Delta Air Lines giving employees $1,250 appreciation payments in February

The collective payout totals more than $100M

Delta Air Lines is giving employees a profit-sharing payout on Employee Appreciation Day next month to thank them for their efforts during the "most difficult year" in the airline's 95-year history. 

In a memo Thursday, CEO Ed Bastian commended employees for providing "unmatched service" amid another year set against a raging pandemic. 

To thank them, Bastian said every employee who worked the entirety of 2021 would get a payment of $1,250 on Feb. 14, otherwise known as Employee Appreciation Day, based on the profits the carrier made in the second half of 2021. 

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The collective payout totals more than $100 million, according to Delta. 

Although the Atlanta-based airline was only profitable for the second half of the year, the carrier is still able to offer a one-time profit-sharing payment to all of its current employees, according to Bastian. 

Delta Airlines

Flight attendants hand out refreshments to a packed Delta Airlines flight traveling from Ronald Regan National Airport to MinneapolisSaint Paul International Airport on Friday, May 21, 2021. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Thanks to your extraordinary efforts, we are the only major U.S. airline that will report a profit during the second half of 2021," Bastian said. 

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The chief executive added that "this is a truly remarkable achievement" especially during "continuing challenges, including one of the most difficult holiday environments" the airline has ever encountered. 

In a short video clip to employees, Bastian explained that those who worked the entire year will get the full $1,250 payment. However, employees that joined the company mid-year or later will get half the amount.   

The "thank-you" payment to employees comes as a new skirmish breaks out between largely non-union Delta and the nation’s largest union of flight attendants. The union accuses Delta of pressuring employees to return to work too soon after contracting the virus.

Delta lobbied the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month to reduce the recommended quarantine period from 10 days to five days for vaccinated people who contract the virus, with Bastian and other Delta officials saying that the 10-day standard "may significantly impact our workforce and operations."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.