Airline Pilot Salary

Airline Pilot Salary
Talk of daredevilry and enjoying the thrill of working day in and day out. That's precisely what an airline pilot's job is all about. This literally high-flying job is one of the highly paid careers one can find.
CareerStint Staff
Last Updated: Jan 20, 2018
The job of an airline pilot is high on the thrill and adventure quotient. Add to it, the perks of this job are equally alluring. However, flying an airliner, is definitely not a cake walk, it involves taking risks and a big leap of faith and trust. It's a job that is considered to be highly prestigious, no wonder that it is one of the highly paying careers.
"The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul."
-Walter Raleigh
Agreeing with Raleigh on this point, a pilot is indeed an integral part of an airline. Always on the go, a pilot shoulders great responsibility - that of public safety. The job of a pilot does not end there, they have to be proficient in many other areas as well. To name a few, they need to have a sound knowledge of physics to understand aerodynamics, be good navigators to get them through and be acutely aware of all the rules and regulations that come with the job of flying. The most important of all, they need to have a thorough understanding of risk management. You can say, it is their personal dedication to ensure safety that commoners can blindly trust, while commuting from one destination to another.
Brace Yourself For This
The entry-level salary for most airliners hovers around $20,000 to $50,000 per year. The pay obviously varies from regional carriers to major airlines, and it all depends on the financial stability of the airliner. Unlike most sectors, this sector deviates towards seniority and not preference. Which indicates the pay scale increases as you age with experience. The point to be noted here, is that you need to stick around with one airliner for a specific period of time before you get recognized as an SFO (Senior First Officer). Well, we'd better inform you that your pay will increase as the years get accumulated.
Take a look at the list to better understand the salary layout of an airline pilot.
*FO: First Officer; CA: Captain

** The salary range given here is an approximate amount and is subject to vary.**
ABX Air
FO: $38.00/hour
CA: $143.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.00/hour
International: $4.00/hour

American Airlines
FO: $36.00/hour
CA: $98.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.80/hour
International: $2.00/hour

AirTran Airlines
FO: $42.75/hour
CA: $71.21/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.75/hour
International: $3.00/hour

Delta Air Lines
FO: $52.00/hour
CA: $133.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.00/hour
International: $2.50/hour

UPS
FO: $39.00/hour
CA: $239.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.25/hour
International: $2.80/hour

Southwest Airlines
FO: $56.05/hour
CA: $186.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.15/hour
International: Service to begin in 2014

Alaska Airlines
FO: $45.05/hour
CA: $145.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.00/hour
International: $1.30/hour

Astar Air Cargo
FO: $35.05/hour
CA: $137.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.10/hour
International: $3.10/hour

Continental Airlines
FO: $31.05/hour
CA: $134.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.85/hour
International: $2.05/hour

United Airlines
FO: $32.61/hour
CA: $123.38/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.00/hour
International: $2.15/hour
Hawaiian Airlines
FO: $36.00/hour
CA: $158.38/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.50/hour
International: $2.50/hour

FedEx
FO: $57.66/hour
CA: $166.70/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.90/hour
International: $2.70/hour

JetBlue
FO: $48.57/hour
CA: $128.51/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.00/hour
International: No International Service

US Airways
FO: $39.14/hour
CA: $121.32/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.00/hour
International: $2.25/hour

Virgin America
FO: $44.00/hour
CA: $105.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $2.00/hour
International: No International Service

North American Airlines
FO: $54.35/hour
CA: $94.95/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.70/hour
International: $2.30/hour

Air Wisconsin
FO: $26.00/hour
CA: $61.95/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.60/hour
International: $1.60/hour

Pinnacle Airlines
FO: $26.70/hour
CA: $67.29/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.65/hour
International: No International Service

American Eagle
FO: $25.46/hour
CA: $67.44/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.85/hour
International: $1.85/hour

Republic Airways
FO: $23.00/hour
CA: $64.00/hour
Per Diem Rates
Domestic: $1.65/hour
International: No International Service
Job Description
Undoubtedly, the job of an airline pilot is to fly passengers and/or cargo on long or short-haul flights. It involves flying aircraft of different sizes, for leading airline companies. The captain - the senior and experienced pilot - generally is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft. They constantly need to keep a check on the flying conditions and brief the crew members of the same. The airline pilots have to stay alert at all times which means they cannot risk indulging in alcohol or drugs. Besides, their work requires them to be physically and mentally present in the cockpit which means they have to be receptive to the many instructions received from the control room. In case of an emergency, the pilot has to tread with caution, he has to ensure that he steers the plane and its passengers to safety. All these make it a job that is definitely risky to say the least, and highly stressful yet satisfying and adventure-filled.
The duties of a pilot include: 
  •  Performing preflight aircraft checks and reviewing paperwork.
  • Create flight plans detailing the desired route, the consequent route to be followed and the amount of fuel required.
  • Ensuring safety systems are optimum.
  • Communicating with the air traffic control before take-off, during the flight and after landing.
  • Regularly briefing the cabin crew and communicating with passengers.
  • Performing technical checks at regular intervals to ensure optimum performance of the aircraft.
  • Making quick and wise decisions in case of emergencies and turbulence.
  • Updating the logbook and maintaining a report of every flight.
To become an airline pilot, it is mandatory that you...
  • Complete 250 flight hours dedicated to maneuvers and various flight conditions.
  • Pass the instrument rating test (a test that checks your flying skills during poor visibility)
  • Pass the written test and the checkride.
  • Earn a commercial pilot certificate along with a Bachelor's degree (in any field).
  • Pass a physical exam every six months.
  • Subject yourself to regular drug and alcohol tests.
  • Undergo training as per the FAA-approved training curriculum.
  • Be prepared for your records to be scrutinized.
  • Seize every opportunity to hone your skill of flying an airplane.
That's not all, you also need to be prepared to live life on the edge. If a pilot decides to change his/her airline, he has to make do with starting right at the lowest level. In short, your flying experience is sure to get you a job in an airliner but you have to start from scratch.