How much is enough $$$ ?

BigFlyr

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Just wondering what the average pilot out there thinks is enough money to make it worth while living out of a suitcase until the big "SIX-OH". Seriously... Top pay and how long to achieve it...Flying any jet that hauls at least 50 pax.

I'll start by putting my .02 in... How about $30K as a first year FO, $50K by the third year and $100K by the 10th year assuming you're a captain by then... After that it would depend on the equipment being flown.
 
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CRJ_Driver

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How about

Why ask for one meelion dollars when we could ask for one thousand dollars? muhhhhaahahahahahahaha

Regional

Year 1 - FO Pay in training w/ hotel provided
$24 hr
2 - 35
5 - 45-50

capt.

1 - 60
3 - 69
5 - 73
 

PilotOnTheRise

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1st year regional - $30K (hey ... you need to be able to live comfortably and some first year FO's have families, they aren't just 23 year old single guys.)

3rd Year Regional FO - $45K

1st Year Regional Capt. - $60K (As a captain, making double what you made as a first year FO is a good way to go.)

Top Off Salary - Regional Capt. - $100K

1st Year Major FO - $45K

3rd Year Major FO - $60K

1st Year Capt. - $75K

Top Off Salary - Major Capt. - $250K+

I personally think pilot pay is OK other than the first year. If they raised that about $10K it would make alot of people happier!
 

asacap

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$100,000 max for regional captain? We already have 70 seat captains making more than that. How about minimum wage, or better yet, FREE. That sounds great.

Lets not go backwards!!!
 

surfnole

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How about a starting salary equal to that of the TSA screeners?
 

asacap

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hey flyingtoilet,

I agree 100%. I don't mean to sound greedy but an airline pilots career is more tempermental than any other field. There are a million violations, illnesses, and economic conditions that can freeze, slow down, or totally ruin your career. Not to mention that a mistake can cost you your own life. If you are lucky enough to make it to the top of your airline, then there are great rewards. How about the eastern, pan-am, braniff, and twa pilots who had to start over at the bottom, ask them if they are paid too much. What about the past several decades where many regional pilots qualified for food stamps. Also, the national airline pilots are not making a killing either. There are a few airline pilots that make a ton of money and receive all the attention when it comes to pilot salaries, but for the rest of us, it's simply not that way. I would never want to hurt the bottom line of my airline and I would take a pay cut in a second if it meant saving the airline or to prevent furloughs. On top of that, fair is fair. I'm not going to put a number on what we are worth, but have you looked at what management makes(no medical, checkrides, or emergencies). I know, we shouldn't compare, I just thought I would say it.
 

BigFlyr

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asacap said:
$100,000 max for regional captain? We already have 70 seat captains making more than that. How about minimum wage, or better yet, FREE. That sounds great.

Lets not go backwards!!!
Sorry, didn't mean to imply maxed out at 100K, I just meant at least 100K by the 10th year... MINIMUM. Of course, I think everyone should be into six figures by the 5th year as a Captain, regardless if you're at a major or a national or regional.

Realistically, now just flying your guarantee... say an average of about 70 to 80 hours per month I DONT think there are too many regional pilots out there making 100K per year or more. More like 65K... Isn't it pathetic?:(
 
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bssthound

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How about .50/hr more than Airline X?? You know, "Airline X just signed a new contract . . . . "
 

kilomike

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It saddens me that a first year, regional airline pilot makes less than a first year electrical apprentice. Should be at least the same (27K!) or more!! It's wrong when a regional pilot has passengers' lives at stake and they make so little.
 

PilotOnTheRise

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I didn't realize the CRJ700 captains were making more than that. I guess we can raise that $100K than.
 

AAflyer

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Nice to see a change

Last I heard all pilots at the majors are greedy. A jet captain on a 70 seat jet makes 100k plus, but I am over-paid as an FO making $120K on a jet that carries over 210 passengers and makes a mint off of carrying cargo.

Intresting, this is about the only profession I have heard counterparts complain about how much their peers make.

It would be nice however to see regional pay rasied. I think it is INTOLERABLE that a new jet FO makes about the same if not less than a major airline flight attendant in her/his second year.

AAflyer:D
 

Rvrrat

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Different perspective...

Why wait until 60???

Once a day is passed, it can not be reclaimed though I admit to attempting to reclaim some of those naps I tossed off as a child. :)

If one is being paid to do what one enjoys, one is way ahead of the average.

The point is, what has true meaning in life.
Financially, in my case, I would only need 6 years of 100K+ income to become self sustaining, meaning I'd retire outright well before 60. Too much hiking, camping & canoeing to be done to spend more years working than I must even in spite of enjoying what I do for employment.
My wife puts it best. "Time & Love are the true currencies of life."
 

enigma

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How much is enough?

Two points.
One, I personally want to see comparable worth. A pilot with 170 lives in his hand should be compensated at a level that compares to other persons who hold peoples lives in their hand. Let's say that the average airline Captain carries 200 pax per day and flies 190 days per year. Said Captain will carry 38000 pax per year. If you figure that the average pax pays $300 per year for life insurance, those 38000 pax are paying 11.4 million a year just for life insurance. If you divide 11.4 mil by the number of days worked per year and you get $60K. So, in a very rough calculation, using assumed numbers, we can arrive at one component of a pilots worth; that being the worth of keeping people alive.
Now, if we attempt to calculate what a pilot produces using the same number of pax carried per year, and assuming that the company profits only $20 per pax; and assuming that the pilots are due ten percent of the profits.. we come up with another $76K (or $38 for one pilot). If you take these numbers ($60K and $38K) you come up with what I believe to be the minimum dollar figure that an average Captain should make. $98,000 per year.

Point number two. None of that matters because wages are determined by what the other guy is willing to work for.

As for me, If I can make significantly more flying than I can turning wrenches, I will continue flying. That means that I will be content with around $100K. Not that I won't continue to try and make more, it's just that $100K is about my minimum.

regards
8N
 

surplus1

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Reading this thread makes it rather clear why "regional" pay is what it is.

Many contributors have said what they "want", others what they think is "fair", etc., etc. At the same time, the posters don't agree either on what they "want" nor on what is "fair". Is it any wonder that management ignores both?

Still other posters make reference to numbers that apparently they have "heard" about, in major airline contracts. Again numbers that they "want" or "like". We pilots think of ourselves as superior beings entitled to this, that and the other. Management thinks of us as work units. A necessary expense that must be kept as low as possible. Reality is we are both right.

Gentlemen, unless there is a logical basis for determining how much a person should be paid to do a particular job and the resultant number can be justified to management, all of this guess work has no purpose.

No company will pay you what you "want" merely because you want it. Likewise, no company will pay you what you think is "fair" because you think it. "Fair" is not a part of management's vocabulary, unless speaking of their own compensation.

Supply and demand is a major factor. As long as there are more people available to fill a particular job than there are jobs to be filled, wages will be low and those who want the job will make wages even lower by competing with each other regardless of the pay. That is exactly what pilots do and they don't do it only at the "regionals". They do it at every company that does not have a long entrenched labor union to negotiate higher wages.

Just look at how much a pilot is paid to fly an A-320 at JetBlue compared to NWA or U. If that's not enough compare a DC-9 at Spirit or AirTran to the same DC-9 at Delta or American. Do you think a 747 Captain at Atlas makes the same money as a 747 Captain at UAL or NWA? Or an MD-11 Captain at FDX?

Even when there is a "union", the amount of leverage available to a pilot at TSA or CHQ or MESA, is not the same as what's available at Comair or ASA or ACA or AWA. The unity of the particular pilot group, the size of the group, the condition of the Company, and the experience of the union are all factors. The willingness of the "big union" to support the effort is also a factor. Finally, the knowledge of how to calculate what is really an appropriate wage for a particular piece of equipment is also a factor.

Something also absent from the remarks on this thread so far is that no one has mentioned other items that might be in a particular contract besides the "book rates" that you are talking about. Example, if the Company pays its own money into a retirement fund, is the pilot making the $$ per hour that you print or is he making that much more?

The chosen method of compensation is also a big factor. Is it better to be paid $50/hr for each hour you fly or $25/hour for each hour you are at work? Should all Captains at airline X be paid the same base rate + longevity, regardless of aircraft type, or should the pay change with the aircraft type as it does in most cases? Which is best? Which is "fair"?

There are all sorts of contractual provisions that cost money. Each one of them "adds" to what the particular pilot is really "making per hour". How much, must be determined. The Company doesn't really care about your "pay rate", but it does care how much it "costs" to keep you in that seat. The total cost, not just your hourly pay. Revenue - expenses = profit. We are an expense and the cost of labor is the highest item of expense at any airline.

First year pay in the regional is very low. I agree that it is too low. How does that happen? Here's a couple (not all) of the reasons.

First, the regional new hire generally has little experience. He can't sell his "experience" because he has none. There is a cost associated with his initial training and it is a big one.

Second, most of the new hire regional pilots don't hesitate to let you know that they are "going to a major" at the first opportunity. Why would a company want to invest in someone that they know doesn't want to be there and are not likely to keep? Why would the pilots that aren't "going anywhere" want to do that and make less so they can pay the "leavers" more?

Third, the senior types in the regional airline don't think that they are making enough pay either. When they negotiate a contract, they are seldom willing to give up dollars that could be paid to them so that they can be paid to someone that just walked in the door and may be gone tomorrow. They aren't going to make too many sacrifices for that.

There are thousands of "new" guys with 500 - 1500 flight hours who are banging on the doors of the regional airlines every day in search of the same 200 jobs. Supply and demand. Any one of these folks just "wants and interview" and a job, and very few ever say to the recruiter, "well what do you pay" then when they get the answer say, "well sorry, I'm not interested in the job".

How many of you are willing to say, "sorry, I won't work for that" when you're instructing in a 152 and the dude is offering you a right seat in a shiny new jet that you would almost "kill" to fly? Answer: NONE. I'll bet 999 out of a thousand never even ask what the pay is. Think that's going to change any time soon?

Now go back to the "Third" reason above. Your entry wage is negotiated by people you don't know and who don't know you. How much time to you suspect they spend worrying about something that does not affect them? I know, that's cruel but I'm just telling it like it is.

First year Captain wages? Who makes Captain in their 1st year? That's just a number that isn't paid to anyone because there are no 1st yr captains in most airlines. The pilots already there are going to put the available money where there are people. The other numbers evolve from that.

If my airline has no pilots with 12 years seniority, but a lot of pilots with 6 years seniority, why am I worrying about 12 year rates or 18 year rates? Do you really believe that a Company is going to pay the same rate that another company pays for a 12 year captain to a 4-year captain? No way Jose.

The rates are going to be determined at the companies that have been there the longest and by what those pilots are willing to accept. The rest is just fall-out.

Finally, most of us belong to the same "union", but that union isn't really a "union". It's a federation of many unions. It's run and controlled by major airline pilots for their benefit exclusively. Do you think a Delta pilot really cares what the Company pays a Comair pilot or a Chautauqua pilot? The answer is NO. He cares about himself, United and American, but not one bit about Comair, let alone Chautauqua or Trans States.

The "union", doesn't care either. Remember, its not run by regional pilots and they have NO INFLUENCE within it. They're just there. The only reason they were ever admitted is to make them "union people" so that they won't cross a picket line if there is ever a strike at a major. They get more than they would if they had no union at all, and the big boys think that's just fine, since they are only "there" until they get enough "flight time" to work for one of the "real airlines" anyway.

Like it or not, that's the attitude of 95% of the "mainline" pilots. They couldn't care less what happens at a "regional" unless they think it directly affects them. In most cases, it doesn't. If they could put the regionals out of business tomorrow and take the flying for themselves, they would do it in a heartbeat. It's hard enough to get them to say good morning, let alone to support any real effort on the part of regional pilots to better their lot. We are not one of them, we are seen as a threat to them. They want to get rid of us, not help us to make more money.

Lately they have decided that they want to fly the regional airplanes themselves, but NOT ONE of them is willing to take the regional pilots with the airplanes. Don't believe me? Just look at whats happening at USAirways right now. The big boy is in trouble and needs more RJs. He'll get them, but they'll be flown by the furloughed big boys. If that results in the regional guys losing their jobs, that's just too d@mned bad. If the regional guys have to give up their seniority to the mainline guys, so what? That is the mainline pilot's position and it is their union's position too. Ugly? Yep. Factual? Yep.

There you have it. Not pretty, but true. No Company is going to "give" us what we "want" or what we think is "fair". You don't get what you "deserve", you get what you negotiate. You can't negotiate successfly when you don't agree, have no standard to go by, and no union to really support your efforts. The "big union" belongs to the "big guys" and they don't care about anyone but themselves. Don't like that? TS.

Good luck
 
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DC-3TP

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Government pilots like US Forest Service pilots who fly turbine DC-3's and Shorts 3-30's and Beech Barons in low level mountainous terrain with air tankers and helicopters and other resources envolved in fire supression, only make a base salary of about 62K. All the fully qualified Leadplane and Smokejumper pilots are aircraft and mission instructor/ inspector pilots. During the long fire season the pilots will only get about about 4 days off per month and do not always get days off at home.

The contract tanker pilots are on the road for 3 to 5 month at a time without seeing home. I don't know what they are paid but I'm sure it in not enough. They are extremely skilled pilots who fly in some old equipment in a very unforgiving environment. Maybe someone who knows more about the tanker industry can add to this. Most of these pilots do it because they like what they do and enjoy making a difference helping save property and natural resources and in many cases lives.
 

jetexas

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Regional pilots should get paid no less than others who have high tech jobs. Engineers, med techs, etc. all start out around 50K/year at least. Of course, they don't pay for their jobs and most likely would not work for less than they make anyway. Supply and Demand and corporate greed run the airlines. As long as pilots are willing to work for beans, thats what the companies will be willing to pay.
 

PilotOnTheRise

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Without pilots the airlines are nothing, they would be out of business. The airlines should show that respect to the pilots and pay them for it. In reality, it isn't the management or anyone else who are the backbones of the airlines, it is the pilots.
 

bssthound

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Airline management is in the business of making money. The less money they pay labor the more money they clear at the end of the year. Period. That is why there are labor unions. If management could get away with paying a 777 capt $30,000 a year they'd do it.
 
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