Real Answers from Real Pilots

Pay?

Happy New Years Folks!,
I was just wanting a better understanding on how the regionals pay.

I understand the difference between “reserves and line”, however I just want to make sure I’m understanding the pay scale correctly.

For an example, envoy currently offering first officers $38 per hour, With a reserve guarantee of maybe 60-70 hours per month.

With that saying does that means you can only earn $2,660 a month considering its 70 hours a month guarantee?

Thanks sorry if it doesn’t make sense…

Earv,

Yes, you are correct. When you are on reserve initially, you will be making $2660/mo assuming those are the correct number. If you fly during your reserve time, you will also be making per diem, which is usually around $1.50-$2.00 per hour that you are away from base.

The minimum reserve guarantee is definitely something that you want to take into consideration when you choose a company to fly for.

Yarden

Once I fly a line will that amount change dramatically?

Earv,

One of the benefits of having a line is you can bid for a “fat” line with more flying and also pickup trips from opentime. Instead of only making the min 70hrs you can fly up to 100hrs a month and yes that extra 30hrs can make a big difference.

Adam

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@Adam thanks for the Insite. Due to the first year minimum pay for first officers, is that the reason why the airlines have these sign on bonuses. Envoy Guarnteed min 60k your first year, but I just find that hard to believe with only working 70 hours a month. You know? :thinking: Lol

Earv,

First off I don’t see Envoy (or anyone else) GUARANTEEING $60k? I just visited their site and I see words like “up to”, “as much as” and “nearly”. I don’t know what Envoy’s min guarantee is but if it’s 70hrs x $38 x 12 that’ll earn you around NEARLY $32k + the “up to” $21,200 signing bonus (if you don’t take the Tuition Reimbursement) gets you $53k first year on min guarantee which is actually fantastic. That’s double what Regional first year pay was just a few years ago. Again it’s supply and demand and this is unprecedented in the industry. Now as I said if you can get off reserve fast (say 6mos which is realistic), get a fat line and fly as much as possible (100hrs) that would be an extra $6800 so there’s your $60k.

Adam

@Adam Thanks I see!! Do you think in the future the pay will get better?

Earv,

Honestly I never thought it would get this high so who knows? While we’d all obviously like to make as much as possible but don’t forget the airlines (Regionals included) are first and foremost businesses and businesses need to make money. Regionals get paid by their Major partners for flying their routes. They pay a contract amount which obviously is less than the Major is getting because they’re actually selling tickets (the Regionals are not). The contracts typically goes to the lowest bidder. When I was at ExpressJet we were the highest paid Regional for some time which was great. Problem is Republic came in with lower rates and we started losing flying. The highest paid Regional pilots soon found themselves getting furloughed and downgraded due to the loss of flying. There’s only so much a Major will pay a Regional before it becomes cheaper to fly the route themselves. That said again I never thought it would get this high sooooo…

Adam

makes sense! Another thing I don’t understand but I see a lot is “per diem” please explain whats that for, and how it works. Sorry for all the questions lol

Earv,

Per diem is a small stipend (usually from $1-3) paid hourly to pilots to cover food expenses. While the hourly amount is low, the nice thing is unlike flight time which is only paid from when the aircraft pushes and parks, per diem is paid from your “show time” (time you’re scheduled to start) till you finish the trip around the clock. So let’s say I start a 4 day trip at 0900 am on Mon. and finish at 0900 Thurs am (just to use round numbers). That means I’ve been on the clock 72hrs at say $1.50, that’s an extra $108. Do 5 of those trips in a month and that’s an extra $540 a month or $6480 a year. Not spectacular but better than a poke in the eye :slight_smile:

Adam

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i see!!!

Question! If pilots only get paid for “flight time” what happens while they are waiting at the terminal due to an delay or maybe even a cancelation?

You’re spending your per diem on a footlong from Subway :slight_smile:

Adam

4 Likes

Ahaha lol. But I actually ment what happens to the pay for that leg?

Earv,

I wasn’t joking (well maybe a little) but as I said pilots get paid FLIGHT TIME only (btw, different airlines will define flight time differently. Some say the clock starts when the last door closes, then opens for a flight, some when the aircraft “moves”, etc. Regardless if you’re not buckled into your seat in the cockpit and/or the doors aren’t closed, you’re not getting paid). So if you’re flight is delayed 1hr, 2 hrs, 14 hrs whatever, it doesn’t matter, you’re not getting paid if you ain’t flying. However, most airlines do have “pay protection” for cancelled or rescheduled flight so if your flight is cancelled or rescheduled (AND it’s on your bid, not if you’re reserve) you will get paid for that flight.

Adam

Oh wow lol seems really interesting!!! Thanks again for all the Insite

So a question that kind of relates. Is crew schedualing in charge of making sure you guys are legal to fly? (Hours Wise) or is that something the pilots are responsible for?

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Good question Tucker,

Crew scheduling does in fact monitor pilot’s flight time, days on, rest etc and they have really nice computers to keep track and alert you if you’re going to turn into a pumpkin or violate an FAR. In my experience they do an excellent job keeping you legal, BUT (and this is a BIG but) YOU as the pilot are ultimately responsible for keeping YOURSELF legal (and of course safe. * the airline does share responsibility to some extent). Soooo if they drop the ball it is YOU, that has violated a reg and YOU that may find yourself having a unpleasant conversation with your local FAA inspector.

Now this is really getting into the future and falls into the category of “stuff you don’t need to know for a while” but I believe conceptually it’s good for all aspiring pilots. Back in the day the FAA, NTSB and the airlines all believed the best way to “fix” a pilot who’s done something wrong is to punish/violate the pilot. But anyone who has children knows if all you do is punish them all you’re going to do is convince them that the best thing they can do is try and hide everything they do from you for fear of getting in hot water. That’s not how you improve or educate. They also realized that there’s probably ALOT of stuff going on in cockpits that might be beneficial to other pilots that they’ll never hear about because everyone’s afraid to speak up. So in their infinite wisdom (not being sarcastic) they created the ASAP program (Aviation Action Safety Program. This btw is also open to maintenance, dispatchers and ATC controllers). The ASAP program is a voluntary program and basically it says if you’ve done something wrong and YOU report the FAA will give you a pass (there is of course fine print, exclusions for intentional acts and caveats). So let’s say Crew Scheduling doesn’t alert you that you’ve exceeded your duty time and you didn’t catch it either but find out after, you can submit an ASAP report and chances are you’ll be all good. Most cases they say no worries we understand, the worst they may recommend some training to make sure you understand the importance of flight duty times. Kinda cool in my opinion.

Adam

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Are the current wages regionals paying enough to survive by (life comfortably) until going to the majors? I mean Im no where ready to apply for a regional, I’m just looking down the line when I’m able to (2018 or 2019), will I be able to make my student loan payment and other needs. And especially being able to take care other needed expenses like hotels if you are commuter pilot.

Earv,

In my mind there’s a HUGE difference between surviving and living comfortably. I also have no way of knowing what your expenses are and/or what you consider surviving or living comfortably? What I do know is virtually every pilot in this country started at a Regional or commuter and most of us did it at a time when the salaries were literally a fraction of what they are now. Obviously different people have different situations and some obviously had to sacrifice more than others. Most make it work, some decide they can’t. You’ve done some research, you see what the salaries are (it’s not classified information), only you know if you can live on those numbers or not?

Adam

Earv,

When I worked for a regional (ExpressJet) the wages were much lower than they are today. I was able to survive and pay my bills just fine but it was certainly tight for me. With wages now being more than double what I made I think you will be fine, as long as your expenses are reasonable.

Chris