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Are Pilots Paid Too Much?  
User currently offlineBofredrik From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4738 times:

We have had a discussion here in the media about the salaries for pilots. A lot of people think it is to high. I know that it is a big difference between a co-pilot on a commuter airline (aprox. USD 1900-2500 per month) compared with a SAS Scandinavian Airlines senior captain (aprox. MAX USD 13600 per month).
But the media is media and it is the senior captains salary that media put out in BOLD text. Question? Are pilots paid to much + do you have the same discussion in your country?

47 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17654 posts, RR: 65
Reply 1, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4704 times:

It's the market. "Too much" is very subjective and the media nicely drags numbers out. But most people don't spend tens of thousands of €€ of their own money to get an education for a job with crappy career prospects.

When the fecal matter hits the rotary air impeller, I would rather the Captain is thinking of how to solve the problem, and not how he will pay his mortgage. Pay'em well, I say!

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineB747Skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4705 times:

My gosh, Bofredrik -
This has been a FAQ again and again and agin...
Discussing just "numbers"... is difficult to compare.
US$ 3,000 salary in India gives you lifestyle of a Maharajah...
In Europe, barely above poverty level.
What my concern is, what is the misery minimum that some new F/Os have to accept to survive.
Maximum pay is one thing, but how about minimum pay.
New hire pay with commuter airline minimum salaries are an insult.
Nowadays, many of these guys PAY (a fortune) for training and BUY theirselves a job.
Some 30 years ago, airlines financed you if you were fitting their profile.
I will come back, let some other friends give their opinion here.
Happy contrails -
(s) Skipper

User currently offlineFinnWings From Finland, joined Oct 2003, 640 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4623 times:

I'm one of those who has to pay a lot for my education...

I just started today my flight school training on an ATPL-course and will got my license by the end of 2006. The whole training will cost me around 75 000 euros and thats a lot of money. I don't mind anyway as I have dreamed this since I was 10 yrs old and now I'm going to make it... become as a an airline pilot.

Of course I'm a bit concerned of future after the flight school as getting a job isn't sure at all. You'll have pay back huge loan and most likely earn only very low salaries when you are young F/O like B747Skipper wrote. When I'm hopefully a senior captain someday I really believe I'm not overpaid as I have took huge economical risks during my training. And of course, even when you are working for an airline you can't ever be sure of your future... just one failed medical check and you'll never fly again. Senior captains has also so huge responsibility that they really deserve their salaries. Very few people could ever carry on such a huge responsibility everyday when working...

Anyway, I hope luck all to you who are trying to get in the flight schools! Be patient...and you'll finally make it!  Smile


User currently offlineHenpol747 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 588 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4542 times:

If you consider the very big responsability that it involves, plus the very many days away from home and family, I would say the salary is fair. As starlionblue said:

Pay´em!!!  Big thumbs up


Vive la France! ¡Viva México!
User currently offlineUltrapig From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 609 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4491 times:

Pilot's compensation is a paradox.

On one hand Pilots want to be considered professionals-other otherhand they are union members.

On one hand my view is that they are overwhelming conservative and Republicans-On the other hand they think they "deserve" a certain amount of compensation as opposed to being paid what the market would bear.

Flying a big plane comes with a lot of responsibility. But pilot's have specific protocols and backup procedures-there is a good system in place-Compare that to an over the road trucker or bus driver-

I wonder which is more dangerous?

I also suggest that if one start a new airline-one in which the pilots were paid good benefits-and a very modest salary of let's say $36k a year-I'll be you'd fill all the jobs-because there are a lot of people who like to fly-.

I'm not insulting pilots-on the few flights I've been on in bad weather I've been grateful for the white hair I saw in the cockpit-just that no undeserved anything!

User currently offlinePhilsquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4453 times:

"On one hand Pilots want to be considered professionals-other otherhand they are union members."

I would argue that attorneys are union members, there is the ABA. Physicians have the AMA. If you will note all of those are "associations", just like ALPA.

I agree with your statement about start up airlines and paying pilots $36K/yr, the problem is you need to attract experienced pilots, you won't get them for that salary. And I am talking about a start up like Jetblue or any 121 carrier.

You're right pilots have specific protocols and back up procedures, but the simple fact is nothing is foolproof. Pilots are there, just like attorneys, for when things do go wrong, any abnormal or emergency situation.

You referenced over the road truckers or bus drivers. I certainly don't want to slight their profession, but I could attend a driver training course and become a trucker in minimal time. Becoming an airline pilot requires years of training and experience. In my case, a 4 yr degree in engineering, 10 years as a military pilot and then starting at a major carrier. So, to compare pilots to truckers is not a valid comparison.

How many industries do you know of where the employee is required to take a physical every 6 months, where every word in his office is recorded, every minute of his time at work is monitored. I don't think there are many professions like that.

So, do airline pilot's make too much? Well, I have a vested interest, I don't think the salaries are too much. In fact, I would argue it's not enough.

User currently offlineMNeo From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2004, 776 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4387 times:

The poeple who survied airplane incedents are very happy that pilots are being payed that much ( like the AC(?) A330 that lost both of its engines and had to glide to safty) Also after spendidng $150K for education and over 100K of that is loans U will need a big salary to pay that up.

Powered by Maina
User currently offlineSKYSERVICE_330 From Canada, joined Sep 2000, 1467 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4359 times:

The question mark was appropriate MNeo ... it was Air Transat  Big grin

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17654 posts, RR: 65
Reply 9, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4334 times:

It's not a lot of money guys. If you're in software, $100.000 a year is not exactly unusual for a 30 year old.

It's simple. You work hard, you make a lot. Eventually.

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineDoug_Or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3586 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4308 times:

So long as there is senority, we need collective bargaining. What the market will bear is irrelevant, since we can't really find that out under the current system. If UAL could cut their pilot pay on the 777 75%, captains couldn't just go to anthor carrier as a captain on the 777. Pilots are captives of the senority system, and collective bargaining prevents mgmt from taking advantage of this.

Thats not to say I disagree with senority. Back before it existed companies could switch a pilots domecile weekly to encourage them to quit, or upgrade pilots as a reward for flying in unsafe conditions. The current system is by no means perfect, but its not really all that bad when you consider all of the factors that must be dealt with.

When in doubt, one B pump off
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17654 posts, RR: 65
Reply 11, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4283 times:

Doug_Or, I was ready to slam you for liking the seniority system. But put that way it makes a lot of sense.

However, don't you think that with the plethora of carriers out today, there would be a bit more choice if a pilot wants to move around. As in, if you have you have to quit, there's another job out there, assuming that seniority doesn't count?

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13856 posts, RR: 17
Reply 12, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4283 times:

Don't forget too that pilots, espcially in the US, have a manditory retirement at 60-62 in the flight crew. This limits the length of time you can be a high end commercial pilot.
The problem is that that commuters, regionals pay too little in some cases. For many pilots, often they live in high cost areas of the US and the world, like NYC, Los Angeles, London. Pilots are limited in the work they can do away from the cockpit, at home. There are some cases - a few - where the top pilots are paid well above the industry/major average, but that is the cost of doing business, especially when a limited number of people are qualified and demand for pilots fluctiates considerable with the economy. Before Sept 2001, the need for qualified pilots was quiet good - but it collasped after 9/11/01 until very recently.

User currently offlineUAL747DEN From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2392 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4252 times:

I think that pilots need to be paid VERY well. Like everyone has mentioned it is extremely expensive to go through training. Just to give you an example I will have paid close to 100k at the end of my training and will not even have half the hours required to be a Caption, and unlike other professions there is no scholarships to help out with that.....

User currently offlineDoug_Or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3586 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4233 times:

Starlion- I definately think the senority system is far from perfect. Any pilot who's been through a merger or gone through a chapter 7 will certainly testify to that. One idea that has been batted around is a national senority list, so that pilots can switch carriers or get good jobs after a bancruptcy. But this would of course streagthen the "full pay till the last day" attitude and also harm those who invest their heart and soul into a start up, only to stay FO as the company grows due to older pilots switching over from other airlines. For every action there is a reaction. Often, there is a problem created for every problem solved. The current sytem, like just about all other options I've heard proposed, is a compromise with both winners and losers.

When in doubt, one B pump off
User currently offlineTristar2000 From Canada, joined Dec 2000, 274 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4148 times:

there is no scholarships to help out with that

Mostly true, but here in Quebec, you have the Cegep system (level between high school and university in this province) and there is a technical program for pilots. There is only one Cegep giving the course and it's in Chicoutimi. Cegep is a public school system, so it's almost free to complete your course apart from minor costs like some fees (110$ CDN per semester = 220$ a year for 3 years) plus books plus the cost of living (rent+food) to pay. Of course, many apply, and few are chosen (tests, medical exams, etc.), but you're almost sure to get a job afterwards (all the company has to pay is type training) and you've spent generally around 15 000$ - 20 000$ CDN (11500-15000 USD) for the 3 years if you're an outsider, and maybe 1 000$ CDN if your parents live in Chicoutimi.

You can get a student loan to cover these costs if you don't have the money. Basically, what this means is that anyone who really wants to become a pilot in Quebec can (and you have as good a chance if your parents are on welfare or if they are rich!!)

As for the Air Transat pilot R. Piche who landed that A330 without engines in the Azores, he went through that school for his training back in the 70s.

And finally, if you don't get accepted in Cegep, you can always pay a big sum, like mentioned above, at a private pilot training facility.

As for the topic, I don't necessarily believe pilots are paid too much, but remember they are not the only ones having responsibilities in all this (I think their salary is justified through their actions when things go bad), because in a normal day when everything goes as it is supposed to, Air Traffic Controllers earn their salary too, as well as the techs who've worked on the plane, because they have as much responsibility IMO. But then I believe all 3 have more lives in their hands each day than a surgeon, which will make a lot more, but that would be en entirely other debate which I don't want to get into.

Best Regards,
Steven  Smile

User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16525 posts, RR: 54
Reply 16, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4134 times:

Pilots are overpaid if any of the following conditions apply:
1. The airlines they work for are losing money,
2. Their counterparts at LCC's make less money,
3. Average passenger yield has dropped since their last union contract.

Pilots need to understand 2 things:
1. Airlines are in business to make money, not to make pilots rich,
2. The passengers pay the pilot salaries, no one else.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
User currently offlineTristar2000 From Canada, joined Dec 2000, 274 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4087 times:

The passengers pay the pilot salaries, no one else

Then you could say the following:

The patients pay the surgeon's salary, no one else....

Steven Big grin

User currently offlineGoboeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2829 posts, RR: 14
Reply 18, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4092 times:

This has been discussed before; you can search for it and you'll find it more than once.

This is from another time it was discussed:

"Subject: Why Airline Pilots Should Make $200,000 (or more)

The airline business is an equal opportunity career field. Airlines, including Delta, American, United, and Northwest are hiring loads of pilots right now. You, too, can find yourself in the cockpit of a 767, 727, A-300 or any other commercial aircraft out there in the skies. The airlines hire regardless of race, religion, age or sex. They are literally the epitome of the equal opportunity employer. All it takes is enough intelligence to obtain an application, fill it out and send it back to personnel for
consideration. That's it!! Then you may be offered an entry level position as a pilot with any of the airlines, at a starting pay of $25,000 - 28,000 per year. Congratulations.....You're on the start of your flying career.......Or are you????

Let's see, the current qualification requirements, to even be called in for
an interview, are as follows: 4 year college degree (no problem, if you have a home computer in order to participate in this cyber dribble, then you've got that); physically able to pass an FAA Class 1 exam (assuming that you dont spend all of your time sitting on your brains at the computer, then maybe youll be able to pass.); and oh yeah, you've got to have completed the
Flight Engineer written exam, have multi-engine, commercial / instrument ratings and it wouldn't hurt to have the Airline Transport Rating (typed in something larger than your Lazy Boy recliner). Generally speaking, the current averages of new hire pilots at the airlines are: 3,300 hours total flying time, 2,700 hours multi-engine/turbo, with 1,200 hours
pilot-in-command. (Sorry, sitting on your sofa, eating pizza and surfing the channels with your TV remote doesnt count as a single minute of Instrument time!)

What??? You don't have the minimum qualifications to even be called in for
an interview???!!! Well get off your lazy can and go get qualified.
Remember, age is not a factor. You can be 60 years old and still get hired as a Flight Engineer - sorry the federal government says you can't fly past age 60, but you can be a plumber. Over 95 percent of the pilots at Delta Air Lines have military backgrounds. That's all you have to do.....join the
military, go to pilot training and spend 9 years on active duty flying airplanes. You'll be able to build the hours of experience necessary to qualify for the airlines, get paid while youre doing it and get to see the world at the same time.

What???? Can't get selected to go to pilot training because of the incredibly stringent requirements to get through the door???!!! Oh, don't want to PAY THE PRICE of having to serve your country, subject to the needs
of the service and move every 2-3 years. Even then, you don't know whether or not the airlines will be hiring when you finally gain enough experience and complete your contract with Uncle Sam!

Just what are those high entrance standards? Let's see. For every pilot slot there are approximately 50 who apply. From those selected, they enter a flight screening (aka washout) program that eliminates half of the group.
From there you go on to Undergraduate Pilot Training (for the Air Force, the Navy has a similar program under a different name) for an entire year. Work hard, because only two out of three that enter graduate. Let's do some quick math. You are in a room with a group of people who all want to become
military pilots. In fact, there are 150 of you. Guess what? Two years later only one of you will get to walk across a stage and get your wings pinned on. Ouch.

Then you get to hit the operational side. Whoa, first you've got to get through RTU (Training unit, about a 5% washout rate here). Now, you are off to the real world, training to fight or flying operational missions. Now, after nine years of this, the airline career is ahead of you. Wait a minute, I just glossed over one minor area. You see, you have to SURVIVE your time
on active duty. Let's look at one squadron and the facts. This squadron of 40 pilots lost one pilot a year for four years. I know these numbers are correct because I was in that squadron. Do the math and you see that the odds of simply surviving a four year tour is approximately 90%. Those odds
don't seem so bad, unless you are the one whose life depends on it. Those might seem like just statistics, but go to a few funerals, see the widows and children, and that 90% takes on a whole new meaning. And guess what, those numbers don't even take into account a real live war, and I'm not
alking about the wars the stock traders talk about in the stock pits. They use real live bullets in this shooting match.

Ah, no problem, if you can't or won't make it via the military route, then you can always go the civilian path to the airlines.... Remember those hours
of experience???? If not, your short term memory is in doubt which may be a factor in your abilities to fly airplanes and make life threatening decisions - reread four paragraphs previous. Those average of 3,300 hours dont come free on the civilian side of the equation either. Youll probably
need to start flying as soon as you get your drivers license in order to build those levels of hours before your life times out on the mortality tables. It'll cost you at least $2,000 to get your basic flying license: single engine, land; capable of avoiding clouds, weather less than clear and
a million miles visibility, severe crosswinds and minimum night. Now,congratulations, you've got about 40-60 hours towards that 3,300.....get going, you've got a ways to go. Start paying for some more flying time, sport.
It'll cost you 30-40 dollars per hour to rent a single engine Piper to fly your buddies around and look at the corn fields. Figure it out genius, it's going to be expensive to build several thousand hours. And don't forget, even if mom and dad are footing the bill for you, 3,000 hours
of Piper Cherokee time wont get you through American, United, Delta or anyone else's doors for a peek at the application stack!!

Thats right, youre going to have to get those other ratings. No problem.
You're a smart person. Just buy some more Instructor time, study some more stacks of books, go to more ground schools, shell out several thousand more dollars, spend thousands of hours studying some more, get that dual instruction time, take more tests, pass more physicals and you'll get that
Instrument rating - maybe in that same Piper Cherokee. Congratulations! But guess what.....tha'ts right, you still aren't close to being qualified. You
now have somewhere around 200-300 hours; enough to have the minimum necessary to go for a Commercial license. So, you pay, study, fly, study, pay, pay, pay, fly, pay, study, test, fly, pay, pay, fly, study,
test......and finally get your Commercial ticket.
Great!! Now you can be paid to fly - that'll help. But you still only have 300 or so hours flying, not enough (remember 3,300 hours) to land a seat with the Big Boys. Don't give up yet, oh Mr/Ms Wannabee, you're on your way. If you want it bad enough, you'll keep going. If you don't want it bad enough, YOU'LL QUIT, SIT BACK AND WHINE ABOUT THOSE THAT SUCCEED!!! Not you though, you press on....

Get out the check book, buy some more time. You've got to get that multi-engine experience in order to get hired by some civilian company so you can build your time. You study, pay, fly (multi-engine now - so double the hourly rate), pay, pay, fly, pay, study, fly, pay, study, pay, pay some
more, fly, test, study, fly, pay and finally - you've got that multi-engine
rating. So, with all those ratings now, multi-engine, Instrument and the all
important, Commercial ticket, you can get a job flying airplanes. Oh, not
for the airlines; hell, the commuters won't even touch you yet. But you might land yourself a job hauling canceled checks for some company. Thatll be working the boneyard shift - midnight to 6 a.m. But you'll get paid minimum wage to fly (and build those hours). Remember, youre determined to
get qualified for the Majors!! Or maybe youll get hired to fly parachute jumpers. That'll get you a couple of hours per day. It's probably not turbo prop time, but it counts towards the total. No matter, if you work real hard, fly all the time (you do have to have some minimum rest as required by the FAA) you may be able to build 1,000 hours per year! At some point in time though, my future aviation professional friend, you've got to get that turbine / jet engine time. Yep, pay, pay, study, fly, test, pay, fly, test, pay, pay and more pay.

Finally, you've beat through the trenches of aviation to get enough hours and experience to qualify for a position flying as a co-pilot for one of the commuter airlines like ASA, ComAir, American Eagle or United Express. You apply, interview and get hired!! Again, congratulations - you've made
another hurdle. Now you're building that commercial aviation experience. Oh, by the way, you're only making $14,000 per year starting - if you're lucky!!
You'll get to do this for at least 2-3 years to build that 3,000 hours of experience and at some point in time, move over to the left seat to build that pilot-in-command (PIC) time. Looking at the years of struggling to this point, youre probably wishing you had gone the military route - of course,
you didn't choose that option!!

So you press on....Now, regardless of whether you went the military or civilian route, there's been some substantial risks. Throughout your career you've been subjected to annual physicals (in some cases, every 6 months) that could have easily disqualified you, forever, from your chosen aviation
career field. On top of that, guess what, the FAA has been closely watching
you every step of the way. Fail to pass the written exams - you're history.
Fail to pass the orals - you're history. Fail to pass the flying tests - you're history. No pressure. There's more....your FAA friends have a whole stack of books of regulations governing your life as a pilot and the operation of every single airplane you lift off the ground. Here's the risk:
SCREW UP ONE TIME, JUST ONCE, AND BREAK AN AIRPLANE, HURT SOMEONE, OR JUST COME CLOSE - AND THEY TAKE YOUR LICENSES AWAY FROM YOU. FOREVER !!!! They don't care how many years and thousands of dollars you spent getting to this point in your career......they don't care how badly you want to become a
commercial airline pilot, ........you can beg, plead, get down on your whiny knees and cry.......THEY DON'T CARE !! YOU'RE HISTORY!!!! Congratulations, your lifetime of work has just been trashed for a simple mistake.
Unfortunately, there are no big margins of error in this business. Unlike working at MacDonalds, or as a marketing rep selling coat hangers, or some computer geek writing software or selling shoes at Macys, when you screw up, you stand the risk of KILLING PEOPLE! This ain't no PUSS GAME!!

But it's okay, you knew the risks, the requirements, the qualifications. YOU KNEW THE PRICE YOU'D HAVE To PAY!! And you also knew how easily it can all be jerked out from under you. So you've chosen to spend your LIFETIME studying to remain highly qualified and to get eligible for another step in the professional aviation ladder. It goes with the territory. But there are
rewards commensurate with your choice. For one: you love to fly! That's why you're here. Second: there is a chance that someday, if all goes well, you may make it to the Majors and earn a good living, again, commensurate with being a professional pilot. And besides, if this were easy to do, EVERYONE WOULD Be DOING IT!! The requirements to cut it in this business make it such that it automatically weeds out the sniffling wannabees. You either have the
mental and physical abilities coupled with the desire and DETERMINATION or youre sitting on the sideline -WHINING!! After 9 years on active duty in the military, or the equivalent on the civilian side, you've gotten the licenses and experience qualifying you to apply at the Majors. Unfortunately, the major airlines aren't like Exxon gas stations: there simply isn't one on every street corner hiring someone to pump gas. Any one airline is probably
hiring no more than 1,000 pilots per year - and that's a really big year.
You may think you have what they're looking for, but guess what, so does every other pilot applying for that position. So the competition just elevated to another notch higher. Odds are more in favor of you NOT getting hired than of getting hired!! After two or three airline interviews, you might get lucky and get hired by a startup carrier - paying less than a person on the UAW assembly line. No problem, you'll keep applying to the other carriers even though you generally only have one opportunity. A NO is generally a no for the rest of your career. But you'll keep trying.

Even if you do get lucky and hired by a Major, there's more years of dues to
pay, studying, hard work, long days, short nights and hurdles to cross. The FAA not only watches you on paper, they sit on your jumpseat and watch over your shoulder. They analyze, criticize and evaluate every move you make. They're there for your orals, writtens, simulator checks and rating rides.
They show up unannounced any time they choose. They check you and recheck you; sometimes two days in a row from different examiners. One big error now, sport, and you don't get bumped back to the Minors, you get bounced out on your ass!! You again accept the fact that youve chosen to live a life in
a profession that with any mistake you are AUTOMATICALLY GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN

But it's okay, because the risks are high, therefore the standards must be even higher!! You're no longer talking about dinging in your little Cherokee with your buds on board. Were talking about anywhere from 100 to 400 passengers (depending on the airplane) on board who are betting their lives that you MEET OR EXCEED THOSE HIGH STANDARDS. They're betting that when that
engine fails, the hydraulic system quits or the flight controls stop working that you have the knowledge, experience and highly trained skill to safely and that airplane on a short runway, in weather that you wont take your Honda Accord out in to buy your pizza. Therein lies the blessing and the
problem: passengers. Since deregulation, the prices for tickets have become increasingly competitive. In fact, the cut throat marketing schemes of some airlines have caused tickets prices to be so low that it is now cheaper to fly than to take the Greyhound bus. Hence, the business takes on the look and feel of mass transportation. More competition, lower ticket prices, more
passengers. Through the process weve lowered the standards. Average tickets prices down, thus reduced revenues, and consequently a huge reduction in the standard of service. The simple fact of the matter, people, is that you cannot expect to get 1st class service for below Greyhound prices on your
tickets. You don't go to the Cadillac dealer and expect to pay Yugo prices.

Heres an economic question for you: when you go to the grocery store, the gas station, make a long distance telephone call, buy a new modem or a new pair of shoes, do you think you pay LESS for that product or service than what it costs the business to SUPPLY it? Nope. But the marketing gurus in
the airlines business sell seats for less than it costs to produce them.

So costs are out of sight. Gotta lower the overhead. We'll cut back on our service: no meals, minimum number of flight attendants to provide service, fewer agents, etc. In fact, we'll out source everything we can to lower costs. Well lay off tens of thousands of dedicated and loyal employees so we
can contract with outside companies to fuel our planes, clean em, handle baggage and even work the gates. Those companies hire at minimum wage and with no benefits. So guess what, there is no employee loyalty, dedication or commitment. If its a rainy, cold Saturday in Chicago, the minimum wage ramp workers won't show up for work. What's the contractor going to do, fire them
and hire more minimum wage employees with the same dedication? So your bags get lost, or stolen, or just dont get put on the plane. The flight is late because there's not enough fuelers to fuel the airplane. You're pissed because the flight's late and it never crosses your mind that it might be
because of your $79.00 round trip airfare from Chicago to Miami. You don't apply the same "you get what you pay for logic" to your airline ticket that you do when you go shopping for a new automobile. You expect to have your ass kissed for the $39.50 for that flight segment. Hell, you can't buy a
hooker to kiss your cheek for that amount of money!!

Guess what you think you can do for your $39.50?? You feel like you have the
constitutional right to defecate, urinate and vomit in the seat; leaving it for someone else to clean up. You throw your trash on the floor and walk away from it. You'll change your babys diaper on the tray table, wad up the pamper full of baby crap and leave it in the seatback pocket. And then you whine that youre paying too much for your ticket, the plane's late, or that
seats are too cramped. Guess what?? I wouldn't ride in your car and treat you that way - why treat the professionals in the aviation community that way??!! Because - YOU DON,T CARE !!!! You want the most you can get for the east you have to pay for it!

Unfortunately, the airline managements have cut back their services to the point that they can't cut anymore. So they look to the only other source of cutting - employee salaries and benefits. For the non contract (non-union) groups its easy to scalp. They don't have any protection from irresponsible
management who are only interested in the bottom line. But if you happen to be fortunate enough to have the protection of a professional organization (unions like ALPA or APA) then its a little bit tougher to slaughter. You see, even though management has reduced the standards of the products they sell, the standard by which professional pilots are subjected to have not been reduced!! The price pilots have had to pay is still there. The risks and the requirements still remain.
Passengers may want the most they can get
for the least dollar, but they still want those pilots to have the experience/qualifications commensurate with requirements of operating aircraft, full of passengers, in an intense and risk filled environment! I hate to tell you this, sport, but that doesn't come FREE!! If you want it,
youve got to pay for it!!

Now let's fold in record profits being reaped by airline management. Not to mention huge salaries and bonuses for executives at the airlines. Without exception, the salaries of professional pilots throughout the business have not kept pace with the cost of living for the past decade. Simply put, airline pilots are making less than they were 10 years ago, yet you keep charging more each year for that new color TV, automobile, gallon of milk or tank of gas.

So, after 25 years of flying experience, tests, physical exams, simulator checks, military service, etc., etc, I finally reach the left seat of an airplane in the service of a commercial carrier. Yep, I also get a 6 figure income. Tell me, why shouldnt I??? If anyone could get here, then this profession wouldn't have the added benefit of a nice salary. It doesn't require a doctor the same number of years to get to 6 figures, yet, no one denies that surgeon is worth every penny when you're laying on the table with your chest sliced open and a rib splitter making a hole large enough to reach through. And a surgeon only kills them one at a time when he screws up!! I don't hear you whining about stock brokers getting 6 figure incomes.
You don't seem to have any problem with paying $100 to take your family to a
professional baseball game to watch a 19 year-old play ball for $1 million per year!! But for some reason, you are pissed off that professional airline pilots are eventually compensated with a 6 figure income.

And you want to whine about their retirement? Statistically, only 1 out of
every 3 pilots entering this profession will ever make it to retirement.
Thats a 66 percent chance that I'll never see the lump-sum numbers that you want to bitch about. And guess what, if it weren't for collective bargaining, contracts, unions and federal regulations, reckless managements would be robbing those retirement funds like Jesse James. Thank goodness there are unions out there protecting the earned benefits of professionals.

So why shouldn't the pilots at American, United, Delta or any other union carrier, fight for the survival of their profession. Obviously managements have forgotten (or selectively forget) what it took to get in the pilots seat (managements are predominately non-pilots) and what it takes to remain there for a full career. Executives would like to ignore their own high salaries, bonuses and benefits and rather ignite the public and fellow
employees against the 6 figure salaries of the professional pilots.

So you, in your ignorance, jump on that bashing bandwagon without being armed with the facts. The fact of the matter is this: If you, or any other living, breathing, whining non-achiever wants to make the 6 figure income of a professional pilot - its an open door thats available to you. I've laid it out for you. Its there for the taking. All you have to do is go for it. You
can't sit on the sideline and whine though. Whining won't get you into the Captains seat on a B-767. You also can't leap from your Piper Cherokee into the left seat of that B-777 or B-727. There are no short cuts!! But you can get there; many have made it. So can you. But if you don't want it bad enough to pay the price, or you dont have the commitment, dedication, enthusiasm or determination to get there.....then STOP YOUR BITCHING.

Because, you see, just as much as you obviously don't care what it takes for
an individual to make it to the left seat of a B-747 with 400 passengers on board, we dont give a rats ass that you don't care !! We'll do what we have to do to protect our profession, careers, benefits and salaries. It wasn't a cake walk to get here.....thats obvious because you're not among those that

Have another slice of pizza, flip to a different channel and stop bashing those who chose a tougher career.

DON'T COMPARE MY JOB TO OTHER JOBS!!! A lot has been said and written in the press concerning pilots' salaries and compensation. We have been told about how much it will cost our company, our job has been compared to others, and various subtle and not so subtle threats and intimidation tactics have been hurled at our group. In light of the current situation, please allow me, a pilot to give you a small glimpse into my world...


...How many boardrooms explode over Long Island Sound?
...How many meetings conclude with hundreds of dead bodies?
...How many trucks cost $82 million dollars?
...How many doctors spend half the month away from their families?
...Do the children of media representatives cry when Daddy puts on his
uniform to go to work because they know he'll be gone for a week?
...How many salesmen lose their jobs because they have high blood pressure?
...How many lawyers spent Christmas alone in a crash pad?
...When your wife is watching TV and the program is interrupted by a news
flash of an aircraft accident, does she momentarily freeze in fear for what
she might hear?

There is not another profession in the world where the consequences for
mistakes are so catastrophic and unforgiving.

...I pay the price when somebody loads full oxygen containers in the cargo
...I pay the price when a terrorist has a bone to pick
...I pay the price when loaders forget to set the locks
...I pay the price when engineers design a fuel pump incorrectly
...I pay the price when Mother Nature decides to shift the winds...

...Ask the CEO of Value Jet the cost of a DC-9 buried in the
Everglades...The Cost..
...Ask Fred Smith the cost to scrape a DC-10 and MD-11 from the runways at
Steward and Newark...The Cost
...Ask Korean Airlines the cost of a 747 that didn't quite make the runway
at Guam... The Cost
...Ask Fine Air the cost to clean up a DC-8 off a Miami Street... The Cost
...Ask Bob Crandall the cost of a B-757 impacting a Columbian mountain...The
...And if not for their Cool, Calm, Professionalism, what could have been
the cost of a UPS B-727 that suddenly went dark and silent four miles above
Chicago? How much were they worth to you that night? Industry standard or 25
% below? ...... The Cost

...It was I who flew Cobra gunships in the jungles of Vietnam while you worked on your masters degree
...It was I who sits alone at the tip of an F-18 in the silent instant before I am catapulted over a cold, dark sea, while you slept peacefully in your bed
...It was I who, one night watched my wings grow heavy with ice, miles from the safety of the nearest airport praying that I had enough fuel to find clear skies, while you watched Monday night football
...It was I who flew a C-130 into Panamanian gunfire, while you decorated your Christmas tree in 1989
...It was I who faced head-on the fourth largest army in the world over the deserts of Iraq and brought it to its knees, while you watched it on CNN
...It was I who landed an A-6 on a floating piece of tarmac no bigger than your backyard, while you mowed yours
...It was I who orbited in unarmed tankers over enemy territory to replenish others sworn to protect you
...It was I who watched missiles and bullets blossom in my face, yet didn't turn and run, while you watched the flowers in your garden blossom
...It was I who buried a friend
...It is I who knows a little boy who will never play catch with his Dad, so that you may play with your grandchild.

Sir, please don't try to intimidate me.

I am not your enemy, I am your asset, an asset that has experienced and
accomplished things few others dare to try. Realize this and there a few
obstacles we can't overcome. "

User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13856 posts, RR: 17
Reply 19, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4042 times:

WOW  Wow! I am not sure if the last post by Goboeing was written by him or by others or a compilation of articles, but it sure was a long and through post! Perhaps his post should be transferred to and made into a website article. It really seems to say it all about the cost, time, sweat and tears of becoming a professional pilot at a major.

User currently offlineWarren747sp From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3992 times:

What ever the going rate is for any given position. As long as it does not bankrupt the airline that they work for.

User currently offlinePlanemaker From Tuvalu, joined Aug 2003, 7210 posts, RR: 37
Reply 21, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3989 times:

First time I have read that "diatribe" and I laughed - especially the last part with all the "It was I who ..." Gee, give that guy a Congressional Medal of Honor!!!!!

"There is not another profession in the world where the consequences for mistakes are so catastrophic and unforgiving."

Obviously, the guy who wrote the diatribe doesn't read the newspapers or ever watch the news! I guess with his tough career he just doesn't have any time.

[Edited 2004-04-06 01:29:42]

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
User currently offlineCanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2919 posts, RR: 13
Reply 22, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3973 times:

The media loves to quote the salary of a line pilot for an airline. As many of you have already noted, if you want to get a good overview of what a pilot has to go thru to get to that salary, you have to invest a lot of time and money. With the exception of military pilots that move over to the civil aviation sector and have their education paid by the gov't.

Although I'm not a pilot, I do work in the industry and have worked for GA and Commercial carriers. My first job was at a small airport, where most of the people I now know that work as captains for the majors started out after going to an aviation college. At that point they had invested 4 years of their life and 10's of thousands of dollars to get their first job as a CFI. There were many times that I made more money fueling planes after school when I was in college than the instructor made. A couple years later, that guy moves to charter where he sits around the airport all day in Ames, Iowa or Sikeston, MO, or any small airport waiting to take someone home after a meeting. Maybe he made 100-150 bucks that day. A few hundred hours later in a Barron or a King Air, he gets the honor of flying a J-31 for $28,000/year. So, finally after years of training, years of making about the poverty level, he gets a job as an FO for a major.

My question is what would you say his time is worth? You'd willingly pay a doctor with the same argument for his educational debt and years of residency a premium for his services?

You can't look at the 40 year old captains pay and say he's overpaid. Look at his salary at 22, 25, maybe 30. Some physicians work for years to pay off student loans, so do pilots that take out large loans to pay for very expensive flight training. In order to get a broader picture, perhaps you should average their salary over a 15 to 20 year period. You'd probably be very surprised what it is.

I have no problem with it, they have earned it. However, had I not seen where my friends that now fly for airlines started, and seen them suffer financially when they started, I'm sure I would have disagreed with that opinion.

The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineSkymileman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3953 times:

My father is a pilot, and I say No. For the amount of time they spend away from their families, the pay is what they deserve. They also go to a lot of work to get to the high-paying positions. They don't just say, I'm going to be an airline pilot and snap their fingers and it happens. They have to work through the ranks.

User currently offlineChgoflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 622 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (12 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3942 times:

United Pilots are overpaid.. No one should earn that much for driving their company into bankruptcy

Will someone please wake me up in 4 years
25 Bobs89irocz : Are pilots paid to much? NO, not a penny to much..... They are the ones that go through the training sweating there balls off when there instuctor is
26 Planemaker : "You'd willingly pay a doctor with the same argument for his educational debt and years of residency a premium for his services?" Just want to point o
27 Doug_Or : Planemaker- with the concession from most majors and the quicker upgrade times at LCCs, the pay diffrence is shrinking. While I can't speak for Spirit
28 Planemaker : ...the pay diffrence is shrinking. You are right but don't forget that CO went through Chap 11 twice. With the current industry turmoil "market forces
29 Wn700driver : Cetainly pilots are not overpaid. It would take a communist to disagree with that. But, at the same time, neither are executives. A pilot can be respo
30 Post contains images DAirbus : GoBoeing's post raises many issues in today's airline industry. Some good, some bad, and some just pain ugly. Not that I agree with everything that wa
31 Superfly : How on earth can anyone whine about airline pilots being over-paid? For the work they do, I think they don't get paid enough. To be an airline pilot,
32 CWUPilot : I really get tired of people bringing up this topic. No, they are NOT overpaid. The struggle to get to the top of our field is equal to or greater tha
33 Superfly : CWUPilot:P The struggle to get to the top of our field is equal to or greater than the struggle of others It's a greater struggle certainly at the beg
34 Goboeing : The complaints of overpaid pilots also comes from jealousy. Most people in America and the rest of the world are not able to make $100,000 per year. S
35 Superfly : How come we don't see threads about salaries of teh marketing people and management? If you want to talk about over-paid people, they are it. But of c
36 Planemaker : "How come we don't see threads about salaries of teh marketing people and management?" Because there is no marketing/management cartel (...I mean unio
37 Superfly : Planemaker: now in Europe some airlines are starting to pay for primary flight training for qualified "cadets". Oh really. What can I do to qualify? I
38 Planemaker : Unfortunately, yes, you have to a citizen of a European Union country.
39 Post contains images Superfly : Planemaker: Could I just marry a hot Swedish or French babe and qualify? If so I need to call some of my old flings!
40 Planemaker : That is not a bad idea for you! Obviously you really would like to be an airline pilot!
41 Chgoflyer : GoBoeing I stated that I felt that the United Pilots were overpaid. Im not jealous, as I earn plenty of money, I just hate them as a group for the way
42 Post contains images Superfly : Planemaker: That is not a bad idea for you! Obviously you really would like to be an airline pilot! Absolutly! I can't image a better job to have in t
43 FSPilot747 : Bofredrick, you've been a member for over four years, have you not seen this very same topic numerous times before? FSP
44 Chgoflyer : Superfly... I guess you were not traveling thru or out of O'Hare during the United Pilots contract negotiations.
45 Unmlobo : As my dad is an airline pilot so I may be a little biased but I don't think they are overpaid. Anytime that you are in charge of people's lives you de
46 A330Fan1 : It's as simple as this - Pilots have hundreds of people's lives in their hands, so they have a huge responsibility and take care of these people for a
47 Jhooper : That was an excellent article Goboeing . I have no doubt that airline pilots deserve what they get paid. But that aside, I would like to ask about why
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