Realistic Ability to be in my childs life

Hello all,

I will start by saying ive always wanted to fly. Its a dream really, and im in a position to switch careers. Im 28, and i have a 3 year old daughter, best part of my life.

From what i have been reading on here, it doesnt seem like you have much time with family, but then i see how usually you only work 15 or so days a month. Which, is roughly the amount of time i get with my daughter anyways, half the month.

If i pursue an airline career, will i ever get to realistically spend time with my daughter? Or will i just be popping in every once in awhile? Id like to be able to see her grow up. And how does home base work? Would i be able to get my home base to be, say, louisville ky, which is roughly an hour drive? Id like to stay relatively close when im able.

I do understand ill have to make some sacrifices, especially at first. Im just wondering how much i would have to sacrifice? Do i still have the time to go home and be dad?


Listen, there’s no question this job requires some sacrifice. Is it possible to get the base you want, the schedule you want, etc etc etc. Sure, but these things take time and come with seniority. Even after you gain some there will be tough decisions to make. Will you bypass upgrade or a bigger, better paying airplane to spend more time with your daughter? I know pilots who have made huge sacrifices to maintain their quality of life and others who have not and I’m not in a position to judge who’s right or wrong.

Long short most pilots have families and make it work. Will you miss some important events? You must definitely will but you’ll also have the opportunity to allow your daughter to have some great experiences with you. You can make it work but it’s not easy and will require alot on your part.


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Welcome, Eli!

A pilot’s lifestyle is definitely not what most would consider “normal,” but that doesn’t mean that pilots with kids can’t be present in their children’s lives. Take a look at our schedules in the Schedules section of the forum to get a better idea.

This will be my first year experiencing what it is like as a father as a pilot, but just about every pilot I know has a family. We all make sacrifices to do what we do, but I haven’t met a single pilot that regrets their decision.

It definitely helps knowing that I have a supportive family. It makes all the difference.

To answer your question about bases, there are currently no major airlines based in Louisville. Here’s a map of domiciles: Airline Domiciles Map / ATP Flight School

If spending as much time a possible with your family is a priority, I highly recommend moving to wherever you get based. Commuting will absolutely take away time that could be otherwise spent with family.


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Wouldn’t UPS work long-term for Louisville?


Thank you, Ben. I stand corrected. UPS, Mesa and Republic.

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I think that I actually spend more time with my kids than many people who work more traditional jobs. I dated a girl whose father worked in NYC, he got off the train every night around 7 pm and was exhausted. He was back on the train at 7 am the next day. To me that is no quality time at all. I have about 14-16 days off per month, but those are true days off with no responsibilities whatsoever to the company. Yes, I do miss activities from time to time, but I also get to attend many things that I would not otherwise be able to do. Like most things in life, it is all a trade off.


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I grew up with a father who was an airline pilot. In all, I think it was a greater gift to me than if he had any regular job.

  1. It taught me that my mom can be strong and independent being the only parent during the days my dad was flying.
  2. When he was home, he was fully home and fully present.
  3. His job created a wonderful lifestyle for us. We were well provided for and we were able to travel to places most kids could only dream about. We were raised with a very worldly perspective. Follow your dreams, travel often and love what you do.

Granted he had to make sacrifices along the way to prioritize quality of life. But by the time I can remember, elementary school through high school, he was pretty much flying Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday with weekends off. We got in to a nice rhythm and it felt very normal. He had most holidays off and on the odd occasion he didn’t, we traveled with him as a family and made a vacation out of it or rescheduled another day to celebrate.

It really can be anything you make it when you set your priorities.



Chris the “7 to 7” analogy is so spot on and should be required reading for anyone asking this question on the board. Considering making the jump myself into this industry, and I admit, “yea, but I won’t get to see my niece on Christmas morning…” is something I think about. And I’m not even married or have children. But when you think about what the mentors have said over and over again, “When you’re off, you’re off” it’s a different perspective. Appreciate you.


Being in the airlines certainly requires some flexibility, Christmas can often become a moving target and not necessarily be on the 25th. My kids have never seemed too bothered by this.


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