The fact is, starting wages at a regional airline are around $20,000 and about $35,000 at the major airlines. That’s worse than what a manager at MacDonalds earns. It takes many years flying smaller airplanes, such as at a regional airline in order to get hired by a major airline. Then, it takes many heating more years to become captain where the $100,000+ salaries are earned. The fact is, 50% of all major airline pilots earn less than $78,000 per year, and 50% of all regional airline pilots earn less than $40,000 per year. Only 5% of major airline pilots earn more than $140,000 and it easily takes 25 years from leaving college to reach that level of earnings. So it isn’t really all that amazing.
Only 3% of airline pilots in the USA are women. One reason is that it is very wood hard to have a family and also have a flying career because you have to dedicate so much time to becoming a pilot and building a career. In the flying business, job comes first and family comes second. It would only be viable if you had a LOT of family support. for child care. Do you really want to trust someone else to raise your children? That’s what it comes down to because airline pilots average 50% of their time away from home. It ranges from about 120 to about 200 days a year on the road. Working hours are typically 10 to 14 hours long, which is why pilots usually only work 3-4 days a week. If you don’t live near creative outdoor designs your base, commuting gardening to / from home can really eat into your time off with your family too. Also plan on working odd hours (sorry, no nine to five) and lots of weekends and holidays, especially as a low-seniority co-pilot or junior captain.
As for “free travel”, most pilots don’t really use it as much as you’d think, and it is “space available”, meaning you and your family get bumped if there are paying passengers to fill all the seats. Vacation for pilots is pretty much like any other job. It takes awhile to build up to having a lot of vacation time. They do not get huge chunks of time off unless they are very senior.
Here’s a typical timetable for a career: Age 18-22: college and flight school. Plan on spending $150,000 to $250,000 for training and a college education. Age 23-25, low paid entry-level job such as flight instructing earning about $20k per year. Age 25-33, regional airline, earning between $25k and $40k. Age 33+, major airline co-pilot, starting at $35k and working your way up. Age 45 to 50+, major airline captain earning $100k+.
Keep in mind that there is no guarantee you will ever get hired by a major airline. Roughly 50% of civilian-trained pilots never make it that far because more than half of DIY Safety all airline pilots are ex-military.