Airline Pilot Salary – Captain Vs Co Pilot Salary

Due to the pilot shortage, airlines are starting to pay their pilots more. This includes flight time, per flight pay and housing allowance.

Pilots also receive vacation time and employer-sponsored health, life and disability insurance. They can also earn money by working overtime for their airline. This can boost their salary by thousands of pounds or dollars a year.

The Basics

There are two pilots on board a flight in the United States: a captain and a co-pilot. The captain is in charge and has the ultimate responsibility for passenger safety. The co-pilot assists the captain and takes over if the captain has to take time off for an emergency or other reason. Co-pilots usually receive lower salaries than captains.

Airline pilots are paid a salary based on the number of hours they fly each month. Their hourly rate varies depending on the aircraft type and airline. Jobs flying jet aircraft pay more than propellor aircraft, and long-haul positions pay better than short-haul.

Pilots can also earn extra money by working overtime, which can boost their annual wage to tens of thousands of pounds or dollars. Additionally, most airlines offer generous benefits such as health, dental, and vision insurance for their employees. This is especially true during the current pilot shortage, when many regional airlines are offering signing bonuses to attract qualified commercial pilots.


The rank of a pilot is important in the aviation industry because it reflects their seniority. A captain is considered to be the leader of the flight deck and is in charge of the aircraft and its occupants. This is why airline pilots wear stripes on their uniforms to avoid confusion over responsibilities and roles.

As a general rule, airlines pay a higher salary for captains than first officers. Airline pilot salaries increase with each year of experience and are based on the amount of flight hours they log. This is why it is common for pilots to start their careers at regional airlines before moving on to major airlines.

Airline pilots are required to have a minimum of 40 hours flying time in order to be eligible for vacation, sick leave and overtime. Depending on their rank, pilots may earn a daily guarantee. These guaranteed amounts vary from company to company. However, in some cases, pilots receive a bonus for meeting certain requirements, such as being a captain.


To become a pilot, you must have a bachelor’s degree in aviation or an equivalent level of flight training. Additionally, you must have a commercial pilot’s license from the FAA and an airline transport pilot certificate.

Most airlines operate on a seniority-based system, so your career progression will depend on how long you’ve been with the company. A junior pilot who has been flying for several years may upgrade to captain before a more experienced first officer with less time in the cockpit.

As a pilot, you will spend significant amounts of time away from home. This is especially true if you fly long-haul routes that take you across multiple time zones. You’ll also be expected to stay overnight at some points on these flights to ensure you’re fresh for your next shift in the cockpit. Fortunately, this schedule typically comes with generous travel benefits and vacation. In addition, most airlines offer a minimum daily guarantee, so you’ll always earn at least the hourly rate of your rank.


Airline pilots typically don’t get paid a regular salary but are instead compensated by the airline based on their flight hours. This is why it’s incredibly important for aspiring pilots to fly with the right airline.

Regional airlines typically pay less than major carriers but are a necessary step for up-and-coming pilots to gain the experience required to make it to the big leagues. Once a pilot gains seniority they will receive yearly pay rises as they move through the ranks of first officer, senior first officer, and finally captain.

In addition to a generous salary, airlines also offer excellent travel benefits and healthcare for their flight crews. All of these perks add up and can significantly boost a pilot’s salary. However, many pilots do not pursue careers in aviation for the money. They do it for a more intangible reason that is often rooted deep within their psyche. Having pilots in the family or inspiring stories of military missions can be a strong motivating factor.

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