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Response to Demobrat (Reply #51)

Sun Apr 11, 2021, 04:34 AM

52. "That's shocking" is what I said too

You really have to love what you do, or be exceedingly patient, to consider becoming a regional airline pilot.

Aviation consultant Kit Darby says regional airline co-pilots and pilots, in the lower ranks, at least, donít make a living wage.

In fact, the mechanic at your local gas station, or even the taxi driver who drives along the streets of your town, sometimes taking trips of a longer duration than regional flights, may be pulling down more cash per hour than the bottom rungs of first officers, i.e. co-pilots, at regional airlines.

Most view their service on regional airlines as an apprenticeship or stepping-stone to a big payday at mainline airlines. The exception is the top ranks of the regional airline pilots, where captains with 15 yearsí experience can earn $100,000 to $110,000 per year, Darby says.


The next time youíre flying in an airplane consider this: The person operating the aircraft might not be making much more than the person who made the Egg McMuffin you ate for breakfast.

Thatís right. According to the Wall Street Journal, new airline pilots rank among the lowest-paid workers in the country, with some regional pilots earning as little as $15,000 per year.

Thatís horrifying for a number of obvious reasons. For one, $15,000 ó or even $22,400 a year, the starting salary for pilots at 14 regional airlines ó is lower than the federal poverty line for a family of four in the U.S.

Itís also startling because of the extraordinary price of becoming a pilot in the first place. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, airline pilots usually need a bachelorís degree, a pilotís license, and certification that requires hundreds of hours of flight training. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the cost of training flights alone can set you back more than $100,000.

No wonder thereís a shortage of pilots.


It's anecdotal, but I have also heard tales of pilots living in absolutely cramped conditions, squalor even, with 8-12 other pilots in apartments not meant for 8-12 people when they're all not working.

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