Quick Question

Before I even ask, I am going to take a guess and say the answer to my question is basically anywhere, but here I go, -

For you airline guys, where can you expect to live? I live in a very rural part of Kentucky, the closest major airport is about an hour and a half from me. Do airlines determine what airport you fly out of the most? Does your location allow them to determine what airport you would be available to work at? For example Bluegrass Airport (Lexington Kentucky) is the closest major airport to me. If a major airline hires me, (years from now) do they require I move to a location where I would be more needed or how does that work? I know this is a very broad question. Just looking for some insight.


One of the perks of being a pilot is you can literally live anywhere you want. I know pilots who live in Europe, Asia, Australia and pretty much every state in the union.

When you say “what airport you fly out of the most” you’re actually referring to a “base”. All airlines have them (some many, some only one). Which base you fly out of at first is determined by the airlines need. When you’re a new hire you’ll be assigned a base. Might be close to your home, might be across the country. If you’re not happy with the base you get you can bid for one you prefer. Whether you get it or not, like everything at the airlines, is determined by seniority and how senior that base is. The airlines do not care one bit how far you are from your base or how hard it is for you to get there. As a pilot you’re a professional and when you apply to an airline they expect you to know a) where they have bases and b) that you might not get the base you want.

Now first of all LEX is not a Major airport and I’m not aware of a single airline that has a base there so you will be commuting if you choose to stay. So let’s say you get hired by United and the assign you to EWR in NJ or even SFO on the West Coast. If you go to them and say “hey can’t I get something closer?”, they’ll either laugh at you or say the door’s over there.

The moral of the story is you never have to move and the airline will never ask you but whether it takes you a short drive to get to work or 4 flights and 24hrs worth of travel, that’s entirely your problem. Commuting is a choice.



The airline will assign you an initial airport. From there you will be able to bid for their additional bases in seniority order as they become available. These bases are usually at major airports (think DFW, LGA, SFO, etc). You can live wherever you like and commute to and from work, but it will be on your own time and at your own expense. I would not recommend doing it as you will lose a significant amount of your free time to commuting.


Wow, thank you so much for all that information. That was the exact answer I was looking for but even better, this forum has been the most help with aviation questions I could ever ask. Again, thank you for the detailed response.

Thank you, Chris. Seems like even though you can live “anywhere” for say, you would be much better off to save your free time for yourself and not spent so much on commuting. Thank you again for the detailed response.