Real Answers from Real Pilots

Bachelor's Degree/Time Off Questions

Hi all, I’m 30 years old and thinking of becoming a commercial pilot. I wanted to ask pilots here what time off looks like; I know it will be different per company/etc. but wanted to know a ball park of how it works. Do most pilots work X amount of days and have Y amount of days off - Similar to over the road trucking? Is there a way to work a few days on and have a few off or even work 5 days on 2 days off like “normal” job positions? None of this bothers me in any way, I’d just like an answer on this out of curiosity.

Also, I’ve read that major airline companies want a pilot to have a bachelor’s degree as a minimum. With me not having a degree of any kind, will that make it almost impossible to find a job after completing ATP’s course in full?

Thank you very much,
Jonathan

Jonathan,

Yes, Major airlines want a 4yr degree. After you complete your training and build your time you will have no problem finding a job at a Regional airline. Problem is when all your peers start leaving for Majors to fly larger aircraft around the globe and make 5 times what you do, you’ll probably want Ryu start working on it.

As for the schedules, everything at the airlines is based on seniority. You can bid any manner of patterns (5 on, 2 off, 4 and 3 etc) but if you have no seniority (which you won’t when you start) you’ll have very little if any control over what you get. Especially if you want those 2 days off on the weekend.

Adam

Welcome, Jonathan!

Check out our schedules section to get an idea of what our lifestyles are like. We have a variety. If you spend enough time in there you’ll notice the differences between a senior pilot schedule and a junior pilot schedule.

Tory

Jonathan,

Welcome to the forums. At my airline we are guaranteed twelve days off per month, although I typically get around 14-15 days off. I usually work in blocks of days that are around 4-5 days long, and then have several days off afterwards.

You will not need any sort of degree to get hired by a regional airline. The legacy majors such as Delta and United still want to see a four year degree. Some of the smaller carriers like Spirit or Frontier are not nearly as strict on the degree requirement.

Chris