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7 Differences: Private Jet vs. Airline Flying For Pilots

There are plenty of differences between flying as a corporate pilot and as an airline pilot. Here are some of the biggest...

1) Flight Planning

When you're flying for a corporation, charter carrier, or single owner, you could be planning your route yourself, or working with groups like Jeppesen for performance and nav planning. On the other hand, if you fly for an airline, your dispatcher will plan the flight for you. It becomes your job to cross-check their work once you receive the flight release at an airline.


2) Catering And Cleaning

As the pilot's on a private aircraft, catering and cleaning the aircraft might be your responsibility. Everything that happens on the airplane is under your control. At airlines, pilots are relatively hands-off for catering and cleaning.

Michael Bludworth

3) Variety Of Routes

Over time, you'll find yourself flying less variety at an airline than at most private flight departments. Depending on the size of aircraft, you might find yourself flying all over the world in a corporate jet.

Live from the Flight Deck

4) Shared Decision Making

At an airline, crewmembers share responsibility for their flights with their dispatcher. All of the planning, deviations, and changes that come during challenging situations are shared by both parties. As a pilot on a private aircraft, you'll likely be the final authority about what happens...except for, of course, your client!


5) Variety Of Crewmembers

Airlines have hundreds, if not thousands of pilots. You'll find yourself flying with a new crew almost every trip. At a smaller private operation, you might fly with the same handful of people for years.


6) Passenger Interactions

As a corporate pilot, you'll have more chances to interact one-on-one with your passengers.

7) Work Schedules

This is a tricky one to cover, because it really depends on where you work and how senior you are. Let's take an entry-level private jet charter pilot in comparison to a new regional pilot. Charter pilots don't usually fly as much as airline pilots, in terms of flight hours. They might be on-call for the entire duration of their employment. On the other hand, at an airline, once you're off reserve you'll have a much more steady schedule throughout the month. The downside is that you'll likely find yourself spending a lot more time away from home.


What are some other major differences? Tell us in the comments below.

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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