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Airline Flying: just a job after a while

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Well-known member
Jan 30, 2002
Have been talking to a lot of pilots lately and they say that airline flying just becomes a job after a couple of years and I should look into airline management instead while flying as a hobby?

The argument is that management treats people like dirt and that is the real state of the industry. Furthermore,airline flying is too hyped by all these fllight schools and thus one does not get the full picture.

I have been talking to pilots for a while now and most of the older/senior pilots seem to agree that the airline lifestyle is not at all what it is made out to be.

So could anyone please give me their experience and opinions so I can get a better understanding.


Eventually everything is just a job - even things you love to do can grind you down, because there are unpleasant and repetative aspects to everything. And nothing stays exciting forever.

My advise: don't expect any job to give you a fulfilling life.
I think it depends on who you work for and what kind of attitude you bring to work each day.

I have NO desire to fly heavy jets across the ocean, up all night, sleep all day, autopilot on for 12 hours, one or two landings a month and always an ILS to get you there. Boreing.... I would go crazy with a job like that.

I thank the good Lord each day that I work where I do. I got to do four legs this morning, watched the sun rise on the Arctic circle, took pictures of Mt. McKinley with the digital camera, did a flaps 40 to a 6,500 foot snow covered strip on the top of the world and got off at mid field. Loving Life!

You see, for me, it is all about making the most of each day. If you are not happy where you are working, then do something about it! Find your "nitch", a place where you belong. Life is way to short to look back at the end of a career and think you could have done it better, or worse, you should have done it different.

I think you are wise to ask these questions and think about these things early in your flying career. For me it was simple. I knew that I could never rest until I worked for this specific company doing this specific job. You need to find out what it is you are suppose to do in this life and then make it happen!
Good luck to you.
No matter how bad it gets out there I can't imagine doing anything else. It is still the best job in the world.
The old joke sums it up pretty well....
A guys asks an airline pilot how he likes his job. The pilot says "Well, it took 30,000 dollars to get my ratings and licences, I flew as a CFI for 3 years on 500 dollars a month pay. They all told me it would be great. Well, here I am at the airlines now. The days are 10-14 hours long, weather sucks, schedulers beat you to death, and management makes your life a bittch. I am gone 350 hours a month, and just darn tired."
The guys asked the pilot "why don't you get an easier job?"
The pilot replied "WHAT?!!! And quit FLYING?!!!!"
That's pretty much how it is. A tough way to live, but a great way to make a living.
Write this down - in the end, the only things that matter are your friends and your family. A job is just a job, no matter where you work.

Except for the guy that preps the models for the Victoria's Secret photo shoots. But you probably have to know somebody to get that one.....
Did 20 years in the military, all flying. 2.5 yrs in civilian world. Wouldn't trade it for a minute! Was it all fun, no but the rewards, satisfaction far outweighs ANY of the negatives. I would disagree with the person who said ANY job gets old after awhile. I changed jobs from the military because I knew I wasn't going to fly as much as I had previously. So now I'm flying 700-1000 hrs a year & love it. You have to have the right attitude, family situation, etc. to be able to live this lifestyle. I had plenty of guys say that if they had my family they would've never gotten out of flying...the spouse got them out & other demands. That can make life plenty miserable. Its a package deal, the spouse, family, flying. Its a balance but at times it can get out of balance & if life at home sucks then work will too. Keep asking, its not a life for everyone but if you want challenges, have a good attitude & want a different day/view from the office every day then its the job for you. cheers,

i too thank the Lord each day for giving me the opportunity to do this. I did something before flying & while I loved it (teaching), I enjoy this much more!

I'd say the people that say airlines aren't all they're cracked up to be, haven't flown for the airlines.

Granted, flying does become a job and maybe a little boring but think about it -- do you really want it to be exciting? Accidents and incidents are exciting. I want flying to be somewhat 'boring.'

I have flown as a flight instructor, ferry pilot, frieght dog, flight engineer, first officer and captain for the airlines. Being an airline pilot is the greatest job I have ever had.

It is a great job.

Coming in to a busy airport early in the morning or early evening, on short final flying over all those cars lined up on the highway or interstate during rush hour sums it up.

But I must say, flying has its moments whether they are boring or exciting. I have been on both sides of the fence. Being a profesional A&P for a couple of 121 airlines, I have gone back and forth on being a pilot and being a mechanic (you have to do what you got to do in the aviation business). Anyway, In the poring rain changing a fuel control I had wished I could be back in the cockpit, on the other hand, on that 8th leg of the day on a 4 day trip wishing I could just be changing that Main wheel assembly or troubleshooting that autopilot.

Pro's and con's to every job. Like a previous poster said, you have to do what makes you happy. I'm just glad I can be just as happy fixing them or flying them.

I will add this also, there is no business like the aviation business. Whether you are a mechanic, maintenance controller, airline captian, frieght dog, you name it, there is a definite brotherhood there in all of it, I'm glad to be part of it.

Do what makes you happy.

Flying beats working for a living. Flying is what you make of it. if you're out to have fun and a good time, you will. if your a slam clicker or an a$$, you won't. as for management, you must remove your brain first. have fun.

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