Pilot pay question

Pilot pay question.

The question I’m looking for clarification on isn’t exactly what you get paid, but more of a how to read the hourly- years of service spreadsheets on a site like this one:


Basically, the question is this- hypothetically, you’re hired on at a legacy carrier as a first officer- so you’d be at X hourly based on aircraft and 1 year of service, after lets say 5 years you make it to captain. Would you be considered a year 1 captain on that spreadsheet, or would you be a captain with 5 years of general service to the airline- so the 5th year captain X hourly rate?

Sorry if that was horribly confusing. Also, definitely nothing I’m worrying about too much at this point- I start ATP in Richmond on the 20th of November. I was just reading those charts and needed clarification.

Thank you in advance.

When you become a captain in your 5th year you will get 5th year captain pay. The pay is based upon total service to the airline as you thought.
By the way I just locked in richmond as my location to instruct so I’ll probably see you there!

Thanks for the information, I had a feeling it was that way, but couldn’t find a solid answer elsewhere.

Awesome! I’m really looking forward to it.


As long as you are staying at the same airline, your pay is based off of years of service and does not reset. For example, I was on eleventh year FO pay last year, then I upgraded and went to eleventh year Captain pay.

As you said, if you change airlines, the pay starts over at first year pay.



I would really encourage you not to look at this career as a calculus problem. If you are trying to figure out how much you will make over a career, forget about it as they are way too many variables involved. The time from starting to train to being hired at a major varies widely, upgrade times at both the regionals and majors can really swing from one end to another (plus you may chose to delay upgrade for personal reasons), there will be pay raises and maybe even pay cuts at some point, mergers, different profit sharing equations, etc. In short, while it is good to have some idea of pilot pay, I would base my decision off of a love of flying, not potential pay.


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Thanks, Chris. My situation is extremely unique, and by calculus problem…I am referring to those factors that pertain to my decision points. Not all of the calculus problem I am referring to is money…but those other things like QOL, etc. Thanks for the assist in figuring out one small piece… :slight_smile: