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Airline Pilot SalaryWhat you can expect to earn as an Airline Pilot
By Kyle Garrett
Entry level jobs for airline pilots are low in pay, but after a few years, salaries increase. Airline pilot salaries are based on several factors including seniority, current rank, the type of aircraft being flown and the number of passengers the aircraft seats. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you've got what it takes to make it through the first few years of being an airline pilot (and making from $20,000 to $30,000 a year), you can expect to make anywhere from $80,000 to $150,000 per year, with additional benefits, depending on the airline. The average captain at a regional airline company earns about $55,000 per year, while the average captain at a major airline company earns about $135,000 per year. Pilots at the top paying airlines can expect to make around $200,000 per year, according to AvJobs.com.
Airline Pilot Benefits
Most airlines pay for a portion of health insurance and life insurance for their pilots. Airline pilots can also expect to receive some sort of retirement plan and disability insurance if for some reason they are not able to fly for an extended period of time. When on duty, airlines typically pay for a certain amount of travel expenses per hour called "per diem", and off duty uniform cleaning can sometimes be included in a benefits package. Of course, travel benefits are often part of the deal and family members, and sometimes friends, can expect to be able to travel free, or mostly free, on the company's planes. But don't expect to be flying first class. Family and friends will be required to fly "standby", meaning they can only get on the plane if there are extra seats left over after the paying passengers are aboard the aircraft. If there are no seats available, family and friends will have to wait and try again on the next flight.
How Seniority Works
Seniority is the name of the game in an airline pilot job. Your seniority is usually based upon your date of hire. The longer you've been working for the airline, the higher your seniority, or put another way, the more pilots that have been hired after you, the higher your seniority. Airlines use seniority as the basis for compensation, benefits, routes, rank and travel benefits. The bottom line is, if you want to be an airline pilot, the best time is now because the sooner you get hired, the higher your seniority will be.