I've written about this topic before but in light of the upcoming tentative agreement voting window closing today at 10 EST, why not post another about the real wages of the airline pilot. In fact, I wrote a few which you can find here. My Schedule / Rest and Regulations At my airline1, we are guaranteed 75 hours a month at rates of $43.59 an hour for first officer and $74.89 an hour for captain. My first year here, I made $19.02 an hour and didn't even break the poverty level for a family of 3 let alone barely rise above the family of two2. Not to mention that my loan took 70% of my paycheck too but yes, I did chose this profession3. I didn't know what I was in for either but ignorance was / is bliss.
A portrait of these hourly pay scales becomes even more pathetic when you consider that regional airline pilots, who are paid only from the time the airline leaves the gate to the time it arrives at the destination, only are on the clock on average about 21.5 hours per week.
For a first-year co-pilot at Republic Airlines, for example, that translates into gross weekly pay of a mere $495 per week.
For a pilot with 10 years’ experience at SkyWest, the weekly gross paycheck might be around $1,312.
But, then you have to consider that these wages don’t nearly reflect the hours that regional airline co-pilots and pilots have to put into the job.
Although they may only be on the clock 21.5 hours per week or 85 hours per month,” pilots typically are away from base, and from their families, about 240 to 300 hours per month (or about 60 to 75 hours a week),” according to the Airline Pilots Association.
For the lowest paid co-pilot on Mesa Airlines earning about $22 per hour, this imbalance works out to $6.80 an hour for a 60-hour work week.
- On average, I personally safely fly 150 people a day four times a week. Just yesterday, this airline recorded over 2206 departures second to Southwest! ↩
- $17,170 for 3 / $13,690 for 2 via http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/07poverty.shtml/ ↩
- Just to clarify, I am a 7th year commercial airline pilot who recently made captain. The quality of life on a reserve schedule is a whole other topic. ↩