Pilot Shortage Caution!

It’s no secret that our industry is booming like never before! Airlines are hiring like mad, raising salaries, and throwing bonuses and reimbursements, at pilots in their efforts to recruit. The food chain is moving faster than ever and the wait times for upgrade have gone down dramatically as is the wait time to get called up to the Majors. There’s literally never been a better time to become an airline pilot. Sooooo, what’s the problem? I’ll tell you…

Yesterday I flew a trip with a very fine newhire pilot my airline. He was stoked to be where he is, a newhire at a Major and life is good except for one little hitch. He had accepted well over $50k in hiring bonuses and Tuition Reimbursement from the Regional that hired him. Problem is he didn’t read the fine print and that fine print said he would fly for that airline for at least 2yrs from his first revenue flight AFTER training OR he would have to return the moola. Well he had been there for 2yrs from his date of hire, but not his first trip after training. The airline now wants (and will get) their money back. ALL OF IT (no proration) and “I didn’t know” isn’t an excuse. This pilot is a good guy and he wasn’t complaining that he’d been “screwed” etc. He’s a responsible man who was actually angry at himself for not being more diligent.

The moral of the story is obvious. While things are indeed great, nothing is for nothing and when someone is throwing money at you, while it’s easy to just say “yes please” (and I’m not saying you shouldn’t), you do need to know exactly what YOUR responsibility is in that agreement. Caveat emptor my friends.



Gotta always read the fine print.

You always, always, have to read the fine print. That was the biggest thing my business ethics professor from college taught me. The clauses that are contained in contracts are not written in pencil, they’re pen.


Interesting. While it totally stinks to be paying that money back, the good news is that he made it to a major in two years, which used to be unheard of. That being said, I might have been tempted to stay. just a bit longer if I were him (and had read the contract).


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Ouch… paying that back on reserve pay. That can’t be easy. Definitely a cautionary tale for those on their way up.



2 years for the regional or major airline?

Regional. The Majors aren’t paying (nor do they need to) hiring bonuses.