Professional commercial pilots undergo hours upon hours of training and must have a mandated minimum number of hours in flight before they can be considered for commercial pilot positions. These intelligent individuals spend years of their lives learning to keep the public safe by keeping their plane safely in the air.
There is a variety of positions available and a commercial pilot salary is dependent on the aircraft he or she flies, the company he or she flies for, and the seniority within the organization. Salary for pilots makes the news each time a regional, national or international airline wants to roll back the agreed to plan.
Most of the media attention is negative; however, there are lifelong pilots that enjoy health six figure salaries.
Pilots, first and foremost must have a passion for travel, and for flying. Their career path is likely to keep them on the road a majority of their time while either in the air, or during layovers. Of course, the prized, and best paying commercial pilot positions are for long-international flights with major airlines.
This is the romance of the industry; jetting off to spectacular world destinations like Hawaii, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Munich, Sydney, and Buenos Aires. These and other destinations are the most coveted within the industry and require substantial seniority, a flawless flight safety record and working for an international airline carrier.
These positions also, and obviously, require these commercial pilots to be away from home for extended periods of time. However, someone with a love for flying and a passion for experiencing the world will see destinations most only dream of. These pilots, depending on the level of their seniority often enjoy a commercial pilot salary of upwards of $200,000.
Commercial pilots that fly longer routes within the borders of the United States, for example East coast to West coast, and the return, also require significant overnights away from home. While they still enjoy a commercial pilot salary, depending on seniority, position, and airline, in the low six figures, travel abroad will have to be conducted on their personal time.
One of the benefits of being a pilot is the ability to travel to fantastic destinations for little or no cost. Many airlines offer substantial discounts of fares to members of the pilot’s immediate family as well.
Most pilots in today’s world fly shorter flights including commuter type flights or flights from smaller regional airports to larger international hubs. An example of commuter flights is the Boston to Washington DC or San Francisco to Los Angeles. These short flights may or may not require pilots to spend nights and weekends away from home.
In addition, there are routes that focus on getting passengers from smaller airport to larger ones to connect to other flights. An example of this would be flights from Colorado Springs to Denver, Albuquerque to Phoenix, or Buffalo to LaGuardia.
Commercial pilots for these types of flights do not typically have the seniority or experience as flight routes requiring longer times in air. As a result, the salary is significantly less. National and regional airlines vary vastly too in their pay scales; most often these types of shorter routes offer a commercial pilot salary in the $50,000 to $90,000 range depending on airline, seniority, and position.
Commercial Pilot Salary For Charters And Freight Carriers
Commercial pilots are needed not only for airline passenger flights, but also for freight carriers and charter flight businesses. Some of the larger international freight carriers including FedEx and others will offer a commercial pilot salary that is competitive with passenger airline salaries on similar routes.
As with all piloting positions, the key factors in determining an airline pilots salary is the size of business they work for, the position, the route, the type of aircraft being flown, and the seniority within the organization. Within freight airline operation organizations there are countless categories for commercial pilot salaries.
The Second Officer, the First Officer, and the Captain are paid at vastly different rates. Depending on the aircraft and the route, Second Officers and First Officers can make anywhere from $40.00 an hour up to $150.00 an hour. Captains on the other hand have the most experience and seniority enjoy much higher hourly figures that range from $175.00 to over $250.00 an hour. It is important to note that pilots that are paid based on hours are for flight time only.
If they aren’t in the air, they aren’t earning money. The typical number of hours that pilots fly in a given year is in the range of 800-1,200 hours; unlike most full-time employed individuals who work 2,080 hours each year in the United States.
Therefore, while the hourly figure sounds extraordinary, remember they are working less hours and the total figure for a commercial pilot salary is often less than people can imagine.
Educational backgrounds also factor into the salary for pilots. There are many pilot and flight training schools that have outstanding reputations, but the single best and most profitable option is learning to fly through one of the United States military academies. Military academies provide their students with the highest levels of education; require discipline, healthy bodies and minds, and a free education in return for a set period of military service.
Once your military commitment is finished and with your stellar flight record, you will be highly sought after by many airlines and freight companies and often start at a higher airline pilots salary than your co-workers. Of course, if you are over the age of 16 and have not yet applied for a position within one of the highly competitive military academies, you will have to choose training through a private educational program.
An airline pilot salary is based on a variety of factors including education, experience, flight record, number of hours in flight, the organization flown for, seniority within the organization, the route routinely flown, and the type of plane.
The Commercial pilot salary is something of myth and legend. Because pilots are typically only paid while the plane is actually in flight, the overall airline pilot salary is much less than most people imagine. It is still a fabulous career for individuals that love to fly and explore.