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07 October 2009

How Much Does a Pilot Make?

Airline pilots are a highly trained and very closely regulated group of professionals who have the lives of their passengers and crew in their hands every time they fly. Both the flying public and professional pilots often wonder how much these professionals get paid for their expertise and experience.

For many airlines, especially those in the US, pilots negotiate with their airlines to determine how much flight crew members get paid. One web site, has put the pilot contracts and pay rates for many airlines in one convenient place. There you can find out that first year first officer at Colgan Air makes $21 per hour with a guaranteed minimum of $1,575 per month (about as much as an army private), while the most well-paid senior captain at Southwest makes $198 per hour with a guaranteed minimum of $15,444 per month (about as much as a four-star general).

The next time you fly, think about how much, or how little, the folks in the front of the plane are making.

Note: 2009 military pay data from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.


  1. So, does that directly correlate to the level of safety and dadication and your chances of making it to your destination alive or unharmed?

  2. See what happened to the last Colgan air line crash compared to "Sully" landing in the Hudson. Does that answer your queston?

  3. How many people spend over 100K to get their ATPL and then will be unemployed (especially in these days) or then get $21 per hour payed?

  4. And then how much do AIR MARCHAL earn?