We all know what the best parts of the job are, in your opinion what are some of the worst parts of the job/industry?
To me the only real negative is being on the road and gone from home a considerable amount of time. That being said, airline pilots have more days off per month that just about every other job out there, so it all balances out.
That being said, I really don’t have any complaints. I enjoy my job, feel that I am compensated appropriately, and have great benefits. There just isn’t much to complain about.
I want to preface this by saying I don’t think there are any “worse” parts of the job as I believe I have the greatest job on Earth. This is not a pitch, the reason I can say this is because I’ve done a number of other jobs before making the decision to become a pilot. While there’s no way of enforcing it I honestly believe that before becoming a pilot you should have to work some other normal job simply to give you a point of reference. It cracks me up when I hear guys complain about the early report time and how sucky this job is while I’m watching some guy making minimum wage who’s in the freezing cold or blistering heat throwing bags while we’re in our cozy air conditioned cockpit. That said I’ll give you the most common complaints I hear:
The commute. one of the best things about being a pilot is the fact you can literally live ANYWHERE in the world (I just flew with a guy who commutes from SYD). BUT, if you chose to live where you like then I’m sorry but you need to figure out how to get to work. Have to take 3 flights? Well again that’s YOUR decision. Not to be harsh but commuting is a choice and I do understand it’s not always easy to uproot your family and life BUT I also don’t know any other job that will allow you to do so.
Pay. Pilots these days are making a quite a bit of money. Regional first year is 2-3X what it was and top Capts at Majors will make $400k but it’s never enough. What drives me crazy is ALL the salaries are available for view to everyone. When you accept a job that pays $38hr first year you know that’s what you’re getting paid. Again you made the choice so why are you complaining?
Being on the road away from home. Again you wanted to be a pilot. If you want to be home every night DON’T go to United or Delta stay at Silver Wings. But I want to fly a big airplane and see the world! Well until we perfect time travel if you want to fly to Narita you won’t be home for dinner.
Flying redeyes, all night, backside of the clock. Personally this is my biggest gripe BUT again my choice. I bid the Airbus, the Airbus goes to Asia, that means flying back at night. While I hate it I chose it so no right to complain.
Working holidays/weekends. The airlines operate 24/7/365. While people are sitting down to eat their thanksgiving dinner (and some senior guys are as well) many of us are flying to/from the places we brought them. I’ll admit this can be kinda sucky it goes with the territory. Most of us will (with the love and support of our families) make it work. Celebrate in the am, the pm next day etc. Besides I love leftovers
I think I hit the highlights. I’m sorry again if I seem somewhat intolerant but everything on the list falls into “First World” problems. I don’t want to get too heavy but there are MANY people in the world who suffer HORRIBLE jobs and would literally sell their souls to be where I am. Complaining about the food in First Class seems somewhat disrespectful.
Thanks for the quick and detailed reply Adam! You’re absolutely right in the fact that all of these are first world problems. What is your opinion on lack of job security, furloughs and bankruptcies? This is a downside quite unique to the aviation industry
True! The large amount of days off are extremely attractive to me. It’s good to see that you keep a positive outlook on things. However I’m sure the steps to get where you are now aren’t nearly as “neat”, correct? Thanks for the reply Chris
I didn’t address those as I don’t consider those to be part of the job but more part of the industry. While aviation may be a little more volatile than some other industries, I disagree that it’s unique to ours. I know people from bankers to construction workers who’ve been laid off during the course of their careers. As technology advances many industries are affected in negative ways. When I was a kid Polaroid and Kodak were huge, now my kids never heard of either. While there are no guarantees, the airlines are doing quite well and consolidations have added some element of security. But if job security is your top concern there are many other careers that do offer more stability. The US Postal service is hiring but I have a nicer uniform and a much better view