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Image: United Airlines

Airline pauses plan to replace bonuses with lottery

United Airlines backs down on a scheme that would only be open to employees with a perfect track record.

A plan to replace employee bonuses with a lottery has been grounded by the US carrier United Airlines, following a backlash from staff and unions.

What the airline had described as an “exciting new rewards program” was meant to have replaced quarterly bonuses. On the table was the chance to win $100,000, vacation packages and a luxury car.

But the scheme was comprehensively attacked in a flood of employee feedback. One pilot described it as a “morale killing program”.

A flight attendant said: “This sounds like a game show with cash prizes and let’s see who gets the spin of the wheel. This doesn’t sound like a plan that even attempts to show value, respect and appreciation for the work of its employees.”

For perfect staff
Even more alarmingly, the lottery-style scheme would have been available only to employees with a perfect attendance record and whenever the airline met performance targets.

United Airlines now admits it was a “misjudgement” and that it was “pressing the pause button”.

“We are pressing the pause button on these changes to review your feedback and consider the right way to move ahead. We will be reaching out to work groups across the company, and the changes we make will better reflect your feedback,” promised the carrier’s president Scott Kirby in a memo.

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