Pilot Contracts

Wyatt here again. So, I have searched the Internet for the answer, and am unable to find it. My question is, when pilots are hired on, say United for example, are they just simply hired on or do they sign contracts?


You are simply hired at an airline. HOWEVER, since most of the airlines are union, once you’re hired (after a period of probation, typically a year) you’ll be “welcomed” into the union and as a member will subject to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (aka THE CONTRACT). Contracts vary but they all generally outline work rules, scheduling, pay, vacation, bidding etc. While contracts due expire, you’ll continue to work under the most current until a new one is signed. Even non-union carriers will have their version of a pilot agreement. Some are obviously better than others.


Many thanks Adam. Very helpful. I am curious to know more about these pilot unions and what they entail. Where can I go to find out more?

The largest pilot union in the country is Alpa (Airline Pilot Association). You can visit www.alpa.org , they have tons of info.


Thanks Adam

Since ALPA is a union and is “required”, do you pay union fees? If so, how much yearly?


Alpa dues are 1.95% of your salary and come out every paycheck (fyi,the first year when you’re on probation they don’t collect any). Actually union membership is not required BUT since the airline is a “union shop” and all pilot’s operate under the union contract you’re still required to pay dues (you will get a slight reduction in dues, I think it’s around .2%?) so you might as well be a member. While I’ve personally never been a fan of unions Alpa actually provides a number of very good services (aero-medical, legal, insurance, etc).