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Old 01-01-2015, 03:51 PM   #1  
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Default Pros & Cons of an Aviation Career

A friend of mine recently quit the industry because "aviation requires you to sacrifice a lot and just doesn't give you back enough in return."

I thought a lot about his words, and decided to come up with a Pros and Cons list. This could help those among us who are considering leaving the profession A few pros and cons I have come up with, specifically applying to airline pilots:

Staying in Aviation -

PROS:

- Flying jets is fun
- Flight attendants
- The occasional fun crew
- The occasional fun layover
- Leave work at work
- Flexible monthly schedules
- Free travel & ZED fares
- Office view
- Satisfaction of a flight well-flown
- Camaraderie; aviation is a small world
- Beats sitting in a cubicle



CONS:

- Always traveling...can be tiring & difficult to maintain your personal life
- As safe as aviation is, there's alway the chance of an accident
- Job on the line every flight/check-ride/line-check/etc.
- Irregular working hours and days off..can be tough to have a "normal" life
- Radiation, fatigue and other health concerns
- No retirement funds other than 401K
- Contracts getting worse
- One accidental slip up with the law could be career ending
- Lower salary than other jobs that require similar education levels
- Lose your job at one airline and you have to start over
- Recurrent training
- Lose your medical & you're done
- Being a pilot is a lifestyle choice; not a job (could be a pro depending how you look at it)
- There are much easier ways to make more money & be home every night


Do any of these ring true with those of you who have left the industry? Please feel free to add your own thoughts to the list!
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:29 PM   #2  
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Spot On! Well summarized +\- list..., EXCEPT for the F/A's. I don't know very many Pilot-F/A relationships that have worked out well long term..
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:36 PM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfInit View Post
Spot On! Well summarized +\- list...
Feel free to add anything you want! Have you left the career or are you considering it?

Another Con is the seniority system. I'd prefer a method of career advancement that recognizes individual talents and accomplishments instead of just how many years you have in

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I don't know very many Pilot-F/A relationships that have worked out well long term..
Who said we're talking long term
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:37 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfInit View Post
Spot On! Well summarized +\- list..., EXCEPT for the F/A's. I don't know very many Pilot-F/A relationships that have worked out well long term..
Balderdash! I know dozens of couples who've made it work, long term.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:51 PM   #5  
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While I may not make a whole lot, its still a sweet paycheck. At the legacy level it is decent pay. I don't what else I could do to make this.
If you are not at a legacy or good lcc then the pay is not so great.
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Old 01-01-2015, 05:00 PM   #6  
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Yazoo,

I voluntarily left the 121 world in 2006. I've been sleeping well ever since.
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Old 01-01-2015, 05:06 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazzoo View Post
A friend of mine recently quit the industry because "aviation requires you to sacrifice a lot and just doesn't give you back enough in return."

I thought a lot about his words, and decided to come up with a Pros and Cons list. This could help those among us who are considering leaving the profession A few pros and cons I have come up with, specifically applying to airline pilots:

Staying in Aviation -

PROS:

- Flying jets is fun
- Flight attendants
- The occasional fun crew
- The occasional fun layover
- Leave work at work
- Flexible monthly schedules
- Free travel & ZED fares
- Office view
- Satisfaction of a flight well-flown
- Camaraderie; aviation is a small world
- Beats sitting in a cubicle



CONS:

- Always traveling...can be tiring & difficult to maintain your personal life
- As safe as aviation is, there's alway the chance of an accident
- Job on the line every flight/check-ride/line-check/etc.
- Irregular working hours and days off..can be tough to have a "normal" life
- Radiation, fatigue and other health concerns
- No retirement funds other than 401K
- Contracts getting worse
- One accidental slip up with the law could be career ending
- Lower salary than other jobs that require similar education levels
- Lose your job at one airline and you have to start over
- Recurrent training
- Lose your medical & you're done
- Being a pilot is a lifestyle choice; not a job (could be a pro depending how you look at it)
- There are much easier ways to make more money & be home every night


Do any of these ring true with those of you who have left the industry? Please feel free to add your own thoughts to the list!
I think the list is pretty accurate.

What i miss most is the view, you simply can't beat it. Flying the jet was always fun too, and being in charge is a great challenge with it's own set of rewards.

The time away can be rough, or nice depending on your situation. A friend of mine with two young kids could hardly wait to get back on the road and out of the house after a few days off recently (kids were driving him nuts). The flip side of that is his wife is now at home with kids who are driving her nuts while he sleeps comfortably in the hotel.

The biggest downers of the career are likely job security and starting salaries. When i ditched, I was able to equal my captain's salary while being home every night. I now make a decent amount more than my starting pay and really can't afford to take the pay cut to get back in (i've done the math plenty...need to pay off debts before it'd be an option).
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Old 01-04-2015, 04:37 AM   #8  
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Default Slow financial gain

I did not like how long it commonly takes to make it into the higher wage levels. As a young regional pilot who wanted to start a family it was a punishingly long time before I could have made it to a middle class wage.



Skyhigh
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:17 PM   #9  
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What about retirement? How does a major airline 401K compare to a typical corporate retirement package?
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Old 01-06-2015, 05:31 PM   #10  
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Another Con is the seniority system. I'd prefer a method of career advancement that recognizes individual talents and accomplishments instead of just how many years you have in
This I completely agree with. My desk job is tiring and stressful. (And I find myself still at the office at 9PM surfing APC to live vicariously through you guys.) However whenever I get the urge to go get the couple more hundred hours I need to reach ATP mins, I realize that there are precious few ways to ensure your success in aviation. At least flying a desk I feel there is a pretty strong correlation between how hard/smart I work and my future advancement in the organization.
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