Career satisfaction and Hawaii question


My son will attend ATP next year as he is finishing his AA degree. I am being a helicopter parent and gaining information about the profession so thank you to the pilot mentors. I have two unrelated questions:

  1. HAWAII: We live in Hawaii so it would be great for my son to be a pilot here at Hawaiian. Do local Hawaiian pilots come tend to come from a particular Regional? Is there any advantage to being from Hawaii?
  2. CAREER SATISFACTION: When I read pilot postings in the other pilot sites like PPRUNE, etc. I am taken aback by all of the negativity. I get the impression a lot of pilots like the career early on but become very unhappy about the job later. Maybe it is just because happy people might not post to provide a counter view. I was just wondering if the mentor pilots found the job to be better while in their 20s, single ,etc and not so much as they got older and had families.

Thank you for your help.

Aloha Andrew,

I’m the resident Hawaii/Hawaiian expert (717 Capt, live in Kailua) so here goes:

  1. Your son will need to build turbine time at a Regional that’s a given. The majority of our recent newhires have been coming from SkyWest and Compass but I think that’s really logistics. Hawaiian really doesn’t have a preference for any particular Regional it’s more that pilots from Hawaii tend to gravitate towards those 2 due to their West Coast bases. Most of the pilots are young and want to come home when they can so it’s easier. I would also seriously look at our Regional Ohana (aka Empire Air). Their starting pay is very high and their pilots get a guaranteed interview with Hawaiian.

  2. I’ve been saying this my whole career. It dumbfounds me how I can think I have the greatest job on the planet and others doing the exact same work swear they’re practically slaves? Blows my mind. Honestly I believe these people would be miserable no matter what they do. As far as the amount of negative posts misery loves company so they’re posting. I’m to busy paddling to bother :slight_smile:



I will tackle the second question as Adam is our Hawaiian Airlines expert.

  1. I have actually grown to like the career more as I have gotten older and progressed through the ranks. I now enjoy a very comfortable salary and great benefits, which certainly makes life easier. I also have the choice of many different aircraft types to fly, which all bring with them different schedules. Family life can sometimes be tough, but I am not on the road anymore than some business people are and when I am home I have no work obligations at all.

The negativity on the internet is one of the reasons that we started this forum, to give unbiased answers about the industry. We will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about this industry. We want people to enter the industry knowing exactly what to expect, not some sugar coated version or one that is just grumpy people complaining no matter what. I will tell you though, all three of us mentors really like our jobs.

Feel free to ask any other questions that you think of.



Thank you for providing a more balanced perspective on things.

Adam I have a further question on the potential career path to Hawaiian. I looked at Regional Ohana and it looked like a great starting point (their website shows 1st year FO pay of $72K with bonus which is great). For someone that flies there and later gets an FO position with Hawaiian how is the starting aircraft decided? Do you always start on the 717 as FO or is it based on what the airline needs at the time? Also, I noticed the Ohana aircraft are propeller ATR type. Is flying an ATR still considered building jet time for the majors?


When you’re hired at Hawaiian you’ll be assigned an aircraft based on the need at the time. Could be the 717, could be the Big Bus, could be the little Bus, could be the 787 when that arrives. Problem is regardless you’ll actually be taking a paycut since our first year pay is half of Ohana’s. The ATR is a turboprop, the key word there is TURBO-prop and the time you build will be turbine time which meets the requirements for all the Majors. That said if your heart isn’t set on Hawaiian and are entertaining other legacy carriers, you’d probably be better served flying an RJ on the mainland.