Airlines vs private jet companies

I know many of you are pilots of major airlines but I wanted your opinion on private jets. I’m interested in comparing the career path of going to the airlines or going to private jet companies.
(example: Net Jets). Is it a requirement to first work for an airline to have an opportunity to work for a private jet company?

Thank you!


If you’ve been reading the forum, just the other day Sergey (former ATP student and instructor) got hired with NetJets (A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step). It’s very different flying and there are pros and cons to both.

As far as the path there is no requirement to fly for an airline first. As with any job you need to meet the experience requirements. Thing is the Regionals need pilots bad so it’s an easy gig to get and they also offer the opportunity fly alot and build time fast. So while it’s not a requirement, it is a route many pilots take to get the “better” corporate jobs. There are of course entry level corporate jobs but they are harder to find.



You do not need to first go to the regionals to fly for a corporate operator, but many people do as the regionals are usually most accepting of new pilots.

I myself was never interested in going the corporate route. I like the predictability of flying for an airline, like the type of flying airlines do and like flying big airplanes. That being said, I know many people that have gone the corporate route and love it. To each their own.

Hannah used to fly for a corporate operator, I am sure she will chime in here soon.


Thank you for that! That certainly helps. Is that similar with cargo planes? I was looking into that and I assume it’s relatively similar to corporate companies where as you don’t need to do regional first but that it helps? Or could you treat it as an airline and interview with Fed Ex or UPS as a CFI?


Pilots jobs with UPS and FedEx are some of the most sought after jobs in the industry. Pilots that are hired for those jobs typically have thousands of hours at the regionals first, have college degrees, and spotless records.

Most of the cargo airlines are not home based, but have more traditional bases like passenger airlines do.


So there are a lot of differences flying 121 vs 135. Here are a few:

  1. Home basing- your home is your base. You get a full fare airline ticket for your commute to the airplane on your first day of your work block and a ticket home on your last day. You can live anywhere and not worry about how you’ll get to work on time.
  2. Block scheduling- no bidding! Bidding (for some) can be a headache that comes at the same time every month. Instead, you’re on a set block schedule… 7 days on 7 days off, 8 on 6 off, 13 on 12 off… there are a lot of different varieties. Basically you can set your schedule on your iPhone and repeat bi-weekly and find out if you have Christmas off two years from now. Its typically a longer work block being away from home but also a longer block of days off when you get home. Also its predictable.
  3. Hotel points/airline miles- this seems insignificant but it really adds to your yearly income. Airlines get discounted rates on hotels which generally means pilots don’t get to accrue points from there. In the 135 world, they are booked on company cards so you’re able to accrue all the hotel stay rewards. You’ll be diamond/platinum status in no time and by year end, are able to book week-long all inclusive stays with just a fraction the points you’ve accrued. Same goes for airline miles. Its the soft income that really makes a difference over time.
  4. Initially higher pay - regionals are not known for having good pay right off the bat. Generally you can make regional captain pay as a first year FO at a major 135 charter operator. Per diem is also about $60 a day instead of $2/hr from time away from base that regionals pay. So over an 8 day trip, you make $480 of per diem instead of about $350 depending on report and release times.

You don’t have to go to the regionals if you want to work in 135. Every operator has their own hiring requirements, but generally the ATP mins you work to achieve for 121 are sufficient to be hired for an entry level FO position at most charter operators. Hope this helped!