I plan on having a family some day and I know a commercial airline pilot is gone a lot of the time. I want to know from anyone who has a family and is doing a professional airline pilot job, is a family doable and how in-contact you are with your family?
If you search through the forum you’ll see a few conversations on this subject but in short of course a family is “doable”. Where do you think little pilots come from?
The misconception you have is that commercial pilots are gone a lot of the time. Some are, some aren’t. There are many different airlines with many different operations. Some will have you gone for weeks, others you’ll be home every night. As with everything at the airlines seniority plays a big role in your lifestyle. The more senior you are the more control you have over your life. So initially as a Regional FO you may find yourself gone more than you like but again once you gain seniority you can get shorter trips if that’s what you desire. You also may have to make some sacrifice as far as you career goes. Most pilots aspire to fly international trips on the largest airplanes their airline flies. Well if you want to fly a 777 to PEK that’s great but don’t complain that you’re away from home. Don’t apply to Atlas or UPS if you don’t want to be gone for weeks on end. You can and do have as much choice in your away time as possible simply by flying for an airline that has operations that suit your life choices.
Now we’re all fortunate in that technology has advanced to the point where no matter how far away we are we’re never out of contact. Facetime, Viber etc allow us to chat and see our families everywhere and anywhere.
In short it shouldn’t be an issue.
Thank you Adam for your response. It really helps me out a lot!!
Hey Adam, what are the airlines that allow you to be home the most. I heard that Allegiant pilots are home every night, are there any other airlines that are tailored more for a pilot with a family?
Allegiant has trips that will get you home every night but understand, as with everything, schedules are based on seniority and that wont be you until you build some. Also know that as an LCC their pay is lower than many Majors. You’ll also have to live in base otherwise you’ll have nights away for commuting.
I fly for Hawaiian. Interisland used to be home every night but that’s no longer the case. While it’s still possible, again seniority comes into play. I’ve been at Hawaiian for 10yrs and still can’t hold day trips.
Any airline job is going to involve significant nights on the road each month, that is just the nature of the job. Allegiant might be the exception to that, but there are other things that factor into what makes a good airline job. Allegiant has rather high pilot turnover. If you are going to be a pilot, I would get the notion of being home every night out of your head,
Please don’t pursue this career with a plan to be home every night. Unfortunately you’ll be extremely limited career wise and may not be able to secure that lifestyle for some time. Could it happen? Maybe. But it’s much more difficult to achieve. It takes the airline having one day trips (aka locals) in the system, you being senior enough to hold many of them and the bidding software being able to build you a full schedule with just those month after month.
Being a pilot comes with amazing perks. One of its challenges is being away from home.
Take a look at our Schedules to get an idea of how much time we spend away from home.
I can count on one hand the number of pilots that I’ve flown with that don’t have a family and it was by choice, not because it isn’t possible.
Having a supportive family makes all the difference.