Pay scales for regional FO and Capt vs. major

Hello to all,
I’m 47 almost 48 and just starting at atp from zero. I plan on being able to apply for a regional or ? in about 2.5 years. So at about 51 years old I would be entering the commercial work field. I dream of flying internationally, but I’ve read that working for a major airline may not be in my future due to my age. My question is how much money will I not be able to make? What is the pay scale for a regional crew vs a majors crew, fo and captain of each? Any help would be appreciated.


Hi again Joseph,

As you probably know at this point, mandatory retirement for an airline pilot is 65. If you start at 52 that’ll give you 13 yrs. Not a bad run but if you figure you won’t upgrade at a Regional for 3-5 yrs and many Majors have PIC requirements (Pilot in Command, aka Capt time) now you’re looking at 55-57 before you’re competitive. Chances are you’ll be done at the Regional level. Not to mention even if you could make the move you might not want to go back to the bottom schedule and quality of life wise. As for pay Chris put together a nice piece on the subject What Do Pilots Really Earn? . I’d give that a read but I think his numbers are slightly off IF you’re willing to work hard. When I was at ExpressJet by year 7 I was over $100k (I also flew ALOT and was an Instructor).

I’m sure when you say “fling international” you probably mean the whole World but many Regionals fly to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. It’s not as exotic as Tokyo or Sydney but still not too shabby.