Commuting Questions

Hi everyone, first post here with some questions about those who have long commutes. I have my PPL and am in IFR training.

Long and short of it is, my wife and I really would like to stay in STL as long as we can, but of course there aren’t really any airlines based out of here. I’m looking at the different options for places to commute to, and MCI or ORD really look like the only options for a reasonable commute. Wondering how you all handle larger commutes.

Do you all drive upwards of 3-6 hours? Or do you fly yourselves out to where you’re based out of? If you fly, does your airline pay for your commute leg? Or do you just get a big discount on travel since you work for them? And does anyone live in the STL area that makes a regular commute?

Thanks everyone


Pilots have the ability to “jumpseat” on virtually any airline in the country FREE OF CHARGE. That’s the good news. The bad news is there needs to be a seat for you because paying customers of course come first. We also have the ability to ride in the cockpit, but that again requires no one else to be sitting there first.

While I don’t (nor have I ever) commuted, I know many pilots who do and I’d say unless it’s well under 3hrs drive, they’re flying. So what happens if the flight you want is booked? It means you’re taking an earlier flight or coming in the day before. Commuting is a choice and it’s your responsibility to get to work on time AND well rested.



I wouldn’t plan on driving more than 4 hours. Even that is pushing it 2-3 is more ideal. After that I would look at the number of flights per day out of STL to each potential domicile and how many airlines fly that route. Both of those will help you determine the easier commute. Obviously the most variety of options you can get the better. Then the last variable, which regional you chose to fly for. That will determine how senior you are on the standby list for each flight compared to peers you compete with for seats. For example, I’d most the flights are operated by American or a AA regional, flying for one of those would help your commute compared to flying for a UA express carrier.