I agree totally with SWAbubba. What you study rarely has an impact on your aviation career, at least in the US.
I am a pilot for SWISS International Air Lines, just getting furloughed almost as I write this. This airline was formed out of the old Crossair and much of the former Swissair. Many Swissair pilots had degrees in engineering of some sort, but even that was not directly related to aviation. Many Crossair pilots had careers in something completely unrelated to aviation. One captain I used to fly with is a part-time construction manager. He works 60% for the airline and the other 40% at the construction site. And he is an excellent pilot.
I cannot say much about the salaries at the US majors, but don't think too hard about those because right now at least there is no chance to get into them. The so-called "regional" airlines are where the jobs are right now, with the exception of some of the low-cost airlines. I think that the days of the $300,000 annual salaries are going to come to an end anyway.
For my company I was based in a place which is not my home. So I was actually only home about 9-10 days per month. The other days I was at my crew base flying and of those 20 odd days I was in a night stop about 5 nights or so. Lately though because of scheduling changes we did basically only nightstops, so I was doing a lot of hotel time. Not a lot of fun, but I saw some cool cities in Europe. Plus you pile up the expense money, or "Per Diem" as it is called in the US.
Best airline..... ??? Probably the best airline to work for is the one which provides the best job security!! Right now in the US that would probably be Southwest.
Best City....?? Whereever you call home is the best city IMHO. Flying in and out of ZRH
is not a lot of fun all the time but it is my home (at least my European home) and so for me it is the best city to fly from. If I flew in the States I would like to be based in any of several places: Minneapolis, San Diego, Washington DC or Orlando. These are places I like for various reasons.
Now the best question: What is the benefit of being a pilot?? What a question! We have the best office in the world!! Period. Need I say more???