This airline exec's compensation soared to $17.6M

Airlines are making big profits, and CEOs are cashing in.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) disclosed Thursday that CEO Richard Anderson got a 22 percent increase in compensation last year, to nearly $17.6 million.

That put Anderson ahead of the CEOs of American and United, which are bigger airlines by passenger traffic and capacity, and Southwest, whose chief executive was recently touted by Fortune magazine as the most underrated for any industry.

As is typical for top executives now, Anderson received most of his compensation in stock awards -- they were valued at nearly $9.6 million when granted. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he also got options valued at $3.8 million, $3.1 million in incentives, a $790,625 salary and nearly $300,000 in perks.