A Pilot's Persona

I’m around a diverse age group of Delta and Southwest pilots (30yrs old and up single & married mostly) everyday at my current job. I get to pick their brains and see how they interact daily. My question of curiosity is one I never ask them in fear of invading personal information or offending them, but luckily I have this forum to ask here. After seeing numerous pictures of houses and cars their lifestyle basically, it appears that most pilots live VERY modest for the amount of money they make? It’s like something is holding them back from indulging in things peers in positions that make similar salaries have. Most of the pilots I speak with are mid-senior at their airline and make at least 150K. Is it the fear of losing your medical or getting furloughed hanging in the back of their heads thats inhibiting them? Past divorces?


You’re asking what goes on in the minds of thousands of individuals, and the answer is only they know for sure. But rather than assuming it’s fear I’ll offer you an alternate theory which is basically MY answer to your question. I live in a nice house (nothing spectacular) and drive an ok car (Toyota Tacoma). I don’t own many “toys”. Why? Because my friend I’m a happy guy who realized very long ago that “stuff” doesn’t make me happy. I don’t need to advertise my income and I don’t particularly care if others are impressed by what I do or don’t have. I live a half a block from the beach and when I’m not flying I’m paddling, cycling or hiking. If I see something I want I buy it. Most important I’m happy with my career (and by extension my life) and therefore don’t need more bigger better stuff to give me pleasure (which is not happiness) are define my position in life.

I would argue it’s not fear but maturity that motivates these pilots. Besides, my A330 can go faster than ANY car you can buy! :slight_smile:



Thanks Adam for your reply. It is this mindset/persona that is part of what attracts me to the career. I was raised not to let materialistic things run any aspect of your life. Glad to know that it is just a makeup of common characteristics within the aviation community!

I think that a lot of pilots are very careful with their money, but I also know several pilots that have airplanes, boats, second homes, etc. Everybody choses to spend their money differently.