People always hear the 30 hours max in a week and think that pilots have it easy. Thats 30 hours with the door closed actually flying. That doesn't count preflights, postflights, flight planning/preparation, layovers, times between flights, etc. 30 hours in a week can equate very easy to five 12-14 hour days.
People also always hear that we're required, and given, at least 8-9 hours of rest a night, also totally wrong. This is 8-9 hours from checkout to checkin. Checkout is 15 minutes after the flight ends, often we're still deplaning passengers and we're officially on our "rest period". Checkin is 30 minutes before the flight leaves, often we're already out at the airplane preflighting when our rest period ends. In the middle, these 8 hours, is getting the airplane all buttoned up, walking to the hotel van, waiting on it, riding to the hotel, checking in, getting to the room, getting settled, getting to bed, unwinding/falling asleep, waking up, getting ready, eating breakfast, riding the hotel van, going through security, walking to the gate, and getting on the plane. Its especially worse when its an international turn and theres going through customs on each end too. Quite a bit to do in 8 hours... usually it leads to as little as 4 hours of sleep.
I've had days recently where I checked in at 6am after 5 hours of sleep and proceeded to be on duty for 15 1/2 hours, 9 of that being flying time. Rest for a few hours, then get up and do it again.
I swear, if a reporter had to ride along on a 4 or 5 day trip with a regional airline pilot, their report would get turned into that week's "heres how you're all going to die" story on 20/20.