How Much Do Commercial Pilots Make a Hour

A Pilot's Hourly Rate is Based on SeniorityHow Much Do Pilots Make a Hour?

Due to the constraints placed on pilots by the FAA, most fly about 75 hours per month. There are more work hours involved, such as preflight planning, but time in the cockpit, and thus the pay, is usually about 75 hours monthly. In addition to flight time, pilots are also paid per diem, which serves to reimburse pilots for the food and beverage expenses that they incur on the road. For this discussion, add in $7,000 per year to every annual salary to reflect per diem.

Tip: Full financing is available for ATP's Airline Career Program students through Sallie Mae. Explore your loan options today »

Download Your Free Pilot Career Guide »

How Seniority Affects Airline Pilot Salary? Airline Captain and First Officer

Company seniority (and pay) increases after each year the pilot has worked for the airline. Pilots start as a first officer with first year pay, and then climb in pay rates each subsequent year with the company. Once a pilot upgrades to captain, they begin earning the captain pay for the year they upgrade. For example, if a pilot upgrades to captain during their fourth year with the company, they will earn year four captain pay.

Envoy Logo First Officer
Embraer ERJ-175
Embraer ERJ-140
Year 1 $93/hr $150/hr
Year 4 $111/hr $161/hr
Year 8 $176/hr
Year 12 $191/hr
Note: these numbers are approximations and are not promises of future earnings.
What is the salary for a regional airline pilot in 2024?

Compare the first-year pay of a pilot at each regional airline. How much you will earn and the regional's path to which Major Airline.

Regional Airline First Year Pay »
Calculate How Much You Can Earn as a Pilot

Envoy Air — The Fastest Path to American Airlines Now Offering $15k in Bonuses

Learn More »

Two airline pilots walking towards American Eagle ERJ at IWA training center

Factors Affecting Pilot Salary

Airline pilot salary varies and can range anywhere from $54,100 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 »

Get Your Free Airline Pilot Career Guide Download Yours Now — No Obligation

Airline Pilot Career Guide PDF

Free Airline Pilot Career Guide

Get your complete guide on how to become a pilot — Requirements, Pay, Steps and More.

Download Now »