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Why Do Pilots Get Paid More For Bigger Aircraft?  
User currently offlineSacamojus From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 228 posts, RR: 1
Posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13408 times:

My question is why does a 777 captain get paid more than a 737 captain? Doesn't the 737 captain have to perform more take offs and landings? I can understand getting paid more for senority, but is the really a big difference between flying a baby boeing and big boeing? Please feel free to include Airbus products into the mix.

59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4680 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13395 times:

It's all about responsibility


For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7539 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13395 times:

Your responsible for more passengers.


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineJetJeanes From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1431 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13378 times:

Because theres less to do .. no thats the way it always has been work your way up from a smaller to a larger plane, but its experiance and primarley senority kicks in.... I believe if say a 747 captn goes back to say a 737 he is paid the max
that is allowed per hr in that aircraft.



i can see for 80 miles
User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13370 times:

Quick related question --

What pilots have the highest annual pay rates in the US today?

E.g., AA 777 captains? UA 747 captains? NW 747 captains?

How much are these guys making now?



"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13321 times:

Quoting JRadier (Reply 1):
It's all about responsibility



Quoting Burnsie28 (Reply 2):
Your responsible for more passengers

Mechanics don't get paid more if they are working on a 737 or a 777......!!!!! It's the same responsibility....if not more so.....!! They are resposable for the passengers and the crew.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineCV580Freak From Bahrain, joined Jul 2005, 1033 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13302 times:

Quoting Ssides (Reply 4):
What pilots have the highest annual pay rates in the US today?

Try FedEx or UPS .........



One day you are the pigeon, the next the statue ...
User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5523 posts, RR: 56
Reply 7, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13301 times:

For pay rates, go here, click on the airlines listed or to the right under "airline profiles" to get other pay rate info. I googled pilot pay rates.


You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineAvConsultant From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1360 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 13282 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 5):
Mechanics don't get paid more if they are working on a 737 or a 777......!!!!! It's the same responsibility....if not more so.....!! They are resposable for the passengers and the crew.

The IAM was not as convincing as ALPA. In the 70's, the IAM lost a Notice to Propose Rule Making (NPRM) to create an aircraft type certificates for mechanics. The economic results would have killed the industry.


User currently offlineDeltaGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13240 times:

It all has to do with liability.

The 737 pilot may move 250 people a day, in 4 or so flights, and the 777 pilot may move the same amount of folks in one flight.

Both pilots had the same amount of lives at stake.

But the 777 pilot has the biggest single liablity at one time- a pilot won't crash more than one airliner in a day, hopefully.

Both have to be extremely competent, and have immense responsiblity, but one seat commands more responsibility, senority, and pay than the other.

DeltaGuy


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6484 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13226 times:

Don't forget the prestige factor, or: "My schwanz is bigger than yours..."


When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineFXramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7279 posts, RR: 85
Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13176 times:
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Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 7):
For pay rates, go here

 confused 

This website is okay for a rough estimate.

FX MD11 Capt with hire date of 1983 makes almost $300,000.
AA 757/767 Capt with hire date of 1979 makes $275,000.

 twocents 


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6899 posts, RR: 46
Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13099 times:

Quoting AvConsultant (Reply 8):
The economic results would have killed the industry.

I have to take issue with that-the market would have adjusted. But it might have had unpleasant effects and led to non-union airlines (i.e.LCC's) emerging sooner and more powerfully driving out more legacy carriers sooner.

Quoting N328KF (Reply 10):
Don't forget the prestige factor, or: "My schwanz is bigger than yours..."

 checkmark 
You got it.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5523 posts, RR: 56
Reply 13, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13028 times:

Quoting FXramper (Reply 11):
This website is okay for a rough estimate.

Sorry everyone.

www.airlinepilotcentral.info/airlines/legacy.html

Seems like a pretty good rough estimate, but it will help those who want to know figure it out.



You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineDutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 57
Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13014 times:

Quoting Sacamojus (Thread starter):
My question is why does a 777 captain get paid more than a 737 captain?

Because size does matter......all kidding aside, it has to do with seniority and negotiated pay scales, and the fact that the most senior pilots fly the largest airliners.


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 12946 times:

Quoting FXramper (Reply 11):
FX MD11 Capt with hire date of 1983 makes almost $300,000.
AA 757/767 Capt with hire date of 1979 makes $275,000.

How did you get those numbers..... My math is showing less then that. You know flight crews don't work the 2020 hour year we do... they work (fly) 1/2 that.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2434 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 12946 times:

If it based on passengers a pilot is responsible for, then why do the cargo airlines have the higher salaries?

[Edited 2007-02-20 00:46:12]


Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3805 posts, RR: 29
Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 12902 times:

Quoting JRadier (Reply 1):
It's all about responsibility

As well as productivity, as in moving more pax (equals more revenue) an equal number of miles in the same amount of time as pilots of smaller aircraft. Surprised this was nowhere mentioned in any of the 16 previous replies.


User currently offlineFr8Mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5400 posts, RR: 14
Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12796 times:

You make the assumption that all operators pay by weight. They do not. UPS pays strictly by seat and time (seniority).


When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineColeplane From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 172 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12796 times:

Quoting Sacamojus (Thread starter):
My question is why does a 777 captain get paid more than a 737 captain?

More so than any other profession I can think of (other than maybe the captain of an ocean liner), a pilots responsibility escalates given a normal path of time, successful execution of piloting and administrative duties, and professional conduct. The salary of a 777 captain has been earned through years (and years) of advancements. These advancements have been awarded as the pilot a) generates hours of experience gradually on larger and more sophisticated aircraft that carry more passengers and 2) conducts him/herself in a professional manner in line with company policy. This experience equates to his/her company trusting in their ability to handled larger aircraft and greater liability (passengers, more expensive equipment). Captains of large aircraft can command high salaries as the liability has increased significantly. Airlines are willing to pay for this experience and trust that their customer and equipment will get from point A to B without incident.



"About a nine on the tension scale there Rupe."
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6899 posts, RR: 46
Reply 20, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12774 times:

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 16):
If it based on passengers a pilot is responsible for, then why do the cargo airlines have the higher salaries?

Because the air freight companies are in much better financial shape than the airlines.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineColeplane From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 172 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 12703 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 5):
Mechanics don't get paid more if they are working on a 737 or a 777

You may not like my answer, but would have to answer this in the form of a question. Why didn't the mechanic pursue a career as a pilot? Does an airline mechanic - and I seriously don't know because I've never been one - get raises or bonuses if they, the company, or the division perform? Is there an opportunity for advancement and/or more pay in this field? If not, I'd consider another field. On the other hand, maybe they simply enjoy their profession.

Before lashing out at me, I sell further processed foods for a living and earn a modest income.

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 16):
If it based on passengers a pilot is responsible for, then why do the cargo airlines have the higher salaries?

My guess is insurance. I know of no less than three prominant airlines who didn't make it after catastrophic accidents.



"About a nine on the tension scale there Rupe."
User currently offlineJimbobjoe From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 653 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 12561 times:

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 17):
As well as productivity, as in moving more pax (equals more revenue) an equal number of miles in the same amount of time as pilots of smaller aircraft. Surprised this was nowhere mentioned in any of the 16 previous replies.

Good point. This is how the acting unions respond to questions like "Why does really famous actor X get paid $12 million for acting in a movie that only required 20 days of his time?" Well, famous actor X's name will help the movie make $30 million in sales...and he deserves a solid percentage of that. (Or, alternatively, the actor always deserves a certain percentage of the movie's profits, and that escalates with how popular the movie is.)

In either event, I see the point that if the spread is based on seniority and seniority also dictates the size of aircraft one can fly, then it will appear that there is a correlation between the size of aircraft flown and the pay.

I wonder if this difference is observable in an area with a lot of new pilots and new airlines--like the middle east, or India. I suspect not so much.

Hell, even Continental has pared their pay rates down to wide body versus single aisle. Since that implies that a 777 pilot makes the same as a 762 pilot with the same seniority, the whole responsible for more passengers thing gets thrown out the window.


User currently offlineBaron95 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1335 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 12392 times:

Guys. Come on. It is all about union rules. Pay has NOTHING to do with responsibility.

The pay scales of 777/747 captains was cut by about 1/3 at most major US airlines since 9/11. Does that mean that their responsibility is now 1/3 less? Does that mean that they are now 1/3 less capable? Of course not.

Airline captain salaries (in the US and many other places) are an artificially maintained, non-competitive, union-imposed quantity. It has NO bearing on economic productivity, liability, skill or responsibility.

Captains of 777 make more money then captains of 737s because that is what the unions negotiated/imposed. Simple as that.

Is there a value for a certain number of years of experience? Yes. Do you need more experience to fly international routes than domestice ones? Yes. Is it taken into account in Airlines pay scale? NO. Example: Airforce officer with 15 years/15,000 hrs of experience flying C-5s or KC-10s all over the world, leaves the service, joins Delta airlines. How does he start? By UNION RULES on the right seat of the smalest aircraft in the fleet. John Q. Public, recent ERAU graduate, 1,000 hrs of flight instructor, 2,000 hours flying checks at night (total 3 years) joins Delta. How does he start? Same thing. Right seat of smallest fleet type. How do they advance? Simply by number of years in the company (assuming they are both decent pilots and don't screw up any check rides, etc).

It is all about UNION rules/distortions to the market place.



Killer Fleet: E190, 737-900ER, 777-300ER
User currently offlineNorcal773 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1447 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 12375 times:

On the website provided above, anyone else notice Northwest has pay rates for 787 pilots in there? Interesting.


If you're going through hell, keep going
25 IPFreely : The website shows the hourly rate and the monthly "guarantee", in hours. Assuming it's correct and current, an AA 757 captain with 10 years experienc
26 Monteycarlos : I don't know about what anyone else has said as being factual or not, but I know that the way it works in many airlines is more to do with the flight
27 B6WNQX : If I am not misteaken, WN pays their pilots (whom all fly the 737's) some of the highest, if not the highest wages in the US. After most majors impos
28 ZKSUJ : I think it also has to do with seniority. I mean this in the sense that the most experienced guys seem to be on the bigger long haul aircraft. This pa
29 Monteycarlos : Well yes, but most senior pilots have the responsibility of being training and checking captains or even management pilots, senior base pilots and fl
30 Jayspilot : The math that works for me is to take the hourly rate multiply times .85 and then 100 for the annual pay. 140 per hour captain makes about $119,000 pe
31 EXAAUADL : it is a revenue thing: More revenue = more pay for pilots.
32 Bond007 : That's the answer right there! An ERJ pilot has 'responsibility' for far more people and performs many more takeoffs/landings (the most critical func
33 Skyexramper : Unions is why. Airline would much rather just pay them nothing like a regional pilot.
34 BillReid : It has nothing to do with responsibility at all. A B777 pilot has just as much responsibility as a B717 pilot and technically if a pilot can fly a B71
35 C133 : The historic justification has always been productivity. Revenue. Factor in responsibility if you want, but the word is productivity. WN alters the dy
36 Avallillo : Pilots, at least at most unionized airlines, are paid according to what is essentially a weight/speed formula, the origins of which date back to the i
37 Ultrapig : Yep I know its more responsiblity to fly a bigger rather than a smaller plane-but which is more difficult and which takes more skill-(I don't know I'm
38 HighFlyer9790 : absolutely. most people assume its the opposite. union union union...
39 Airplanenut : Don't forget that cargo pilots are also more likely to be flying worse hours, as much of their movements are to a sort in the middle of the night, or
40 Scramjetter : Baron95 said it best, it's all about unions and bargaining power. I will add to that generic Corporate Culture, because useless top management also ge
41 AirWillie6475 : I don't think it's responsibility, after all a Gulfstream pilot gets paid in some cases as much as a 747 captain for flying 2 or 3 people. It's all ab
42 AirWillie6475 : No Fedex/UPS has the highest in the U.S and probably the world. A 2nd year FO at Fedex makes as much as a senior Jetblue captain for example, that's
43 Starlionblue : What most people are describing in this thread is a North American centric view. Much of the world is quite different. At many airlines, pay is not ba
44 LXA340 : Nevertheless when an Airline has Airbus aircraft in their fleet eg. Lufthansa with Airbus A319/20/21 for shot haul and the A330 /340's for long haul,
45 Flyorski : I've heard this as well.
46 Bucky707 : A pilot flying an RJ does not have the same 'responsibility' for people as a long haul pilot flying a 767 or bigger. While he may carry as many peopl
47 Floridaflyboy : ABX Air (one of DHL's US carriers, and the former airline of Airborne Express) is right up there as well. In some cases they're higher than FedEx, I
48 DeltaJet757 : Bigger plane=more people to transport safely. Sometimes the bigger planes are harder to fly or take more work to operate. (just my opinion, no need to
49 C133 : Very clear and accurate explanation, Avallillo. I think a case could be made that the comuter crew flying 8 or 10 legs a day in all kinds of weather
50 Post contains images Bond007 : OK, I'll tell you again, but it has nothing to do with how much pilots get paid. The most crucial/risky/complex part of any flight is the landing, fo
51 2H4 : In terms of crashes and fatalities, it's important to remember that potential victims are not limited to those on board the aircraft in question. Whe
52 Bucky707 : no doubt, an RJ pilot is exposed to more take offs and landings than a 747 pilot. Still does not change the fact that at any one time, he only has 50
53 2H4 : No, but you didn't address the other examples I provided. A runway incursion is a runway incursion. It doesn't matter whether an airliner nearing V1
54 Aviateur : This is a lame question. It's like asking why sports figures get paid more than schoolteachers. The answer is: because. Because the seniority system r
55 Bond007 : Well, if you take my 'formula' of landings X pax in a given day, then no, he shouldn't be paid the same as a 747 pilot (unless he does 300-400 touch-
56 VEEREF : Works the same at non union carriers as well. Don't forget that those 200k+ salaries are already a thing of the past, representing a scant minority o
57 VEEREF : What airline is that? I was away for 424 hours just last month alone. But I got paid for 65.
58 Post contains images Starlionblue : Not really. How are the lives of the people on the 777 more important than the lives of the people on the RJ? The pilot is responsible for not crashi
59 VEEREF : All of that happens in the US too. Senior pilots often bid into smaller equipment to stay closer to home. Seniority based equipment assignments are n
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