SWA Benefits (short summary)


Well-known member
Nov 27, 2001
Total Time
Lots of folks when weighing their options for airlines focus on several factors. Some that are often overlooked are some of the lesser known benefits. I've included a summary of some of the lesser known ones for those who are interested in knowing & comparing what they currently have or what questions to ask of their friends at other carriers they maybe considering applying to. Hope this helps.

Pilot Mutual Aid (PMA):​
is a voluntary selffunded

plan designed to provide monies as income

replacement to participating pilots. You must

enroll in this plan within 60 days of your date of

hire. It covers both probationary pilots and nonprobationary

pilots with income lasting up to 12

consecutive months. You may receive a maximum

of 24 total months of benefi ts should you meet

the necessary qualifi cations. Because this plan is

restricted to participating pilots, contributions to the

PMA plan, currently $14 per month, are not income

tax deductible. Distributions from the plan are not

taxed. The maximum monthly distribution is $6000,

calculated by multiplying your trip rate by 100.

PMA monies decrease to $1000 per month when

LOL or LTD become payable. We designed this plan

to specifi cally benefi t pilots who had accumulated

little or no sick leave (probationary pilots), and for

pilots who had exhausted their sick leave prior to

entering the Loss of License or Long Term Disability

plans (non-probationary pilots). Access to PMA

is simple and completely non-discriminatory for

participating pilots. For a full plan description

see the SWAPA “What If” booklet (pgs. 1-16)

and the SWAPA Pilot Mutual Aid Summary Plan

Description (16 pages) available on the Web site

(www.swapa.org) under the Benefi ts tab.

Southwest Airlines Employee Catastrophic Assistance Charity:

As the name implies this is
a charity that is available to all employees. It is

funded by tax-deductible donations via payroll

deduction and all proceeds are non-taxed. A

Board of Directors, meeting

every two weeks, reviews

your application (available online

at www.swalife.com) and

determines if and how much

assistance you may receive.

Almost $7,000,000 has been

distributed since 1990. I would

encourage all pilots to contribute

to this program. Please review

the program at www.swalife.com.

Loss of License (LOL):

is a Company-funded
disability plan. In order to qualify you must have

a qualifying medical event and exhaust your sick

leave or wait six months, whichever is greater. LOL

income replaces 60 percent of your predisability

income, calculated as the average of your previous

12 months earnings. The LOL monthly maximum

is currently $9500 (60 percent of $15,833.33). LOL

income is subject to federal income tax as no

premium or imputed premium is being paid by the

pilot. LOL will last for a minimum of fi ve years

with an additional one month of coverage for every

two months of service after you have been employed

for ten years. If you are ruled Social Security

disabled, LOL provides coverage to age 60. LOL

payments are funded from SWA corporate accounts.

Please refer to the Loss of License Summary Plan

Description for more specifi cs.

Long Term Disability (LTD):

is an optional
disability income product sponsored by SWAPA

and underwritten by Standard of Oregon. It is an

experience-rated plan, that is, we pay cost plus

fees for Southwest Airlines pilots’ use only. The

plan currently provides 66 2/3 percent income

replacement with a plan maximum of $10,500 per

month (66 2/3 percent of $15,750) integrated with

and offset by our LOL plan. LTD will continue

coverage to age 60 and to age 65 if Social Security

disabled and will be the primary benefi t when LOL

benefi ts are exhausted. You must have a qualifying

medical event for access to the plan, the same as

LOL, but once on disability a secondary defi nition

of unable to earn “80 percent of your Indexed

Predisability Income” is added to the defi nition of

disability. This ensures you will have access to LTD

should you fi nd a non-pilot job until you can replace

80 percent of your predisability income. LTD

benefi ts begin after a six month waiting period even

if you have not exhausted your sick leave. Under

an agreement with SWA and Standard, a pilot may

reduce his sick leave draw and begin LTD benefits.

Using this method, full pay can be realized without

drawing full sick leave. Please refer to the Benefits

Calculator on the SWAPA Web site for further

explanation. Because pilots pay the full premium

for this plan, the benefits are non-taxed. Standard

of Oregon pays LTD benefits.