Real Answers from Real Pilots


also I had one more question when you become a pilot are u ever going to have time for your family considering that your always flying

Hey Omar,

Just answered the same question for another prospective pilot, but the answer is yes but not right away. In the beginning you’ll have no seniority and you’ll be at the mercy of scheduling. You’ll be flying when, where and for as long as they need you to. Eventually as you build seniority at the company you’ll have greater control over your schedule and therefore your life. It will take some time. Also know when it’s time to upgrade you’ll move to the bottom again and have to build it back up again. Then you’ll go to a Major and guess what? You’re at the bottom again! Good times!


exactly what do you mean when you say go to the bottom? and also do you really enjoy your job? I know it probably had its ups and downs but do you think you made the right choice? is it worth it? and how long did it take you to get to where you are currently right now? because I think there’s a lot of risks involving with this job field but I have a feeling that it’s all worth it later on in the future


What I mean by “bottom” is the bottom seniority wise. You may have come across the saying SENIORITY is EVERYTHING (if you haven’t well you have now). One of the not-so-great aspects of the industry is that all important seniority changes whenever you make a move. You’ll be hired as a First Officer (FO) at a Regional and in time your seniority will increase within those ranks until you’re SENIOR enough to upgrade to Capt. AWESOME! Now you’re a Capt BUT you’re now JUNIOR as a Capt and back to a crappy schedule. Again you’ll build seniority as a Regional Capt and you’ll apply (and hopefully get hired) at a Major airline. Again AWESOME! But now you’re back to the bottom of the seniority list again as an FO, and so on. The good news for you is you’re young and if you actually do this in time you’ll have the chance to be a SENIOR MAJOR Airline Capt! (aka the Top Dog, Big Kahuna etc) something I will never see so kudos.

Omar I LOVE MY JOB and consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to earn a living doing something I enjoy. To me it’s not even a question if I made the right decision or not. I’m currently an FO at a Major airline (Hawaiian) on the most senior airplane (A330) and I’m hoping to upgrade within the next year. I got hired by ExpressJet in 2005 so I’ve been doing this for 11 yrs. That said I need to be honest, not everyone feels the way I do. There are people who simply see this as a job and they complain the same way anyone else does doing any other job. This career as I said does require a lot of training, commitment and financial investment and is anything but easy. There will be challenges. That’s why I personally believe if it’s not something you’re passionate about maybe you should look elsewhere. There are definitely easier ways to make a buck.



Adam meant that when a pilot makes the jump from First Officer to Captain they go to the bottom of the captain seniority list and thus have a harder time getting holidays/weekends off again for a few years as they build seniority.

I feel that I made the right choice in being a pilot. I really enjoy the job, in fact I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have been flying for 12 years and have loved every bit of it. I am a first officer with United Airlines, I would say that on average it take most pilots 5-10 years after they start their first job with a regional airline to get to a major airline. For me the risks have certainly all been worth it.