Real Answers from Real Pilots

Airline pilot vs cargo pilot

(Mendgy moise) #1

I was looking at the pay scale of airline pilots and cargo pilot and I wanted to know what is the difference between regional and cargo pilots And why cargo pilits seem to make more than regional pilots?



Regional pilots fly small airlines for companies that contract out to the major airlines to be their “express” carriers. For example, ExpressJet pilots fly 50 seat regional jets under the name “United Express”. These positions typically have lower pay rates because they are considered the entry point into the industry.

Cargo airlines like FedEx and UPS fly very large airplanes and are very desirable places to work. These jobs are on par or above major airline pay rates. Because of the size of the equipment, the revenue the pilots produce and the experience they bring with them they are paid very well.


(Charles) #3

Hey Chris,

Another question regarding to that, what are some differences between a cargo carrier and a major airline in terms of working environment? since a cargo delivers goods and packages instead of people?




Cargo pilots work under a slightly different set of FAA rules that do not afford them as much rest as we get. Beyond that cargo pilots tend to work at night a lot and are of course at cargo terminals instead of passenger terminals. Once the airplane lifts off the only real difference is the lack of flight attendants and passengers to deal with, although airline pilots are not too often concerned with such things anyways. Being a cargo pilot is certainly not a glamorous as being an airline pilot, but it can be a great career that offers some unique opportunities.




To add to that I have many friends who fly cargo. Another big factor is most cargo routes take you away from home for longer stretches of time (up to 17 days) but they generally get bigger blocks off as well.