Many think of the pilot's life as a glamorous one. Free travel, automatic respect in uniform, and the thrill of actually flying a plane all sound exciting to non-pilots everywhere. But Jon from Fly8MA.com has lived that life and he has some disappointing news: it's not so great.
In a YouTube video titled "Why I QUIT being an Airline Pilot," Jon goes into great detail outlining how pilots can be severely overworked and underpaid:
According to Jon, who went from being a private flight instructor to being a airline pilot before switching back to private instructor, the job had its upsides, as described by Inc.:
His fellow pilots and cabin were very nice, he said. Flying a jet was fun, too.
But due to the shortage of pilots applying to large commercial airlines at a time when more people than ever are flying the friendly skies, Jon felt the job's demands were very high.
On an average day, "he'd have five legs to fly. He'd be on duty for 12.5 hours. He'd be paid for 5.5 or 6 hours of that time. He was paid $38 an hour."
That crazy schedule would mean waking up at 3:45 a.m. and driving to the airport so he could take multiple flights just to get to the airport where he'd be working. He was not paid for any of the time spent traveling to his job.
Even after waking up so early, the process of getting to his plane was rushed, which meant Jon often had to go without any real food or coffee.
Once he arrived at "his" plane, Jon was pretty hungry, and perhaps a bit peeved at the runaround, but still eager to do his job:
He's flying a jet, after all. Albeit a small one.
But it turns out the amount of "flight time" is pretty short
Some of his actual flying times...were a mere 11 to 18 minutes.
YouTube commenters understood what Jon was going through:
After repeating this process as many as five times a day without ever getting a chance to sit down and eat a decent meal, Jon would eventually break down and stop to eat something, which would often cause a delay on one of his flights. And, after a big 12-hour day, Jon would often "pay for a hotel out of his own pocket in order to find somewhere to sleep on his way home."
He estimated his weekly pay was around $600 after hotel fees, which is livable but hardly lucrative or glamorous. Meanwhile, the constant stress and lack of sleep was causing he and his fellow pilots to age rapidly, and the benefits didn't seem to outweigh the costs.
When asked for their take on Jon's situation, American Airlines referred Inc. to PSA, the regional airline subsidiary they own that Jon worked for.
PSA's spokesperson commented:
PSA Airlines offers its pilots the most valuable and stable career path in commercial aviation. The culture, quality of life, and growth at PSA is something few regional carriers can match, and as part of American Airlines, our pilot flow-through program provides a guaranteed and direct path to the largest airline in the world. PSA pilots pride themselves on their outstanding safety and training culture and represent the high-standards of what it means to be a pilot in commercial aviation.
Jon admits in his video that he may have been too "lazy" to make the airline's demanding schedule. But don't worry Jon—it sounds as if we'd all be too "lazy" to comply if we were asked to adhere to the wild runaround you put up with on a daily basis.
Customers often bemoan how little airlines seem to care about their passengers, but now it seems they also fail to care about their employees.