The answer to this question won’t change what I’m doing because I’m excited to fly but after talking with some guys at the regionals how hard is the first year. I know the pay has increased but are you really gone more than you would normally be? What is life like the first 6 months, 1 year -3 years at regional?
With many of the regionals offering starting pay between $40k and $06k per year I would not say that the first year is hard at all. There was a time when it was hard, Adam and I survived that, but now things are really looking up.
Pilots are gone a lot no matter how long they have been at an airline, that is just the nature of the industry. While you will probably get a few more days off as your seniority increases, you will still be gone a good chunk of the month.
As Chris said pay wise things have improved greatly. As for the rest, I’m not trying to be vague but there really is no answer to your question. There are so many variables as far as schedules, bases, equipment and the relationships your airline has with the Majors it supports you really won’t know until you’re in it. That all said I have to say how hard it is depends greatly on YOUR attitude. I LOVE MY JOB and love flying airplanes. I’ve done the 9-5, construction, owned restaurants and they all are pretty crappy compared to getting paid to fly airplanes. Even with my salary being a fraction of what the new guys are getting I never found it hard at all. It never ceases to amaze me I fly with pilots who believe they have the greatest job on Earth (like me) and others who swear it’s one step away from slavery. It’s up to you how hard it will be.