Real Answers from Real Pilots

July 2016 Schedule



While we stayed at pretty decent hotels at the regional I worked for, we stay at much better hotels at my current airline. I personally am a fan of the fancy hotels. We typically stay in Marriotts, Hiltons and Westins


(Donovan ) #63

Hey chirs your schedules help greatly in giving an idea of the pilot life. I was wondering how many days u spend at home conpared to how many days u work. For example if you lived by ewr everytime you flew there for the night could u go home and go back to the airport in the morning to make the flight



Your question really goes to the subject of commuting. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve never commuted as a pilot meaning when I’m off, I’m home and can enjoy all my days off. Now Chris commutes so he can give you a better idea of how many days he loses by commuting. One fun fact, when I was based in EWR and had the occasional EWR overnight I generally didn’t go home simply because the overnight was so short it was easier to take the hotel room, save the drive and get more rest.




You answered your own question there. Yes, if I lived near EWR, I would be home every night before a trip starts the next day. As I chose to commute, I usually have to go up the night before.


(bob saggot) #66

Is it possible, with seniority, to get a schedule that puts you home every night or every other night on a regular basis? Do you guys get to bid on specific cities on specific dates?



First of all much of that depends on the airline and the operation you work for. You can be seniority #1 but if you’re on an airplane or at a base that only does 3 and 4 day trips then no you can’t. I fly Interisland and we have no overnights at all so regardless of seniority I’m home every night. That said I’m not aware of any other Major airline in the country with an operation with no overnights. If that’s your desire than you need to get familiar with the various airlines and the types of trips they fly and on what equipment. Many do have 2 day trips where you’d only be gone for a day but then seniority will be an issue until you can hold those trips and that could be years. Also know that the big money goes with the BIG airplanes and they generally go further and stay away longer.

When it comes to bidding you can literally bid on ANYTHING you like. Days, cities, crew, departure/arrival times, layovers, deadheads, you name it. Whether you get it or not is a whole other issue.




With the exception of Hawaiian Airlines, not it is not possible to be home every night or even anywhere close to that. Airline pilots by definition travel the world and that means nights in hotels. Most of our trips are three and four day trips, so even with seniority it would be very hard to be home even every other night.


(Nathan Harrison ) #69

I’m new to the site and am looking into the industry as a new career path. I have a two part question.

  1. I’ve heard that it’s hard to start out in the industry if you’re over 30 years old. As nobody will want to hire them. This may be an issue as I’ll be 29 in a couple of months. Have you heard this? Is there any major truth to it?

  2. I’ve been doing research into a Regional Arline called Air Wisconsin. Have you heard of them? If so, would you recommend them? Their recruitment information states as a new 1st officer you would earn $36 an hour. Yet they also claim you would make a minimum of $260k in your first 3 years. Are there other ways a pilot can/will earn money via bonuses or per diem?



Welcome to the forums, thanks for your questions.

  1. There is absolutely no truth to this. There was a time when there was, but that ship sailed several decades ago. Assuming you complete training, have a good record, etc, you should not have any difficulty being hired at an airline. In fact, I believe I read somewhere that the average age of a typical new hire airline pilot is 35.

Now where your age will impact you is career advancement. You are not old, but you certainly are not on the young side either. There are pilots that get hired at major airlines in their mid twenties, they will end up being incredibly senior at their airlines. You will probably do pretty well, but you could never have the seniority of somebody who was hired when they were 26.

  1. Air Wisconsin is a fine regional. Honestly these day most of the regionals are pretty good as the pilot shortage has forced them all to be so. Pilots do get per diem, there are also typically profit sharing bonuses, overtime pay, etc. I have to say though, $260k in the first three years of a regional seems like a bit of a stretch to me.



This is the breakdown of pay at Air Wisconsin. They do include insurance premiums as part of their compensation, I personally do not think that the value of company paid for benefits is part of your salary, so I would exclude those numbers.

(Nathan Harrison ) #73

Alright, I see what they’ve done now. They’ve listed the sign on bonus, 401k, and medical coverage as part of the pay for the 3 year period.
Thank you for the information, it is very helpful!

(Danielle Calnin) #74

I would like to add Allegiant Air to the two home based airlines out there.

(Eric Cogan) #75

I’ll add RyanAir to the list of airlines that can get you home each night as a pilot. You’ll have to move to Europe of course :wink: but the one Ryanair pilot I know actually loves his job and work-life balance. The pay was horrible last I checked but that was several years ago

(Logan O'Beirne) #76

I’m an 19 year old who has always dreamed of flying, but I also have aspirations of the family life…wife,kids,baseball games etc.
My question: is it possible to fly for an airline and also have a successful and nurturing family life?




That really depends on you. Most jobs involve some amount of travel, pilots being on the heavy side of that. While I do work eighteen days per month and am usually gone for those days, I am afforded twelve days (sometimes more) off per month that are completely free from any work responsibility. I find that this balances things out.

Take a look at our “Schedules” section as it will give you a very good idea of what our months look like.


(Tory) #78


I’ve gotten to know a senior captain at Horizon fairly well. We trained on the ERJ together and have flown on several other occasions. We talk a lot about family and quality of life. There’s one thing that he said that has stayed with me. He has two sons in their 20’s. They have both said to him on multiple occasions that they admire his profession, but they wish that he was home more often.

I think about that a lot when I consider starting a family of my own some day. I grew up with two parents that each coached me and my siblings’ sports teams and worked together to attend our games. Had one of them been an airline pilot that wouldn’t have been possible. They would not have been able to participate as much being gone half the month.

Airline pilots in the early stages of their careers don’t typically get to choose their aircraft, base, trips, etc. Makes it difficult to focus on other areas of one’s life when a pilot doesn’t have enough seniority to have any bidding power. If you’re lucky and patient, you may find yourself in a position to have your cake and eat it too, but the more likely scenario is the one you don’t want to hear.


(Logan O'Beirne) #79

Chris and Tory,

Thank you for your responses they are very helpful! I’ve heard that the career is what you make it. And especially being an airline pilot you are required to be away. But I’ve been thinking that there are several careers within piloting to go into such as flight instruction and flying for a private company.
Do you know of any other opportunities that a pilot could take part in to be around family?

Thank you!

Just for clarification, is the scenario I don’t want to hear not being able to have a great quality of family time and being an airline pilot?

Thank you!


(Tory) #80

Thank you for asking for clarification. I wasn’t trying to paint such a grim picture. You said it best. It is what you make of it. All I was trying to illude to was that being away and not having control over your schedule puts constraints on your ability to be available for your family. On the plus side, when you’re home, you’re home. You had mentioned baseball games and I envisioned my past which I described above. I was just trying to give you a comparison.

Flight instruction could provide you with the lifestyle you described. If you’re referring to flight instruction in general aviation aircraft I’m afraid you’ll find that it barely pays the bills.

Private flying is too general of a term. There are so many different types of private flying, some scheduled, some on demand. Can’t say I have any specific suggestions to give you in that regard. That will be something that you’ll need to investigate. I suggest networking while you obtain your ratings and see if you find something that fits.

Same with small cargo airlines. The smaller cargo airline jobs vary in terms of schedule and routes, but you can make a liveable salary flying cargo if you find the right company.

While you’re searching, I wouldn’t keep the possibility of becoming an airline pilot off the table. It may be the right fit when you have the qualifications.