Well, pay levels in aviation sure aren’t what they used to be. I heard that there are many new airline pilots on food stamps out there. I really would prefer the pilot of any plane I am flying on to be well-rested and well-paid. But then, I also always hunt for the cheapest ticket. What do you guys think? Who’s to blame for the deteriorating pay level? Is it the stingy customers, the fuel prices, the managements or something else entirely?

Oh, and one last reminder: Our “What’s Your Favorite Comic?” Contest ends tomorrow. So there’s still time to enter! Thanks for everybody who already participated! We’ll determine a winner this weekend (seems I’ll have to get out my 100-sided die) and inform you on Monday!

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9 comments on “Peanuts
  1. Dave E says:

    What’s the tax rate on aviation fuel? I know aviation fuel is more expensive than car fuel and car fuel’s federal tax rate is 40 cents on the dollar.
    There’s taxes on various other aspects of aviation.
    I can’t help but wonder how much federal and state taxes are driving up costs on aviation and leaving less money to pay pilots.

  2. Colin P says:

    IMO? All of the above. Was talking with the maintenance guys when I was apprenticing with them a while back, and though I’ve never done the math, it wouldn’t be a fare hike of hundreds of dollars required to get maintenance crews and pilots better pay. Though I guess with some airlines bottoming out at nearly 4 billion CDN in long-term debt, might be easier said than done.

  3. warbirdali says:

    All of the above PLUS the outrageous cost of planes must be a major factor… plane costs are also due to liability, skilled unionized labor and of course corporate greed. Hopefully anyone with dreams of flying for a “living” is smart enough to know that the legendary $100,000 captain jobs are a very small minority

  4. Fire Guy says:

    If you look at what a FO for an outfit like “Colgan Air” is making (I’m sure everybody who knows aviation or at least watches the news will remember the Flight 3407 crash in 2009) you’ll find you’re better off working as an entry level position at McDonalds.

    I find it disgusting to be honest that young people who’s dream it is to be a pilot get taken advantage like that. The airlines know they’d be willing to work for free and that’s the only reason those pilots don’t get paid squat. It has nothing to do with fuel prices. Sad thing is, to be able to do the job at McDonalds you need a day, maybe a week, of training but becoming a rated FO takes more than a few days longer.

    Then the news usually show a captains salary of 134k or more and tell us that’s why the airlines are losing money. But nobody talks about how long it takes a guy to make over 100k a year. And again, this has nothing to do with ticket prices and fuel prices in the big scheme of things.
    Sad thing is, down the road safety will be compromised. But it’s ok to crash planes as long as all the CRM and SMS paperworks are filled out correctly and everybody hass their behinds covered…..

  5. AuthorPilot says:

    I believe it’s essentially supply and demand, there never has been a true ‘pilot shortage’ that was touted for decades by such outfits as Kit Darby’s Air Inc (now defunct). As long as universities keep pumping out wonder pilots, with 250 total time, willing to sacrifice anything to ‘just fly a shiny jet’, the rates of pay will be pathetic. I was smart and made the decision on my own to get out in ’98, got into a real career (computer software), and now I fly on my own watch, where ever, and when ever I want to, and come home to my family every night, and live debt free in my late 30’s. Several pilot friends did the same, they got out. Now, the experienced pilots with 3,000, 4,000, and 5,000 hours are working other careers while the 250 hour wonder pilots take these low paying jobs. If you never saw Frontline’s “Flying Cheap”, it’s a good overview of what’s going down in the industry, and how low pilots are willing to stoop just to fly a jet.
    Aircraft cost and fuel prices are just an ‘excuse’ by upper airline management to keep flight crews salaries as low as possible. The regional jet was a mistake as an airline business model as well, some 50% less efficient then their competing modern turboprop. I could go on and on, but the rest of the story is in my book, “Squawk 7700”.
    -Pete, bestselling author, “Squawk 7700”

  6. Techlogsigner says:

    One of our EASA Part 66 Cat A mechanics left recently to start working for a construction machinery company as a field service tech. He won´t have to work nights and weekends anymore, he doesn´t have the responsibility for other people´s lives anymore and he gets paid as much as me, who has a FAA A&P licence and an EASA Part 66 B1 licence with multiple transport class aircraft types and has the criminal and civil liability for his work (e.g. I make a mistake, I go to jail) and works in a day and night shift pattern.
    The only advantage us techs have is that unlike with the pilots, there are very few who get into our profession for the glamour factor.

  7. mike says:

    Ok, guys (and especially Pete who may have researched this already)

    This was posted on facebook in the Chicken Wings Group but since not everybody fequents facebook I’m reposting it in here.
    What do you think?
    And should we have some sort of a “Chuck approved” seal that favors airlines who treat their people right?

    Sabine Fischer:
    I have heard for some time now that the aviation business is generally going pearshaped. What can we as PAX do? Would it help to fly with legacy carriers instead of low-cost carriers? Many people I know buy organic food and generally keep an eye on, not to buy child labour stuff. Is there a social responsible equivalent to aviation, which we can do to better the situation?

  8. mike says:

    Peter Fabian
    Sabine: interestingly enough, from what I gathered, US lowcosts are generally more fair to their employees compared to regionals, which is most likely what you would get from US legacy, unless you fly transcon or international. The situation in Europe is (somewhat) better

  9. I could provide a list of company names, but the list would change again in 6 months, no doubt. The aviation industry is in such flux right now, I could not give any recommendation with confidence. Looking back at the last 10 years, a list is guaranteed to change every 6 months. I would have recommended Pinnacle Airlines as an ‘ok’ place 6 months ago, but now I would don’t even touch them with a 10 foot pole. I couldn’t associate my name with any type list given what I know about the current state of the industry as a whole.

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