adoption assistance program with eligibility beginning on day one of employment
  • Employee discounts on a variety of products and services

Southwest Airlines:

  • Medical
  • Vision
  • Dental
  • Life Insurance
  • Other Benefits
  • Longterm Disability Insurance
  • Dependent Care Spending Account
  • Healthcare Spending Account
  • Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Benefit
  • Child and Elder Care Resource and Referral Program
  • Mental Health Chemical Dependency/Employee Assistance Program
  • Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Rights and Responsibilities

American Airlines:

  • Medical, dental and vision coverage
  • Health Spending Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts to help you cover the cost of eligible health care and dependent day care expenses
  • Life, accident and disability coverage
  • Tax-advantaged retirement savings through our $uper $aver 401(k) Plan
  • Other benefits, such as auto and home, and group legal insurance
  • They also offer Healthmatters, its award-winning wellness program, to help you live healthier today for a better tomorrow.

Alaska Airlines:

  • Medical
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • 401(k)
  • Gain Sharing
  • Operational Performance Rewards (OPR)
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Paid Holidays
  • Employee Injury, Illness and Medical Leaves
  • Vacation Donation Program
  • Employee Assistance Fund (EAF)
  • Employee Travel Privileges
  • Employee Events

Photo courtesy Maarten Visser / Wiki Commons