Senior Captains Earn the Most Airline Pilot Salary

Commercial Airline Pilot Salary How Much do Airline Pilots Make?

Flying is a rewarding career, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction. Pilots undertake intensive training to develop a highly unique skill set. As a result, commercial pilots are paid well and today, enjoy the benefits of a high-demand career in a growing job market.

Download Your FREE Pilot Career Guide »

To alleviate a spike in demand post-pandemic coupled with a major labor shortage, airlines are now offering dramatic pay increases to pilots in order to retain and attract new talent.

Annual Pilot Salary Range

Regional Airline Pilot Pay $54,100 — $217,530

First-Year Regional Airline Pilot Pay »

What is a Regional Airline? »

Major Airline Pilot Pay $98,680 — $450,000

Major Airline Pilot Pay »

How Much Do Pilots Make an Hour? »

According to The May 2022 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary for commercial pilots is $103,910 per year. The median annual wage for airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers is $211,790. In addition to annual earnings, pilots take part in company health, life and disability insurance, and retirement plans. In many cases, these plans exceed what employees in other fields receive.

Download Your Free Pilot Career Guide »

What Can Airline Pilots Plan to Actually Earn? How Much Airline Pilots Make Per Year

At a Glance Airline Pilot Pay Overview

Median Airline Pilot Salary $211,790
Hour Flown Per Month 75 Hours
Factors Affecting Pay Experience, Airline, Aircraft

In the May 2022 report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the range of salaries for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers from less than $98,680 a year, to the highest 10 percent earning more than $225,740. However, these numbers only give us a glimpse of how much a pilot earns and how those earnings change over a career.

Commercial Airline Pilot — A Ten Million Dollar Career

With union protections and seniority system, job security and guaranteed earnings, advancement at the established airlines are excellent. Established airline pilots are paid very well, with the annual earnings of senior captains around $450,000, some pilots can expect a ten million dollar career in total earnings, illustrated below according to the typical career progression.

Commercial Pilot Salary Chart Over a Pilot's Career

*Graph based on SkyWest Airlines and Delta Air Lines pay scales and are for illustration purposes, not promises of future earnings.

Get Your Free Airline Pilot Career GuideDownload Yours Now — No Obligation

Airline Pilot Career Guide PDF

Complete Guide on How to Become a Pilot (PDF)

Gain immediate access to your complete guide on how to become a pilot. Learn more about the requirements, pay, seniority, steps, and more.

Please double-check the required fields below.

Privacy Policy

Thanks, {{ctrl.newlead.nameFirst}}!

Thank you for your interest in ATP's training programs. One of our admissions advisors will contact you soon to answer your questions and provide you with more information. In the meantime, discover the advantages that set ATP apart.

Aircraft
The world’s largest flight training fleet safely maintained by ATP's unparalleled nationwide maintenance department.
Time Frame
Fast track training allowing you to achieve your goals in the shortest timeframe.
Proven Training
Airlines trust ATP trained pilots — proven by more graduates flying for airlines than from any other school.
Reputation
Professional airline-oriented training for over 35 years. Train with the best flight school in the country.
Cost
Fixed cost based on realistic flight times that exceed FAA Part 141 minimums — others quote a minimum cost.
Testimonials
2,000 testimonials from satisfied ATP graduates. Discover why more professional pilots trust ATP.

Thank you for your interest in ATP’s Airline Training Programs and our resources to help you learn about this exciting career.

Your Next Steps...

Free Airline Pilot Career Guide (PDF)
Airline Pilot Career Guide PDF
Airline Pilot Career Guide (PDF)

Download your complete guide on how to become a pilot. Learn more about requirements, pay, seniority, steps, and more.

Free Airline Career Pilot Program (PDF)
Airline Career Pilot Program PDF
Airline Career Pilot Program (PDF)

Download your complete guide on how to gain the competitive edge and become an airline pilot through ATP's Airline Career Pilot Program.

Complete Your Financing Application

An important first step in becoming an airline pilot is researching your financing options. It's quick and easy to apply and you'll receive a credit result in about 15 minutes. There's no obligation to accept the loan or begin flight training with ATP once you've been approved.

If you are approved for financing and qualified by an Admissions Representative, your Admissions Flight is free and sponsored by ATP.

Start Your Financing Application »

Free Airline Pilot Career Guide (PDF)
Airline Pilot Career Guide PDF
Airline Pilot Career Guide (PDF)

Download your complete guide on how to become a pilot. Learn more about requirements, pay, seniority, steps, and more.

Free Airline Career Pilot Program (PDF)
Airline Career Pilot Program PDF
Airline Career Pilot Program (PDF)

Download your complete guide on how to gain the competitive edge and become an airline pilot through ATP's Airline Career Pilot Program.

AirlinePilot.life

AirlinePilot.life is an online community, where current airline pilots share their insight on the career and life as a professional pilot. They are here to help answer your questions as you embark on this exciting career!

Free Online Training

As an ATP student, you'll have access to a mobile-optimized web app from which you can view lesson plans, online scheduling, and a comprehensive collection of online modules. Sample this resource by getting started with a free module now.

Free Admissions Flight Module

An Admissions Flight with ATP is an excellent opportunity for you to get a first-hand look at training with ATP. The best part is that you can get started with a free online lesson right now.

Airline Sponsored Pilot Training Financial Assistance & Benefits

Tuition Reimbursement & Cadet Programs »

Mesa Airlines partners with ATP Flight School

Factors Affecting Pilot Salary

Airline pilot salary varies and can range anywhere from $50,000 per year to several hundred thousand per year depending on:

What is a Regional Airline?

Flying at a regional airline is a likely first step for many pilots. However, climbing to the ranks of Captain at a major airline is the pinnacle of a pilot's career.

Regional Airline Explained »

Which Airline Company?

There are a variety of pay, benefits, and bonus packages dependent on each airline company. ATP actively maintains hiring partnerships with 38 major and regional airlines.

Browse ATP's Airline Hiring Partners »

What is Pilot Seniority

A pilot's experience level (pilot seniority) is measured by how long they have been with a company. Airlines operate on a seniority-based system and seniority is everything as an airline pilot.

Pilot Seniority Explained »

What is a Captain and First Officer?

Your first stop after training and flight instructing will probably be flying as a First Officer. After gaining experience, you will upgrade to Captain. Upgrading not only increases your salary, but usually comes with substantial bonuses.

Airline Captain and First Officer Explained »

Download Program Info »

Related FAQs Airline Career Pilot Program

What are the eligibility requirements for becoming an airline pilot?
How do I become a pilot?
How do I become a pilot for United Airlines?
How do I become a pilot for American Airlines?
Do I need a college degree to be a pilot?
How long does it take to become a pilot?
How long does it take to become a commercial airline pilot?
What is airline seniority?
What is a regional airline pilot's salary?
How much does it cost to become a commercial pilot?
What pilot training programs are available?
What are the types of pilot licenses and certificates?
What is a student pilot certificate?
What is a private pilot license?
What is a commercial pilot license?
How to become a certified flight instructor (CFI)?
How to earn your ATP certificate?
How much do airline pilots make?
What is the current airline pilot hiring outlook?
What are the effects of COVID-19 on the airline industry?
What are the eligibility requirements for becoming an airline pilot?

Summary of educational, medical, legal, certification and qualification requirements to become a commercial pilot and fly for major and regional airlines.

What are the eligibility requirements for becoming an airline pilot? »
How do I become a pilot?

You can become a pilot. Learn how to become a pilot and get your pilot license, including requirements, eligibility, how long it takes, and cost.

How do I become a pilot? »
How do I become a pilot for United Airlines®?

ATP Flight School is the nation’s leader in airline-oriented flight training and has partnered with United to provide ATP students the fastest path to a successful pilot career with United. Learn more about United AviateSM.

How do I become a pilot for United Airlines? »
How do I become a pilot for American Airlines?

Accelerated pilot cadet program, offering a proven path to a pilot career at American Airlines.

How do I become a pilot for American Airlines? »
Do I need a college degree to be a pilot?

No, you don't need a college degree to become a pilot. Learn more about what the college education requirements are to become an airline pilot.

Do I need a college degree to be a pilot? »
How long does it take to become a pilot?

It takes three months to become a private pilot. In two years, you can become a commercial airline pilot. Learn how you can become a pilot with ATP Flight School.

How long does it take to become a pilot? »
How long does it take to become a commercial airline pilot?

Enroll in accelerated flight training with ATP and go from zero experience to a commercial airline pilot, with 1500 hours, in two years. Learn how you can become an airline pilot with ATP Flight School.

How long does it take to become a commercial airline pilot? »
What is airline seniority?

Airlines operate on a seniority-based system. Learn what this means for your career and why getting to the airlines first is important.

Airline seniority explained »
What is a regional airline pilot's salary?

The shortage of pilots qualified to fly for the airlines is causing regional airlines to offer signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and other incentives. Learn more about how much you will earn as a pilot.

Compare First-Year Pay at Each Regional Airline »
How much does it cost to become a commercial pilot?

ATP provides up-front, fixed-cost pricing in a way that differentiates us from most other flight schools and academies. With over 30 years of experience, ATP designs our flight training programs with enough flight time for the vast majority of students to be successful.

How much does it cost to become a commercial pilot? »
What pilot training programs are available?

Complete list of aviation courses, flight training, and career pilot programs offered by ATP Flight School.

What pilot training programs are available? »
What are the types of pilot licenses and certificates?

Uncover everything you need to know about the privileges, requirements, and eligibility criteria associated with different pilot licenses and certifications from the introductory Student Pilot Certificate to the advanced Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification.

What are the types of pilot licenses and certificates? »
What is a student pilot certificate?

The student pilot certificate is a requirement in order to fly a powered aircraft by yourself, known as “soloing” in aviation.

What is a student pilot certificate? »
What is a private pilot license?

A Private Pilot License (PPL) is the first major milestone on the road to a career as a pilot. Learn about the private pilot license; including privileges, requirements, eligibilty, and how to earn your private pilot license.

What is a private pilot license? »
What is a commercial pilot license?

Learn all about a commercial pilot license, including privileges, requirements, eligibilty, and how to earn this pilot license.

What is a commercial pilot license? »
How to become a certified flight instructor (CFI)?

Learn all about earning your flight instructor certification, including privileges, requirements, eligibilty, and salary information.

How to become a certified flight instructor? »

Learn all about earning your flight instructor certification, including privileges, requirements, eligibilty, and salary information.

How to become a certified flight instructor? »
How to earn your ATP certificate?

An ATP certification will also open a wide array of pilot job opportunities with various corporate and private air carriers. Learn more about the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certification, such as, eligibility requirements and flight experience requirements.

How to Earn Your ATP Certificate? »
How much do airline pilots make?

Flying is a rewarding career, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction. Pilots undertake intensive training to develop a highly unique skill set. As a result, commercial pilots are paid well.

What is a commercial pilot’s salary? »
What is the current airline pilot hiring outlook?

Commercial airline pilot job career information; airline pilot hiring, pilot salary, retirement numbers, military pilot population reduction and the overall upcoming pilot shortage discussion.

What is the current airline pilot hiring outlook? »
What are the effects of COVID-19 on the airline industry?

Long-term pilot career outlook in response to COVID-19, including long term hiring trends, projections, retirements, and the effects of postponing flight training.

What are the effects of COVID-19 on the airline industry? »

Updated