Airline Careers

WolffPilot11

New Member
Hi Everyone,

I am very interested in a career as an airline pilot. I have been since I was at least 8 (I am now 23). The airline industry has changed so much and I was just wondering if you thought it was still a realistic goal or not to pursue. I have some other options on the table, but nothing I would enjoy as much as flying. I would love to do the typical route to the airlines, get that 4 year degree, instruct, get on with a regional carrier, and then land a job with a major. I just want to get on some career path, and the airline industry is making me feel discouraged. My basic question I guess is, is the airline pilot profession still a good or realistic one and what is the best way to go about getting there? I would great appreciate any help. Thanks!:)
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
<Moved to General Topics forum. More appropriate location to get responses.>

Welcome, by the way!

:)
 

fly8slep

New Member
Hi Everyone,

I am very interested in a career as an airline pilot. I have been since I was at least 8 (I am now 23). The airline industry has changed so much and I was just wondering if you thought it was still a realistic goal or not to pursue. I have some other options on the table, but nothing I would enjoy as much as flying. I would love to do the typical route to the airlines, get that 4 year degree, instruct, get on with a regional carrier, and then land a job with a major. I just want to get on some career path, and the airline industry is making me feel discouraged. My basic question I guess is, is the airline pilot profession still a good or realistic one and what is the best way to go about getting there? I would great appreciate any help. Thanks!:)

If by good you mean, never being home and making less than a bus driver then yes it's wonderful to be an airline pilot. Avoid the airlines, with the state of the industry there will be major changes and job losses. Yes it is fun to fly an airplane but that's a fraction of your life and eventually you do have to come back down to reality... I would have done something else starting from college if I had known it was going to be this ######. There is just too much sacrifice on your part for the hope to make a six figure income at some place, which you probably never will. But if you have to be a pilot avoid the airlines, try cargo or rich people flying that will always have some stability.
 

Airdale

Well-Known Member
Hi Everyone,

I am very interested in a career as an airline pilot. I have been since I was at least 8 (I am now 23). The airline industry has changed so much and I was just wondering if you thought it was still a realistic goal or not to pursue. I have some other options on the table, but nothing I would enjoy as much as flying. I would love to do the typical route to the airlines, get that 4 year degree, instruct, get on with a regional carrier, and then land a job with a major. I just want to get on some career path, and the airline industry is making me feel discouraged. My basic question I guess is, is the airline pilot profession still a good or realistic one and what is the best way to go about getting there? I would great appreciate any help. Thanks!:)
Don't let people...eh huh....discourage you from pursuing something you are passionate about.

Yeah yeah yeah, a job is a job and its just a means to an end. Well, you still have to get a job. If deep down inside you've always wanted to chase the airline pilot dream - go for it. Yes, a lot of things have changed. Salaries have been dropping, benefits are dwindling etc. etc. Paint yourself a good picture of what the industry looks like, both good and bad, then go from there.

Right now, the industry is a mess. Mostly related to the oil prices. Some companies have fallen, others are hanging by a thread. Lots of pilots have lost their jobs and the furloughs continue. Its pretty bad.

But I wouldn't let whats happening today dictate your career. Everyone will tell you that the industry goes through cycles, and its true. Here is the low...still going lower. Now might actually be a great time to start working on College, ratings and building flight time.

Here is my honest opinion I will leave you with. I kept telling myself this while I was in your position just itching to get started.

I want to be telling my Grandson on my lap someday, that I went out and followed my passion and accomplished my goals. Even if I ended up furloughed and in some other career, I can still be proud to say I accomplished my goal and unfortunately it just didn't work out. Rather than tell him that I gave up on the dream because of what other people said or what stood in the way.

I may not be making a lot of money right now, but I really enjoy going to work. Someday it will pay off. If not, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
 

jtrain609

Uniting the black vote.
If by good you mean, never being home and making less than a bus driver then yes it's wonderful to be an airline pilot. Avoid the airlines, with the state of the industry there will be major changes and job losses. Yes it is fun to fly an airplane but that's a fraction of your life and eventually you do have to come back down to reality... I would have done something else starting from college if I had known it was going to be this ######. There is just too much sacrifice on your part for the hope to make a six figure income at some place, which you probably never will. But if you have to be a pilot avoid the airlines, try cargo or rich people flying that will always have some stability.
This roughly how I feel, but let me see if I can possibly articulate the same thing in a little bit different way.

The pay sucks at the regional level. And I don't mean, "Oh, it'll be ok because I'll be getting paid to fly!" I mean more like telling your fiance who you're living with, "Hey honey...ahh...I don't really have enough cash to cover rent AND bills this month, or actually eat for that matter, so can you cover the bills? Thanks!"

You may "enjoy this job more than anything else," but if you can't meet your basic needs in life because your job pays so poorly, then not much else matters. And let me tell you that small paycheck of yours goes flying out the door! In addition to your normal rent payment, if you're commuting you can expect to pay $150-$300 a month for a crashpad (depending on where your base is), another $40 a month in parking at the airport you commute from, food while sitting in the crashpad and not working (this adds up FAST) and a bunch of other stuff you couldn't possibly even begin to consider at this point. This job has a more expensive lifestyle than most, and if I were to simply quit my job today I'd start saving an easy $350-$400 a month in costs that are incurred commuting. Being that my rent payment back where I actually live is another $500, plus whatever other bills we have...well let's just say that $1,200 a month paycheck goes out the window FAST.

So let's say you can get beyond the pay at the regional level, then you have to deal with the schedule. Let's say you're a commuter, much like myself, and you took this job because you could commute. Not everybody has the ability to just pick up and move to a new part of the country when they change jobs, so that's an added benefit of this job. Now let's say, like me, you have to commute in the day before your trips (or again in my case, reserve so I can sit in a crashpad, more on that one later), so instead of having 12 days off per month, you now have 8. Now let's say you end up getting released late from your trip, now you're commuting home the day AFTER a trip. Still sound great? You'll be home about 6-7 days a month.

But everybody will tell you that it'll get better! It may, or it may not. You *could* end up in a situation like mine where I commute to reserve for a year, and the day after I hit second year pay I find out my company lost one of our contracts and BAM, you're in the list for a furlough! So now all the hard work you've put in, and all the sacrifice you've made with the low pay is for naught. But now because nobody else is hiring, you can't get a job ANYWHERE! You're forced out of aviation completely whether you like it or not, and you're back to that old IT job for the next couple of years.

This could happen to you, OR, you could manage to hit things at the right time. There are guys on this forum who upgraded in 2 years, have so many people below them at their respective companies the place would pretty much have to shut their doors for these pilots to lose their jobs, and are sitting pretty. Some spent 3 years at the regionals with good schedules and a quick upgrade to make it to the mainline companies quickly. Some of us were not so lucky.

It's a roll of the dice to tell you the truth. This career will, as far as I can see, treat you very well, or very, very, very poorly. To be truthful, I've given up more than I'm willing to give up any longer to be a pilot, and it's a real big kick in the face. Much like yourself, this is all I've ever wanted to do, but much like many people before me, all I want to do now is be able to pay rent on time and spend more time with my loved ones at home.

Whether this job is worth it or not depends on how lucky you get, how lucky you get, and how lucky you get. Me? I'm not a very lucky guy, and things haven't worked out. That's life, and I wouldn't give the experience up for anything, but it's a subjective answer.

Just understand you may make it big, you may get screwed as hard me, or you could possibly have it worse.
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
This roughly how I feel, but let me see if I can possibly articulate the same thing in a little bit different way.

The pay sucks at the regional level. And I don't mean, "Oh, it'll be ok because I'll be getting paid to fly!" I mean more like telling your fiance who you're living with, "Hey honey...ahh...I don't really have enough cash to cover rent AND bills this month, or actually eat for that matter, so can you cover the bills? Thanks!"

You may "enjoy this job more than anything else," but if you can't meet your basic needs in life because your job pays so poorly, then not much else matters. And let me tell you that small paycheck of yours goes flying out the door! In addition to your normal rent payment, if you're commuting you can expect to pay $150-$300 a month for a crashpad (depending on where your base is), another $40 a month in parking at the airport you commute from, food while sitting in the crashpad and not working (this adds up FAST) and a bunch of other stuff you couldn't possibly even begin to consider at this point. This job has a more expensive lifestyle than most, and if I were to simply quit my job today I'd start saving an easy $350-$400 a month in costs that are incurred commuting. Being that my rent payment back where I actually live is another $500, plus whatever other bills we have...well let's just say that $1,200 a month paycheck goes out the window FAST.

So let's say you can get beyond the pay at the regional level, then you have to deal with the schedule. Let's say you're a commuter, much like myself, and you took this job because you could commute. Not everybody has the ability to just pick up and move to a new part of the country when they change jobs, so that's an added benefit of this job. Now let's say, like me, you have to commute in the day before your trips (or again in my case, reserve so I can sit in a crashpad, more on that one later), so instead of having 12 days off per month, you now have 8. Now let's say you end up getting released late from your trip, now you're commuting home the day AFTER a trip. Still sound great? You'll be home about 6-7 days a month.

But everybody will tell you that it'll get better! It may, or it may not. You *could* end up in a situation like mine where I commute to reserve for a year, and the day after I hit second year pay I find out my company lost one of our contracts and BAM, you're in the list for a furlough! So now all the hard work you've put in, and all the sacrifice you've made with the low pay is for naught. But now because nobody else is hiring, you can't get a job ANYWHERE! You're forced out of aviation completely whether you like it or not, and you're back to that old IT job for the next couple of years.

This could happen to you, OR, you could manage to hit things at the right time. There are guys on this forum who upgraded in 2 years, have so many people below them at their respective companies the place would pretty much have to shut their doors for these pilots to lose their jobs, and are sitting pretty. Some spent 3 years at the regionals with good schedules and a quick upgrade to make it to the mainline companies quickly. Some of us were not so lucky.

It's a roll of the dice to tell you the truth. This career will, as far as I can see, treat you very well, or very, very, very poorly. To be truthful, I've given up more than I'm willing to give up any longer to be a pilot, and it's a real big kick in the face. Much like yourself, this is all I've ever wanted to do, but much like many people before me, all I want to do now is be able to pay rent on time and spend more time with my loved ones at home.

Whether this job is worth it or not depends on how lucky you get, how lucky you get, and how lucky you get. Me? I'm not a very lucky guy, and things haven't worked out. That's life, and I wouldn't give the experience up for anything, but it's a subjective answer.

Just understand you may make it big, you may get screwed as hard me, or you could possibly have it worse.
John articulates like an American Badass :bandit:

I chose not to jump in to the hiring frenzy this past year, even though I was "qualified" per the low minimums that we have seen.

My choice was based entirely on my family. I have a wife and daughter and another one on the way. I chose to be home as much as possible, at least until my kids are school aged. I make a little more than a regional FO, not much more; but that is working two flying jobs, and another non flying one occasionally.

My point is that there are lots of pilot jobs outside of the airlines and I think a lot of people get tunnel vision in this business. I may still chose to go to an airline at some point, but for the time being I really enjoy what I do and I get to be home almost every night. For my personal set of priorities, that is what is important.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
well let's just say that $1,200 a month paycheck goes out the window FAST.
How are you only taking in $1200? Your first year pay is better then our first year pay AND your guarantee is better, and I made a bit more then that each month.

I'm not saying an extra $400 would solve every body's problem, but it helps.
 

High_Alpha

Well-Known Member
Well said, all!

Flying is a poor choice of a career, when evaluated objectively. Pay, schedule, commuting, lack of stability...bad.

However, if it is your dream and your passion (and it isn't going to cause people you're responsible for to go hungry) then it'd be a nice thing to know you've followed your dream, regardless of where you end up.

I'm kinda with Airdale, in that I'm not sure I'll be in this business in the long run, but I'm glad I gave it a whirl. And for what it's worth, while the job sure can get old, the view never has.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
How are you only taking in $1200? Your first year pay is better then our first year pay AND your guarantee is better, and I made a bit more then that each month.

I'm not saying an extra $400 would solve every body's problem, but it helps.
Did you fly?

I don't think the 'train is flying much, so no per diem. Definitely no chance of breaking guarantee.
 

mikecweb

Well-Known Member
I'm probably considered lucky by most.
If you get in this industry and are willing to move about and make some sacrifices you can be successful.
I wouldn't try to commute cross country.
 

jtrain609

Uniting the black vote.
How are you only taking in $1200? Your first year pay is better then our first year pay AND your guarantee is better, and I made a bit more then that each month.

I'm not saying an extra $400 would solve every body's problem, but it helps.
I don't even think it's that much, to tell you the truth. I don't have a pay stub in front of me, but each pay check with min guarantee is $532 after taxes, medical, dental, vision, 401K, blah blah blah.
 

jtrain609

Uniting the black vote.
I'm probably considered lucky by most.
If you get in this industry and are willing to move about and make some sacrifices you can be successful.
I wouldn't try to commute cross country.
True dat.

If I had stayed at Amflight I would be in the Metro right now, probably based in Salt Lake City finally and making probably about the same amount of money as a second year pilot where I'm at now. I'd have a type, be building turbine PIC and have a lot more stability.

But I'd never sleep, I'm convinced I'd fall asleep and run a plane into a mountain and most importantly, there's no way me and Em would have gotten back together.

As usual, life is a set of compromises.
 

3green

Well-Known Member
Flying is a poor choice of a career, when evaluated objectively. Pay, schedule, commuting, lack of stability...bad.

However, if it is your dream and your passion (and it isn't going to cause people you're responsible for to go hungry) then it'd be a nice thing to know you've followed your dream, regardless of where you end up.

I'm kinda with Airdale, in that I'm not sure I'll be in this business in the long run, but I'm glad I gave it a whirl. And for what it's worth, while the job sure can get old, the view never has.
And this is exactly why I made the jump. The job blows as a career, but everyone has to try it. No matter what happens, you'll always be able to say I looked out at FL370 and knew I was at the helm streaking across the sky!
 

KLB

Well-Known Member
I'm probably considered lucky by most.
If you get in this industry and are willing to move about and make some sacrifices you can be successful.
I wouldn't try to commute cross country.

I'm in the same boat as you. I might be away from the crib a lot more than you though. :)
 

KLB

Well-Known Member
I don't even know what my crib is anymore.
I'm "home" almost every night.
But I haven't been home in almost 6 months.
We're singing the same song then. I pay half of the rent and I've only seen the place 3 days in the last three months.
 

inside0ut

Well-Known Member
I actually LOVE this job. I make decent money, I'm not out on a Med Cruise for 6 months, I don't have to stand a balls watch every 4 days with a rotating weekend for the duty schedule, I don't have to worry about my fingers and toes, I get to schedule my life around my family, I am home on average 17 days a month, I no longer have to worry about how bad that asbestos that I just knocked off the ceiling was for me, I don't have to work at wal-mart, (lol I could go on..) and I work with awesome people and fly awesome equipment.

I definitely think it was worth the time and effort. I don't think I would be happy doing anything else with my life. Sure I wish I got paid more but who doesn't?

But this was definitely worth the wait for me.

I say do what will make you happy. The only person who can tell you that is yourself. Ask 10 people, you will get 10 opinions. They don't have to live your life, YOU do. Look into it, get all the info in hard numbers and see if it will work for you.

And have fun along the way!
 

slushie

C56X ATP CFII MEI
I've been reading all of the "woe is us" splattered across the internet lately. It kinda sucks because all this happened at the point that I am ready to move up to "real" flying. Boohoo for me. But I am really not deterred. And, trust me John, I make less than you right now. :)

Long story short, I am HAPPY to see so many people throwing in the towel, because that makes it just a little better for those of us who are ready to keep at it for the next two years or so. Even if I am only flying 10 hours a month in a single...I will be ready when things turn around.

Sorry if I lost my altruism, but hedonism has kicked in.

You guys do what you need to do, but I know how to make it through hard times, because...well, it's been "hard times" since I started flying six years ago.

To the OP: consider that the negative responses in this thread are a little weighted by the times, and it's not quite that bad if you're doing what you want to do.
 
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