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13 Reasons You Don't Want To Be An Airline Pilot

Last week we wrote about the 12 awesome benefits of being an airline pilot. But it's not all fun, and there are a lot of "cons." Here are a few:

1) Constantly changing schedules mean you might never be able to settle down into a routine.


2) Red-eye flights are tough on your sleep cycle.


3) Until you have high seniority at an airline, expect to be working on holidays like Christmas, Easter, and the 4th of July.

Bernal Saborio

4) As hard as it'll be, you'll probably miss a few of your kids' birthdays.

Grant Wickes

5) Layovers aren't as exciting as they may seem. Even when flying internationally, you might end up at an airport hotel and see nothing of the country.

Waldo Jaquith

6) Unlike nearly any other job, you have to "go back to school" and pass recurrent training every 6 to 12 months.


7) After a few years you'll make a good salary, but your first job could bring in as little as $19,000 per year. With the high costs of flight training, you're likely to have some serious debt.


8) San Fransisco is a lot less interesting once you've flown there 50+ times.

Nelson Minar

9) You're on the road with the same flight crew crew for days at a time.


10) If you can't pass your medical exam, your pilot career may end.


11) Working for an airline is risky. If there's a major swing in the economy, you might get furloughed. Ask any pilot, and they've either been furloughed themselves, or they know someone who has.

Craig Sunter

12) Everything is seniority-based. If you want to bid a certain schedule or aircraft, it's all based on how long you've been at the company.


13) Once you've picked an airline, it's often a lifelong decision. If you switch airlines, you'll start over with a new, low seniority number and matching, low salary.


Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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