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Major or Corporate


Apr 28, 2002
Total Time
I am a mil pilot retiree pursuing the majors, but I am increasingly becoming interested in a corporate pilot position-- not as a stepping stone to the majors, but as a career.

I suspect that there are corporations out there that are willing to pay top dollar for someone that desires to be part of a company and intends to stay in place for the long-term. Of course, as many have said here, getting in those positions is the "networking" challenge.

I'm wondering if there are any pilots out there that left the "majors" for corporate, and are happier with their job. Conversely, is there anyone out there that was in a "good" corporate pilot job (I'm unable to define exactly), and is less happy with the majors?

Of course, maybe I will be happy to get any job!

Thanks, C


Jul 1, 2002
Total Time
corporate vs. airline

In a nutshell....

As one who has spent 15 years flying "corporate" you can expect a wide range of sceanarios. Ranging from having a fantastic job, flying highly maintained equipment to a bunch of great destinations for an outstanding boss (or corporation). Been there.

To working for a raving lunatic who is a rich spoiled brat and has little regard for the "professionals" he hired to fly his jet. Did that one too.

Most of all I would say this to ANYone looking to get into the corporate world.... be very selective of who you decide to work for. Know going in, what is expected of you and what your schedule is going to consist of.

"Some" corporate jobs require that you are available ALL of the time, with very few (if any) scheduled HARD days off. This can be very demanding on home life.

I have (with very few exceptions) had a fantastic career as a corporate pilot. Met some of the most interesting people in the world, travelled to some outstanding destinations and been all in all very satisfied with the work.

However, I am going on to a "major" for long-term stability & lifestyle/quality of life issues. These are more important than the overall $$$ for me & my family.

Good Luck with whatever you decide to do with your career... I hope that my comments were useful.

Have a GREAT day!
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Jan 12, 2002
Total Time
There are lots of great corp pilots and corp pilot jobs. These people work hard and deserve everyone's respect. However, one corp pilot once told me "Never work for someone who isn't in the business of flying airplanes, because your usually the first to go when they start looking for places to cut costs"
Just a thought


Well-known member
Jan 1, 2002
Total Time
It is only speculation on my part as I have no personal corp. experience but some of the major companies(gas and oil, ford., ie...) have very structured flight departments that offer a comparable salary and quality of life. How you get a foot in the door is another story. I do agree that many of the smaller companies will often make the first cuts to the flight dept.. but Who really knows.. It is all a crap shoot and no one is untouchable these days
Good luck


...in OAK!
Dec 10, 2001
Total Time

I'll share my perspective with you having flown corporate for 15 years before going to an airline and getting furloughed last year:

Corporate pros: rental cars, company credit cards, great meals at elaborate restaurants, 3 - 7 day layovers at resort locations, boating trips on yachts, taking family members on occasional trips, and good initial salary.

Corporate cons: On call 24/7, no schedule...notified about trips less than a week ahead of time, scheduling aircraft inspections and finding replacement aircraft, cleaning aircraft, purchasing and stocking aircraft supplies, finding pilot replacements for time off, getting called at home at all hours. Of course, these can vary with the right job.

Airlines pros: SCHEDULED DAYS OFF, better pay after the first couple years, flying BIG equipment, travel benefits, operational resources, and flying with different crewmembers each month.

Airline cons: no rental cars, no company credit card, short layovers, airport security check-in.

I enjoyed the airline world for quality of life. The trick is to get on with a financially stable airline with a good future so you won't have to go through a furlough. Looks like the corporate world is the place to be at this time....next year should be better in the airline industry for new hires.

Hope this helps.


Living The Dream!
Apr 29, 2002
Total Time
Several years ago I was hired by a Fortune 100 corporate flight department. It was a very large and stable operation with excellent pay and benefits. When hired, I thought I had found my final job in aviation. I left for the airlines 2.5 years later because I didn't like the petty flight department politics, lack of professionalism, and inability to ever have a schedule (imagine 30 years on reserve).

That was my experience, but I have many friends that have greate corporate jobs. My advice is to very carefully research the prospective employer. Make sure that you really get to know the people you will be working with. Realize that even if it looks good now, a change in CEO or Flight Dept. Manager could change the atmosphere of the entire operation for the worse.

Good luck.