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Airline pilot means no control over your life!

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Well-known member
Mar 22, 2005
Well, actually today I don't think too many want to due to the state of the industry. I wouldn't.

Any way here is the deal:

I have been with one of the larger regional airlines for over 5 years. I upgraded to Capt. ASAP because of the PIC time and $$ (what little there is of the $$).

It blows me away how little control over my life. I was on reserve for almost 2 years which of course I had no control over my schedule, worked all holidays. The company always decides my schedule and it is hard to move days off.

Now I can hold a line, but it is one of those lines where scheduling decides what days I work and what days I have off. This month they did not honor my one request for a certain 2 days off and then they packed it full. A few times this month I am basically gone for 5 days.

And to top it off there is little open time trips to pick from and if there was my schedule is so packed with 4 days I can't move any around.

The airlines don't care about families. This is why I won't be around for too long. So if you new pilots are thinking about an airline career take this into consideration.

It is not that great out here because when you upgrade or switch jobs your control over your life goes down the toilet, and it goes down for many years.

The sad thing is a lot more women are getting into this business. I don't know what your schools are telling you but if a family is important to you or you don't want to be 30+ years old to have kids, you might want to do something else.

I love to fly but I don't like the airlines! This is what it is really like out here and I know it is hard to accept this when you are training and this is all you want to do.

The airlines could be a good place but with this constant battle between management, the union and the pilots the airlines will probably never change.

Good luck to all, we need it.
You wanted control over your life, so you became an airline pilot?

Let's take a look at some of the control players...

Airline management


Airport police




Flight delays


Company policy manual

121/135 manual

Union rules

Everybody with more seniority than you has control over some aspect of your life

Anybody with less seniority has you in their sights for a quick move up if they can get you canned

Control? All you can control is your urge to jump back and kiss yourself!
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Do you think pilots are the only employees that have limited control over their lives? What job would give all the control you want over your life, SchoolTeacher, Nurse, CPA, what job? It comes with the territory and is better QOL than many of us saw during military days.
You guys are just right for the airlines, you will let everyone walk all over you and expect little for your very professional and high skills.

If I wanted to be treated like crap, I would not of spent all this time and money to get here.

My point is that when I was training I thought this was a great industry and life would be very good.

It has turned out to be just the opposite and I wanted people to know that.

Yes I am jealous of my friend who is a school teacher. He makes as much money as me, lives in a small town and he is home every night with his kids. He doesn't miss any of his kids games.

My friends who have sales jobs have much more control over their lives and make more $$.

Money is not everything, but family and time is. The airlines have lost it all.
So what career do you suggest that would give you control over your life? Sorry, not many come to the top of my head. I'd say this job gives me more control over my life than most. Welcome to Corporate America! I'm actually pretty impressed how much our management does care; both at this company and my previous one.

I think reality is setting in for the folks who thought the airlines would all be weekends off, work 12 days a month, get paid $200K a year to do it! At the majors by 25! Seeing as we've had many of these threads pop up lately.

None of my friends--pilots or not--have any control over their lives. Yeah, some have holidays off, but they also bring their work home with them every night. Plus, if you think the degradation of pay and benefits (and pensions) is only happening at the airlines, think again.
av8er2 said:
If I wanted to be treated like crap, I would not of spent all this time and money to get here.
When I was in high school, I got tired of my parents, my boss and school administrators pushing me around and telling me what to do. So I showed them, I joined the Navy. :nuts:
So are you considering changing careers or possibly starting a business of your own? Or do you intend to stay on your career path as an airline pilot?
I only got into this business for two reasons--the spiffy uniforms and 10% off the hotel's breakfast buffet!:)

Beertini said:
and 10% off the hotel's breakfast buffet!:)


HAHA, if they even have a buffet!:bawling: !!! Few and far between!!!!!
I don't know what the recruiting poster said at whatever flight school you attended but you're going to have to get in line to complain about having no control over your life. It's a very long line.

I can tell you from the experience of many of my former TWA friends who are now on the street and have tried life outside of aviation that IT SUCKS. Big time.

Owning your own business as your primary source of income sucks. Working sales 80 hours a week sucks. Working for UPS or FedEx outside of the cockpit sucks. Get the picture? Most people in my neighborhood put their kids on the bus and rush off to work (both of them work because they have to--few jobs on the outside pay anywhere near 6 figures). They get home at 6 p.m. and cut the grass and it's lights out by 8:30 to 9. Repeat every friggin' day for the rest of your life...

I've been getting paid to fly for around 20 years. Let me see how many years I really had the schedule I wanted or was home for the holidays. Hummm.... Ok, I got it. How about 2. That's right, I've had perfect QOL for about two years of 20. In 15 years at TWA I worked about 75-80% of the Thanksgivings and Christmases. Most of the kid's birthdays, too. I did get my anniversary off most every year--only because it's three days after Christmas so I generally got back off the trip around that time.

Vacation picks? I've found so many cool things to do during the last two weeks in February. :rolleyes:

I'm here because flying is still fun and that outweighs the other crap. If it doesn't do it for you, start looking for something that does. But be prepared for that to suck, too. Good luck.TC

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