What's the best airline to work for an why?

I’ve been trying to research airlines and what the best ones are to work for as a pilot (particularly a female pilot who wants to have a family and still be in their life and not gone all the time working) but nothing of substance seems to come up on the internet.

What are some of the best airlines to work for (in general) and why?

What airlines give the best benefits to and are the more understanding of pilots who have families at home (and ideally try to keep that in mind when scheduling - although I know that this typically comes down to seniority).




What’s the best car? The best cellphone? The best food? Best city? Etc etc etc. My first boss told me years ago if there was only one best anything there’d only be one because everyone would want that. The best part is if you talk to the pilots at any airline you’ll have pilot’s who’ll swear there airline is best and others who’ll swear it’s the worst.

What’s “best” is a very subjective thing. You ask which has the best benefits? Some have better retirements, others have better healthcare. Some just pay more which many think is the ultimate benefit. You asked earlier about Chris’ schedule because you liked the block of days off. Fly for Atlas and you can get half the month off and half in but the pay and work rules are weak. United’s recent agreement is getting alot of attention but if you live in FL they don’t have a base and you’d either have to move or commute. Some people like certain airplanes. Maybe you want to fly a 787 but Delta doesn’t fly them. Airline contracts vary greatly based on the priorities of their pilots. If everyone agreed that one thing or set of rules was best, all pilots would fight for the same contract.

Long/short whats best is whats best for you. The best way to discover that (as Ive already said) is to visit some airline specific forums and read and ask. More important all of this is purely academic as things can and do change. Almost every airline is currently in negotiations and the one you believe is best today maybe not be when you’re ready and you’re priorities could change as well.



That is very subjective and really depends on what all you are looking for in an airline. I like the ability to fly domestic or internationally, and to have a base in the DC area, so United is a good fit for me. Others want to fly cargo, do shorter trips, etc, so it really varies.

Scheduling strictly comes down to seniority. Everybody has some reason they want to be home, a family, dog, pet cactus, etc. The only fair way to handle requests for certain days off is through the seniority system.



As the guys said, the best depends on your priorities. If your biggest priority is having the most time at home, you’ll want to choose an airline that has a base where you live or move to base. After that, you can filter based on aircraft, type of flying, benefits, etc.

If you’re wanting to be at an airline where you’ll see other female pilots, you could start there. Hawaiian and United have the most female pilots for any US carrier.

Check this out:


10.8% of current enrollment at ATP are female students. It’s interesting to compare this to the metrics @Hannah provided. It’s great to see female students in flight school exceeding industry averages, which means it’s a good trend! I am proud to say that both my sister and step-sister went through our program and now both fly for Delta after flying for ExpressJet and PSA.



As everyone has said, this is a subjective question. So, some things to consider to help you decide would be to figure out what is important to you and go from there.

Some questions that I asked myself when deciding which regional to fly for was:

Where do I want to live and which airlines have bases there? Am I willing to move? (I was)

What are the junior bases?

How long is it taking for pilots to bid out of those bases (if I am not already where I want to be)?

What is the average upgrade time?

What is 1st year FO pay through year 5 CA pay?

What plane(s) does the airline fly?

Is the airline growing?

Those were the big ones for me. Some other things I looked at was retirement benefits and signing bonuses, but at the time most of the regionals were offering similar amounts. Nowadays signing bonuses vary by tens of thousands.

You have plenty of time to figure this out. I didn’t decide on a regional until I had about 700 hours total time. I would encourage you to have it figured out before you reach 500 hours.


1 Like


Which is a good website or source to find that type of detailed information?? I you know can find much of this info in APC and the airline website but what about Junior Bases, time to bid out bases, upgrade time, airline growth, etc ??



Outside of AirlinePilotCentral and the airlines media releases, it’s mostly internal info you will only get through word of mouth. It’s sitting on the jumpseat in a commute or at the gate starting a conversation with an American or United pilot where you get more detailed information.

For now, focus on your flight training. Research a little once you start time building and take advantage of opportunities to talk to current airline pilots. Thats where you’ll learn that kind of information that can help you make decisions in the future.



Hannah is right. That is inside info which can be obtained from a recruiter or friend or acquaintance that flies for the airline of interest.