Being an airline pilot is probably one of the best jobs in the world, but it’s no easy task. Whether you’re a pilot of a private plane, a commercial airline or a cargo aircraft, you’ll be responsible for commanding the flight and looking after the safety of yourself and others aboard.
Let’s find out the top 10 pilot benefits and what you’ve got to look forward to if you embark on a career as a commercial airline pilot with a major or regional airline in the USA!
1. Who doesn’t love to travel?
Traveling is one of the major perks of this career. Being an airline pilot means you have opportunities to go to places you’ve never been - and get paid to do it!
With all the different routes that pilots travel, every working day means taking off in one state or country only to land in another - potentially to a destination you haven’t explored yet.
Depending on your route and schedule, you can end up staying overnight or even longer, giving you the chance to explore new cities and spend time experiencing different cultures.
2. You can’t beat the view
Not many people in the world can say they have an office in the clouds. Most airline pilots say it’s a view they never grow tired of. From witnessing thunderstorms form in distant clouds to looking out at a vast, never-ending blue sky, it’s easy to see why.
3. Travel discounts for family and friends
While pilots travel often, it isn’t always fun to do it alone. Being an airline pilot, it is likely that you will have access to discounted (and sometimes free) plane tickets for family and friends, which means good deals on great vacations. Some airlines may ask friends and family to pay charges and taxes, but this is likely to be the extent of what your loved ones will have to pay - in some cases, you can even upgrade to business or first class.
And in addition to airfare, a number of hotels provide discounted prices as well!
4. Career focus
If you’re looking for a job with major job satisfaction, you’ve found it. Commanding a plane filled with passengers and getting them safely from A to B is as satisfying as it gets. One of the major benefits of being a pilot is you can expect a hugely rewarding career; from taking your first solo flight, completing your first landing, flying to a new destination to overcoming challenges, every day is rewarding as a pilot in the cockpit.
5. Work stays at work
No one likes taking their work home with them, and aside from studying for annual tests, pilots leave their work in the plane. There’s nothing to take home once you finish your day and close that cockpit door. This leaves for more time to explore the latest city of the week, spend time with the ones you love, or pick up a new hobby.
6. Flexible working
Because traveling from country to country can seem potentially rigid and demanding, many are surprised that a career in aviation can offer such flexibility.
Flexible working has always been a major advantage of being a pilot. It's not your typical 9-5, Monday to Friday job. Most pilots work an average of 2-3 weeks a month, which means you have the rest of the month to enjoy yourself.
Most pilots take advantage of this time to connect with their family, take vacations, or just relax. Pilots can spend their days however they wish to and with a free pass around the world, their options are nearly unlimited.
7. Challenge yourself
Being a pilot means constantly learning. While it’s important to know the specifics and regulations, learning goes beyond the books in this job. Real-time learning happens behind the controls of a plane, but luckily pilots can learn from everyone around them.
Anything can happen once the plane leaves the ground, and pilots challenge themselves by going into a workday and not knowing exactly how it will go, but making it work anyway.
With so many flights departing airports every single day, no two flights are ever the same - even when you’re a pilot. Each day can bring a new challenge, which not only keeps things exciting but also encourages you to become a better pilot.
8. Meet new people
As a pilot, you will constantly have the opportunity to meet new people. From your flight crew to passengers, to residents of the cities you visit, you’ll be introduced to people and cultures you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.
9. Salary and health benefits
Aviation is a career that allows for substantial growth opportunities. Nearly all airlines offer standard annual raises, along with health benefits including dental and vision.
While it can take a while to advance in your career as a pilot, when you do rise in the ranks, the salary is nothing short of attractive. The average salary of a commercial pilot in the USA is $77,200 per year and you could go on to earn more than $147,240 annually. It is worth considering that your salary will vary based on a number of factors including whether you’re a pilot with a regional or major airline as well as your experience.
10. Do what you love
Most importantly, becoming a pilot allows you to do what you love. Pilots have a passion for flying high in the sky, and nothing is more rewarding than taking people along for the ride. Reaching your dreams is not an impossible task, and pilots can attest to that. As the saying goes, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.