What’s the Annual Salary of an Airline Pilot
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What’s the Annual Salary of an Airline Pilot

August 26, 2019

What is the pilot pay for an international airline pilot at a US carrier when you find out what a senior captain makes you may be like Sweet pea geez Coming up 963 heavy sliding one hundred zero maintain one zero ten thousand probably what he left it clear for takeoff Sometimes when people ask you what do you do for a living what they really want to know is how much money do you make? in this video I’m gonna talk about the range of pay For being a regional pilot all the way up to being a senior captain at a legacy carrier And if you don’t know me, my name is Kelsey. I’m a 747 pilot This channel is all about aviation consider subscribing Let’s get into it so the rule of thumb When it comes to what your annual pay scale is gonna be as a pilot is gonna be whatever your hourly rate is Just add three zeros to the back of that. So to give you an idea if your hourly pay rate is $40 an hour Generally speaking. You’re gonna make about 40,000 a year. Now. The other thing to keep in mind is depending on what care you’re at You’re gonna have a daily minimum and that’s gonna range between your carriers So, for example, you’re gonna get paid for four hours no matter how much you fly So in that day, maybe you only flight two hours, but you’re gonna get paid for four hours and there’s other days You’re gonna fly. Let’s say six hours and you’ll get paid for six hours So the minimum daily Guarantee is no matter how much you fly or while you’re out on a trip If you’re out on a trip no matter if you fly one hour or four hours You’re gonna always at least get four hours of pay If you go above that, then you’ll get above that pay So sometimes what you’ll have is pilots are looking at just the hourly pay rate and that is a factor Of course to get an idea of what it is you’re gonna be making however, there’s a lot of other ways that money can be made once you get to the airlines that Daily minimum is one of those ways. Another thing I want to address is the first year pay at most carriers whether it be a regional or Legacy carrier and your legacy carriers are gonna be your larger airlines, you know American FedEx UPS United Delta those larger carriers that have thousands and thousands of pilots Generally speaking that first year pay is going to be a lot less than what the rest of the pink scale is gonna be that’s because the airlines are incurring a lot of expense and Training you and they’re paying you to be studying and they’re paying you to be in the simulator and learn everything. So they Don’t want to pay you in salary. Is that fair? No No No, no, no, no no no hell no, no no a Lot of guys don’t think that that’s fair, but that’s the current world that we live in so, there you go So when I talk about pay coming up what I’m gonna be addressing is 2nd year pay so that way we can kind of have a better feel for what you can kind of expect from that point on right now your regional carriers your second year pay is gonna range somewhere between Thirty eight to fifty eight dollars an hour roughly and that again is gonna vary on different Airlines have different faces and things like that and in a later video. I’ll talk about how to choose What regional would be the best fit for you but to give you an idea right now? You’re looking at thirty eight to fifty eight debts as a first officer or copilot you’re looking at roughly around that range Plus in some some regionals are doing bonuses and things like that and and I talked about that in that pilot shortage video But that gives you an idea as far as what the pay is right now at the regionals at the regionals roughly you’re going to be looking at three to five percent of 401k contribution and what that money is is basically free money that the airlines will give you as part of a retirement plan that Is usually based off that you stay for several years and a few other factors and you can get a range But roughly you’re looking at three to five percent. Some of them are up to ten to twelve percent after so many years of service So there’s a few other factors of what your total compensation is going to end up being once you’re at the regionals But roughly you’re looking at three five percent in some cases ten to twelve percent depending on the years of service that you’ve been there now in your low-cost carrier market your spirit and JetBlue and some consider Southwest a bit of a low-cost carrier Some some consider the low-cost carriers to be a stepping stone to get to a legacy More and more those low-cost carriers are trying to make themselves a final destination for a lot of pilots Especially a company like Southwest they really want you if you go there to stay there that’s obviously their their end goal and That’s reflected in their paying compensation and How they treat their pilots the range of pay that you’re gonna see there as a first officer on second year pay that’s gonna range You know from about a hundred to one hundred and twenty dollars an hour, roughly so when you get to that next level in your career of going to let’s say a low-cost carrier if you don’t go medially to a legacy you’re gonna be roughly a hundred to one hundred and twenty an hour and you’re gonna have a lot more on the Compensation on your 401k generally in your 401k at low-cost carrier you’re looking at twelve to fifteen percent Direct contribution and what that means is without you putting any money into your retirement they’re gonna take 12 to 15 percent of the money that you made that year and Automatically give that to you as a bonus If you made a hundred thousand, you’re gonna get an extra ten thousand from the company now, you can’t do anything with that money It’s set aside for your retirement, but that’s still extra money. That’s yours so that gives you an idea of some extra money that you’re gonna get if you’re working there now on the majors or the legacies like we talked about earlier your your page is gonna go anywhere from 130 to 175 180 something like that when you get to second year pay So you’re talking about a huge range of pay when you’re looking at from a regional guy who could be making forty on Second year pay to a legacy guy who could make making 180 on on second year pay it’s a big difference as far as Where you start and where you end and then when you look at the captain’s there that guys that are the senior captains They’re making over $300 an hour. So I think some of them are up to 305 some are paying 320 an hour That’s a really big scale of where you could where you start from 38 to Three hundred and twenty dollars an hour. That’s a big difference in what what you’re gonna be making pay wise So there’s some guys out there that are making a lot more There’s captain’s that are making five hundred to six hundred thousand a year. How are they making that money? I’m listening. Okay, the way that guys are making all that extra money is by working on their days off so usually airlines are gonna pay a range between One hundred and fifty two hundred percent in some cases when they’re really desperate three hundred percent of your hourly rate So if you’re normally making $100 an hour, and they’re really desperate in some cases They’ll be paying you $300 an hour to do a normal regular flight that you would be operating on three hundred percent is not a common occurrence But I’ve seen it before usually what you’ll see is a hundred fifty percent or some variation of that on your pay There’s a bunch of other little tricks and things like that But that gives you an idea of how those pilots are making so much extra money So you’re talking four hundred to five hundred thousand a year. They’re working extra. They’re working above they’re Generally assigned schedules to pick up extra trips then get that extra money. I’m rich they’re not dead sexy Alright cruise that gives you an idea of what you can expect Once you get to the airlines when you get to the regionals and what it’s paying right now if you go to the legacies Obviously that path can be very quick or it can take a while depending on who you are in the comments section below Let me know the hourly rate you’d be happy with as a pilot I look forward to hearing from you until then keep the blue side up

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  1. As a B-52 aircraft commander in 1976 I made $16,000 a year, my father at that time was a department manager for a paper mill in the SE US….entry folks out of high school started at 20

  2. Will be interesting in the coming years to see how the hourly rates change given the cost to become a pilot has increased due to the increase in the number of hours required, and a high number of veteran pilots retiring causing fewer available pilots. I expect regionals to disappear or profitable regional routes to go to legacies, prices to go up, and a reduction in flights – possibly allowing foreign carriers to run US domestic.

  3. I think any Pay is good pay. At least your making some money, no matter what it is really. it falls under Managing your money correctly.

  4. I am a 49 y/o truck driver in Canada, I just got a job making CND$80000 a year, aviation has been always my dream. Question for everyone: Shall I start training for CPL at 49 years of age? I would be happy flying King Airs for a living. No ATPL ambitions here. 80k and flying is all I need. Please give your point of view, and be as honest as possible, roast me, or better….. be brutally honest.

  5. hello Kelsey i want to ask you some question about how can i become a pilot ?
    what things do i need to become a pilot ?
    what school i should go ?
    i really want to know and i really want to become a pilot

  6. Spent nine months with pilot an I discovered they don't make much because of required down time not flying so not getting paid. Second, when mechanic finished with airplane repairs, his company wanted him to fly "Test Flight" for safety. I thought that was not good for his future, as in, sorry about that left wing! An they really know two things: How to fly! An, how to party. Pilots that fly out of major city hub rent a party house together. They all have a refrigerator plus refrigerator/beer keg, pool table an Foos Ball!

  7. Great video. I just have one thing I’d like to say: 401k money isn’t just given. You do have to make a contribution. Usually, companies have a percentage they’ll match, so it is in essence free money, of course. But you have to put money in to get the money. Say for example in your situation the company has a 10% match rule at a 100%. That means that if you contribute 10% of your salary to your 401k, the company will match that at a 100%, which btw is BOMB. That’s awesome. Most companies do not offer that!

  8. I would love to have a job as a passenger pilot even if they paid me 10 dollars an hour already thanks to God got to travel the entire USA now I would love to get to see new countries

  9. How much extra do you get paid when you lose all your hair because of a job ? Do you get bonus pay for having a pencil neck too?

  10. Your formula is wrong! If yoy make 40 and hour it would be 40 times 2 then add 3 zeros! 40 an hour would be 80 grand a year! I like your videos!

  11. I've been in aviation, it's not a dream life and there is frankly no money to be made in it . It's a glorified taxi driver job . What many pilots won't tell you are a pilots costs to stay in the game of employment . Frequency of tests and examination etc as dictated by ICAO ( UN). These requirements often costs $10s of thousands that comes out of your saved up salary. By the time you work it out coupled with the red tape , stress expenses etc , you are better off owning a green grocer store in a nice neighbourhood , making more money without the fake glory of a pilots life !!!

  12. What about all the hours waiting in hotels and in airports, group time and flight prep time and time in travel to work. ?

    And how much did you have to pay the airline to work there ?

  13. I get €60 an hour for teaching drums. Average 70 hours a week and never have to leave the studio take my own holidays and I am not responsible for hundreds of lives, it seems unfair to pilots that they are paid less than politicians and drummers.

  14. I use to work with a pilot in construction. He said his daddy would cut the wood and would have to pile it.

  15. High skill , lots of responsibility, It is a tough job . Several of my neighbors are commercial pilots flying the heavies.

  16. I've heard many pilot's are poorly paid and can't even afford a hotel room while traveling through Airports. Now I'm not sure who to believe.

  17. I have a 13 year old daughter who has been obsessed with air planes and flying since she took her first trip on a plane when she was 2. Now she wants to be a pilot. Do you have any suggestions as to how to prepare for it at this age and the best route to take to that goal? Perhaps you can make a video about this topic or if you have already made one give me a link so I can share it with her would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your videos and looking forward to more of them.

  18. You said if your hourly rate is $40 dollars an hour you will make $400,000 dollars a year. So would you only be flying an hour a day?

  19. One thing he didn't talk about is the cost to go from joe blow on the street to getting flight qualifications to be an airlines pilot. Not only the money you have to spend but the hours of flight time you have to gain before even being considered.

  20. Very interesting. In Houston as a starting jailer I made 60000. This could be why it's hard to attract people in. As a jailer all I need is a H.S. Dep., and they pay you as you go to their academy.The job is not as cool. But you can use this as a comparison

  21. When you really love your career, how much money you make isn't your priority. Don't do what makes more money, do what you love and you will be successful.

  22. 1:00 The conversion of hourly rate to annual salary would be to multiply by 1000 and then DOUBLE the result. Do pilots only work 20 hours a week?

  23. I’d be happy making 150 and up for southwest for a good couple years for experience then hopefully be a senior captain for 3-5 hundred k

  24. Pilots with a little bit of seniority and a decent carrier do ok. Trust me.
    You have to put your time in. You gotta get off those commuters and build some seniority.
    After five years. You ain’t struggling.

  25. Great video Man, lately I’ve been watching airline disasters and how pilots figure things out in a very calm manner. And some unfortunately did the best and the aircraft was too damaged to recover. My respects to you Sir, it takes a lot of calmness and knowledge to do what you do, thank you Sir.

  26. yess,its not bad salary to have exprience to the World.its clean job,but always reponsible one,good time in destination,long destination free time.30,000-40,000 in year.In Finland you get that money to be as welder,if you are pro welder.

  27. My Cousin is a Pilot for a major airline and about 10 years ago for flying 757s and 767s he earned around 150-175,000 gross. I never found that too much because it does require a lot of brains and quick thinking and guts.

  28. thank you for making this video Im going into 9th grade my dream job is start pilots school go to american eagle or southwest then head to American Airlines I . Study Flight stats plane/aircrafts stat of what all they do like max alt. max spd knts. if i remember correctly a md-80s top speed 630 aa's last flight is sep 1.

  29. If I finance all of my schooling and it looks like I will be, I'd like to start out making $60k a year. I know that's not the likely find. I wouldn't mind staying at that pay for 6 years if afterwards I get bumped up to "normal" 100+. I just don't want the struggle to pay back any bills. At that 60k mark, I could have the life I want (knowing I am planning for a long future with the company) and pay back everything in less than 6 years.

  30. G'day Kelsey.Personally, as a passenger, I'd be overjoyed if senior pilots got a base rate of $100,000.00 a year+. Why? I want to walk on to an aircraft and walk off an aircraft in the same physical condition. I was in the AIr Force and I've got lots of commercial air-hours under my belt. Essentially, one is flying in a thin-walled metal tube at 35,000 ft +/- that is a complex piece of high-tech avionics etc. There are thousands of little things that could go wrong that might escalate into what is euphemistically called an 'aircraft incident'. Yes, I know that, statistically, aircraft travel is the safest form of mass transit there is, however, compared to a motor vehicle, bus or train which are all on the ground, they are not a few miles or more above the planet. Yep, cars, busses and trains can run into things, catastrophically, and they do this in far greater numbers than aircraft. Trouble is when an aircraft suffers a catastrophic incident one pretty much knows that everyone on-board is going to die. If there are survivors there are many more potential crash sites in remote areas and especially at sea where survivors are not going to be rescued. Even when ships go down mid-ocean there is a much greater possibility of eventual rescue via life boats etc. As has been demonstrated over the decades and even recently, an aircraft going down mid-ocean, at speed, spells fatalities for all on-board. So, I've always thought that military and civilian pilots should be paid anything they want to keep them happy, healthy and trained up to the minute to deal with any of the hundreds of ways an aircraft can go 'us'. Cheers, chocks away and happy landings! BH

  31. Pilots are in charge of the most expensive and advanced technology in history and yet people who go around with a camera all day earn a pilots salary per month

  32. well it make sense, honesty most engineer makes about 200k after about 5 years, and some up to 400k in about 10 to 15 years

  33. Screw this Kelsey, I chose to work for the Govt @125K per yr as a non-flying analyst. (specifically the NSA as a local hire)

  34. I owned a limo company and had a small contract driving US Airlines pilots and I kept wondering why some had beat up shoes including a holes in them. I bet that must have been a new pilot.

  35. I’m too chicken shit to be a pilot. I’d parachute out the plane with a plane full of people at the first sign of engine trouble.

  36. Stumbled on your channel. Good stuff. Could you make a video and talk about being an airline pilot and balancing family life?

  37. Damn! After seeing this video, I've come to the conclusion that I'm definitely in the wrong line of work. To get paid like that to fly would be a wet dream come true so to speak. Sure would beat the HVAC business by a long shot.

  38. pay can be good
    but also you must factor in all the down time and free time you put in non rev positioning around. A lot of airlines you work in a paid capacity about 80 to 120 hours a month. Your not getting paid $135 an hour for a 40 hour work week . You might do 20 flight hours that week

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