Bases for aircraft/ seniority

Is the majority of aircraft that a airline owns flown out of each base daily? Or is there a way to tell which aircraft is flown from where? And what the seniority of the base looks like at this day and time, I know it always changes. The reason I ask is for seniority purposes. Once and if one makes it to a major airline and has a particular base they want to be based in, is it possible to stay there your entire career once you receive it and work way from the lowest paying pilot job the company has, to the highest pilot job it has? I understand things happen and people are forced to go to other bases on occasion for circumstances that one can’t help but I’m strictly talking on the average. I understand as well as you would have to take sacrifices in order to stay at a certain base because of being able to be a captain at one base but not the one of your chosen, considering it may be very senior.

The second question I have, is if you don’t dream of this your whole life, (so you aren’t hired at minimum age by a airline) and considering the pilot shortage, how realistic is it to be a captain at a major airline on the highest paying job for many years, in order to make the 300+ that people talk about?


Honestly I’m not 100% sure what you’re asking in your first question? As for who flies what and where that’s really a question for pilots at those different carriers. You might want to visit There are sub forums for each specific carrier and you can ask there.

  1. Pilots can work till 65. Roughly it’ll take you 5yrs (under current and optimistic conditions) to get to a Major from the day you start training. While upgrade times have come down, widebody Capt is still the brass ring (where those $350k jobs exist) and can easily take 15yrs+ to reach. With that do the math and you’ll have an idea how realistic it is at your age. Keep in mind that’s taking the upgrade asap vs waiting and keeping your base as you mention in your first question.


Back to the first question, is it possible for a pilot based at a certain base( American, base Mia) for example. To go from the lowest paying job they have( ex, 737) to the highest paying job( ex, 777) without having to ever move base once they was rewarded the base in the beginning.

I would assume not, if certain aircraft wasn’t based to each base, but is it normal for each airline to have a wide variety of jets based in each base or only select few per base? The select few could be many of the same one obviously, but I’m talking multiple different Types of aircraft from the narrow body’s, to the wide body’s and everything in between.


Your assumption of correct. It all depends on the airline, their operation and needs. Thing is you’re talking about things that may or may not happen so far on the future the airline themselves couldnt tell you for certain.


Long ways off, just gathering the idea of how wonderful Mia based with American would be.
If you got there within 5 years of joining the company, started a life in the area and all of that, but then had the opportunity to become captain at a base half way across the world, I assume it would be hard to turn down, but also hard to gather family and move to another area, in hopes to one day be back in Mia till retirement. Obviously along ways off, but just the idea of it.

Keaton my friend,

These are grownup decisions we all face, as will you when the time comes. What you don’t realize (yet) is they actually become easier after you’ve been doing the job for a while and better understand your priorities.



In the case of American Airlines and MIA, yes, all aircraft types are based there. That in no way means that it will continue to be. For example, at United, we just closed the 777 ORD base and have never had the 787 based there. To hold 777 or 787 Captain in MIA is very senior and if you do not start at a relatively young age, could very well be out of reach. Now you can easily make $300k as a 737 Captain and that is far more attainable.


Thank you both for the response. If the time comes, it will all work out one way or another!

I wouldn’t waste any time worrying about it now. You’ve got a lot time, flying and checkrides to get through between now and then. Besides things change all the time in the airline industry. You could have the perfect plan in your mind and have everything change by the time you get there.