Pilot shortage!

Hi one of my dreams is to become a pilot, but recently I read this article talking about pilot shortage, I was disappointed when I read that when you start as a fisrt officer for a regional airline you get better paid working for a grocery store than flying for the regional

I dont know if this is true, but I would like to hear the opinon of a real pilot!

Hi Jason
Adam wrote this to me regading a similar question.
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 https://airlinepilot.life/t/what-do-pilots-really-earn/2514 . 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.


That is what he wrote. Follow the link which provides some great data.


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Welcome to the forums. You are absolutely right about there being a pilot shortage, it is here. The airlines are hiring in record numbers and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

I have no idea what grocery store clerks make, but if it is the same as a new hire pilot that isn’t for long. Like any career there is a bit of paying your dues in aviation, but the salaries advance pretty quickly after that. Take a look at this article that I wrote, it might help answer your questions in regards to pilot salaries.


Let me know what other questions you have, I look forward to working with you.


Hi Jasson,

Ok this is the “tough love” part of the forum. Like Chris, I have no idea what a grocery clerk makes. What I can tell you is although the salaries at the Regionals have come up considerably, the first few years will definitely be tight. Where I’m confused is you started off by saying “one of my dreams is to become a pilot”? Is that true? Because if it is it seems to me that not making a ton of money the first year or two in exchange for having the potential to make over $300K a year doing some you love is a relatively small sacrifice. Honestly there are many jobs out there that have better starting salaries and if it’s simply an entry level job that pays well there are MANY better routes. Aviation however is a career, not a job. Did you know not that long ago (before the pilot shortage) some pilots would PAY the companies to let them fly and build experience so they could get hired at a Regional? Did you know many airlines would charge you thousands for training? Did you know that for years you would have to “apprentice” as a flight engineer before they’d let you near the controls and after that it sometimes was decades before you made Capt? Now you only need to flight instruct for less than 2 yrs and you could be sitting in the cockpit of a Jet (not a prop) with the possibility of upgrading to Capt in only 3-5 yrs! This is unheard of in this industry.

The fact is right now is probably the best time in history to become an airline pilot. The Regional salaries are the highest they’ve ever been, they’re actively recruiting, and paying tuition reimbursement and hiring bonuses. Again I have no idea what they’re paying at FoodLand but if that starting pay is good well…

Btw, all said, there’s NOTHING wrong with working for a grocery. Honest work for honest pay is to be respected.



hey, Adam !

thankyou, Your response was really inspirational, I didn’t know that now days is easier to become a pilot, I thought it was easier in the past, I’m 18 years old and just finish high school so I’m looking for the best way to become a pilot, which that has been my dream and goal since a kid. I had read many Articles talking about Aviation; that’s where I found that “you can make more money working in a grocery store than working for a regional,” but I guess is just their opinion, not a fact. I work for a grocery store and get paid an average of $9.00 per hour but like you said the Regional salaries are the highest they’ve ever been and is impossible to compare a pilot with a grocery worker in all perspectives. Christ said, The airlines are hiring in record numbers, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, I think this is the chance many student pilots were waiting for.

Again, thank you, Adam, for your responce, :airplane:

Thank you Jasson,

I wasn’t sure how you’d take my response but I’m glad you took it as intended. Whoever wrote the “you can make more bla bla bla” obviously did it to get your attention which it did. My point (which I’m glad you got) was ok so what? Again, absolutely nothing wrong with working in a grocery but trying to compare the 2 really isn’t possible or fair.

Jasson I LOVE what I do. To this day when I see a plane passing over head and I think “THAT’S WHAT I DO” I’m still in awe. There are people out there who would give their left arm to be 18 again and be in a position to start a career in aviation, regardless of first year pay.


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