A220-300 does NOT qualify for additional 76-seat scope relief. Only the A220-100, E2-190, and E2-195 qualify.
UA has crunched the numbers several different times. It has been better to buy used A319/B737 rather than new smaller planes. The very low capital cost of these helps a lot with a flexible network. Many of these destinations are relatively close to the hubs (not a lot of enroute fuel savings), and they sit in the ground quite long between turns (low utilization). Most of these markets don’t support the same amount of service daily either. Parked for slow seasons or slow days of week
Short version … fuel savings of E2/A220 haven’t justified their capital costs in United’s network
I've been wondering about the A221 vs A223 rates. Are they so different because of the scope clause or is something like this the case on 737's as well? A pilot rated to fly the 73G can fly the 739, but do they get paid differently? I assume UA doesn't separate the groups, so do more senior pilots, who bid earlier, just get to choose the routes on the larger aircraft for higher scale? Or do 737 types have less variation in the pay scale?
They are so different because, from a high level, that’s what the rest of the industry has negotiated with various pay banding. This particular 100 vs 300 is an odd one though with some big variations at some US airlines. Each airline has its own history with pay rates, and then subsequent contracts are negotiated at other airlines based on pattern bargaining off of those rates. So I’ll try to paint a history of small narrowbody rates which I believe is the reason we are where we are today. Someone else can feel free to correct or add to the following.
The first E190/195 rates were negotiated by (at the time) the union-less B6 (ie dictated, not negotiated), and were very very low. Nobody else had them in their fleets, so no negotiating capital was spent anywhere else raising those rates (even though they were “ghost rates” at carriers that didn’t have them). E190/195 was kind of still an “RJ” (its type rating is even called the ERJ
170/190), and so it never got treated as a small mainline plane. It’s always been kind of an in-between plane (despite carrying what an old DC9/731/732 carried, but I digress). Not sure about the history of the rates at US, but I imagine they were pattern bargained off B6, and they were such a small fleet it didn’t matter too much. When delta bought E190s (then quickly got rid of them after the pilots voted down their TA in 2015), there was talk there of trying to raise those rates. So, basically when it became an issue for them, they started to focus on it. But the bottom line is, the 190/195 have always been very very low since B6 got them.
Enter the C series. Delta pilots negotiated some very solid rates for it. Delta also doesn’t really pay band their rates as much as the other airlines. They have many different pay rates for planes, even within the same family. On the small narrowbody side, the CS300 was the same as the MD88/90, the -100 in-between the 717 and MD-88. They already had decent rates for the 717, despite having pretty bad ghost rates for the 195 and especially the 190, which helped them negotiate a solid CS100 rate. A223: $269, A221: $263, 717: $256, 195: $215, 190: $183.
American bands everything into groups 1-5.
5: A380, B-747
4: B-767-400, B-777, B-787, A330, A340, A350
3: B-757, B-767-200/300, A300
2: A319/320/321, B-737-700/800/900, MD80
1: Any aircraft configured with 77-117 seats, including E190/195, CRJ1000, MRJ-100, and Bombardier A220-100
United is banded as follows:
A350, A330, B-747, B-777, B-787, B-767-400
B-757-200, B-737-800/900, A320/321, MD80/90
A319, B-737-500/700, A220-300
*I think their A220-100 fits with the E195, but the documents I am looking at aren’t clear.
All this to say: at UA/AA, the A220-100 was grouped in with 100ish seat RJs due to similar size, where very little negotiating capital was spent because they didn’t have any, (minus the 20 at AA from the merger that affected only a small fraction of their pilots and who could bid off of it quickly anyway. 1st year pay on a 190 was the same as a 737. And their upgrade was quick on that plane, so it wasn’t a big deal to them). Delta pilots were able to negotiate some of the highest 220-100 rates, largely because their 717 rates were already decent, and the -100 was a similar seat, higher range plane. I suspect if they had kept their 190s and grew that fleet, delta pilots would have insisted on higher 190/195 rates.
When B6 was negotiating their A221 rates, they were stuck with management using artificially low ghost rates at UA/AA to compare to. So they ended up somewhere in-between AA/UA and DL.
An interesting, somewhat related point is how “family rates” exist. In some aircraft and at some airlines, an A319 pays the same as an A321. An A330-200 pays the same as an A330-900. At some airlines a 752/753/763 all pay the same. But then the 767-400 pays the same as 330 or 777. One would think with such a small difference between an A220-100 and A220-300, they would pay the same. I would argue that should be the case (Delta pilots did, hence why they have such a small split between the two). But it seems at B6/UA/AA, management’s theory that the -100 closely matches the lower paying 190/195s, and the -300 is close to an A319, so there should be a larger split. Take B6 for example: B6 management said most US airlines didn’t have a higher paying A321 vs A320 rate (which is true since AA keeps theirs as Group 2, UA doesn’t yet have an A321 rate, and deltas was only marginally higher and the same as their 737 rate), and therefore they stated that the 320/321 should be a family rate. So B6 pilots flying a 150 seat A320 are making the same as they would flying a 200 seat A321NEO, or an A321XLR. But then they argue the ghost A221 rates at UA/AA are cause for the B6 A221 rate to be a lot lower than the A223 rate, despite being more similar in size than a 320/321.
As the A321NEO (+LR/XLR) is becoming a 757 replacement at all 3 legacies, I suspect there will be pressure to increase the 321 pay across the board to more closely match 757.
As for the future of 190/195/221/223 rates, who knows. I’d bet if UAL ordered some 195s, UAL ALPA will insist on increasing those rates significantly and would use some negotiating capital to do it.
Side note: if all planes had the same pay rate, people would not keep switching planes as much chasing higher pay. That lowers the training float (number of pilots in training, which costs money and resources, and who are not producing revenue flying the line) and increases costs for the company. It also requires more staffing (when there is movement either direction) because of the increased training float. ALPA apparently likes different rates for that reason and because it causes more choice. Lower paying planes give someone a chance at being higher percentage in category and thus having a higher quality of life (line vs reserve, better trips, etc.), or higher pay rate but lower percentage in category. So, every ALPA person with whom I’ve spoken has seemed to scoff at the idea of single pay rates. Seems like they want more choice and more rates. APA (AA) openers I saw when they were beginning their section 6 negotiations were calling for taking away their pay bands and having individual rates for planes. If I were king, I’d advocate for either a single narrowbody rate and single widebody rate, or just single rate period. Seems to work ok for UPS. But the unions disagree for the reasons I listed above.
Anyway, that’s the history of the A221 and A223 pay rates as I understand them, with some other related info thrown in.