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Old 08-26-2008, 12:17 PM   #1  
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Default Salaries

I am currently going to a flight college in Canada and was wondering a little about the salaries that airline pilots make? I have read numerous posts about how rough pilots have it, and how they barely scrape by. Is this really true? So when I get out of school im not going to be able to live a good life? haha Will I be living on craft dinner and mr. noodles for the rest of my life? thanks for your responses.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:44 PM   #2  
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Maybe not for the rest of your life, but the first few years out of college haven't been fun. I'll give you my example:

Instruct/work at an FBO part time..$1800/month
Instruct full time at a university ...$1600/month (free healthcare and tuition to start working on my masters)
First regional...$22.95/hr (Somewhere around $1800 a month)
Second regional $22.95/hr (Flying more here, $2200 a month)

Throw on that:
$600/month to college loans
$400/month paying off credit cards (have those gone by the end of the year)
$300/month crashpad

After all is said and done, I have about $400 to get myself through the month. That basically allows me to eat out once per trip (I pack my lunch on trips) and keep the gas tank on my jeep at about 1/2 tank.

I've lived paycheck to paycheck for the last four years. I'm getting pretty tired of it.

Second year would have brought about $600-800/month pay raise which would have been a HUGE improvement in quality of life becuase I live within my means. However, I'm getting furloughed in two weeks so I'm scrambling to find a new job.
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Old 08-26-2008, 01:27 PM   #3  
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Sorry to hear that Pilot, the world isn't always especially fair. Maybe you will be in a good position now though given your extensive jet time.

I was going to knock on the regional doors a few years ago when I got out of school, but I read what they are paying at the time and decided no way, I need to be debt free first. I am still not sure if waiting to apply was the smartest strategy but I have been fairly happy in the meantime with a slow paced life as a hobby pilot and office worker. I do have some money also. With the fuel crunch I wonder if my airline dream will ever materialize now, but I feel I am making the best of the hand I have.

OP- from what I have read here the last few years this is a bad time to get into the business, and yes you will eat like a chinese peasant for the first few years if not longer. I would not enter the industry without being almost completely debt-free or else you will really suffer. Even so you are in for years of hard times financially. Shouldn't be too bad if you are still young but don't get married or start buying nice cars.

Last edited by Cubdriver; 08-26-2008 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:05 PM   #4  
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CFI -$2900.00 take home per month
1st year regional FO $22/hr ~$2100.00 take home per month including per diem doing a fair amount of flying. I include per diem because I no kidding average $5.00 spent per 4 day on food because I pack ALL of my meals. I may buy a cheeseburger meal for 4.60 at the downstairs crew cafe in EWR, thats about it and the occasional dinner with the crew which is fairly rare. Minus $150.00 for a crashpad.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:20 PM   #5  
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It really is amazing how much money you can save bringing your food. My $40 lunchbag was paid for on its first trip.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:50 PM   #6  
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To me it is a crime that professional pilots have to paw through their suitcase for food. It is one thing to be on a health kick but pilots have to do it because they are poor and that stinks.


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Old 08-26-2008, 06:03 PM   #7  
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I pack a meal for a few reasons.

1. I am extremely cheap/thrifty
2. I eat much healthier when I pack. My wife cooks a main course with vegetables and a side and then vacuum seals and freezes it. We typically use lower fat and more natural ingredients and it helps in the long run.
3. Convenience. I have my food with me and all the outstations typically have a nuker to heat up my food when I want it.

Financially between my wife and I we could afford for me to eat out every meal but who would want to. Most of the CAs I fly with spend over 100 dollars per trip on food.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:09 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usmc-sgt View Post
I pack a meal for a few reasons.

1. I am extremely cheap/thrifty
2. I eat much healthier when I pack. My wife cooks a main course with vegetables and a side and then vacuum seals and freezes it. We typically use lower fat and more natural ingredients and it helps in the long run.
3. Convenience. I have my food with me and all the outstations typically have a nuker to heat up my food when I want it.

Financially between my wife and I we could afford for me to eat out every meal but who would want to. Most of the CAs I fly with spend over 100 dollars per trip on food.
I understand that however others do it because they are too poor to buy a big mac. To me it is a crime. I ate beans and other "bag food" and it did not add to my happiness when away.

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Old 08-26-2008, 06:21 PM   #9  
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Very true. I work with many.

In the new age where FOs may find themselfs as FOs for many years to come they may want to reconsider the fast route with the assistance of sallie may. I know a few with $600.00 in college loans and then $800 in loans from ATP and then $250 for a crashpad. If you do the math that is only about $350 dollars less than I make. Rent..food..other bills...car payment..it doesnt look good.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:51 PM   #10  
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I'm not too poor to afford a BigMac. I just don't want to ramifications of eating too many years down the road. This started as a way to save some money for a rainy day rather than waste on fast food at airport-premium prices. Eating healtier, and having something to much on during a long sit makes life a little better.
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