Airline Pilot Salaries: Which Airlines Have the Highest Pay?

Published: 12-03-2014
We analyzed the airline payscales submitted to APC to create this breakdown of what the Legacy, Major and Regional airlines pay their pilots on average, as well as at the low and high ends.

Pilots spend a lot of time away from home, with long hours and extensive training required for their jobs that, hopefully, leads to a solid paycheck at the end of the week. But the pay range among pilots is quite varied. As expected, the largest airlines tend to have the highest pay rates—yet that's not always the case. We analyzed the airline pays cales submitted to APC to create this breakdown of what the Legacy, Major and Regional airlines pay their pilots on average, as well as at the low and high ends.

Legacy

Out of the largest legacy airlines, Delta has the highest combined pay rate, followed quite closely by United. Delta compensates their pilots at $212.97 an hour, on average, with United's average rates at $209.40. The remaining legacy airlines aren't too far behind, however. Hawaiian Airlines averages $186.47 with Alaskan at $181.83. US Airlines, meanwhile, compensates their pilots an average of $182.94.

A lot of data can hide in averages, however. Delta pays their first year pilots, at the lowest, $173 an hour with the highest paid pilot hitting $263.00. Not every airline has a pay scale that close, however. The lowest paid pilots at both U.S. Airways and American Airlines are making just $35 an hour while the highest is at $241.00. The remaining airlines keep the difference to less than $100, with Hawaiian having a $36 difference and Alaska Airlines, $30.

Major

The pay difference is much greater among major airlines. Southwest Airlines has the greatest combined pay, while Republic (updated their pay scale in 2015), American Eagle, ExpressJet, Skywest and Sun Country have lower pay rates. Southwest pays an average of $203.50 an hour while five of the major airlines pay under $100. JetBlue hits a $169.64 average, Spirit Airlines $149.87, with AirTran Airways at a very close fourth at $149.33. The remaining major airlines pay an average of:

American Eagle Airlines $82.19

ExpressJet $81.40

Frontier $136.64

Republic Airlines $82.52

Sun Country $98.00

SkyWest $83.14

Virgin America $148.42

Southwest has the highest pay rate for first year pilots out of the major airlines at $191. Allegiant and JetBlue pay first year pilots $131, though JetBlue has a higher pay rate for their top fliers at $189 compared to Allegiant's $153. Sun Country has the lowest pay rate for first year pilots at $31, with SkyWest at $49 and Republic at $50.

Regional

Most regional airlines pay on average $73.47 an hour, though the range is pretty significant. Corvus, an airline with about 86 pilots, has the highest average pay for the regional category at $97.25 an hour. Horizon Air ($88.61), Compass ($85.22), Air Wisconsin ($81.44), PSA ($80.79), GoJet ($78.93) and Trans States Airlines ($77.89) all pay an average above $75. The remaining regional airlines pay, on average:

Cape Air $38.71

CommutAir $62.48

Great Lakes $36.95

Island Air $69.42

Mesa Airlines $63.18

Peninsula Airways $59.30

Piedmont Airlines $64.26

Endeavor Air $72.13

Seaborne Airlines $61.90

Silver Airways $57.11

First year pilots at regional airlines can expect to make as little as $15 (Cape Air) or as much as $76 (Corvus). The highest paid pilots at Corvus make $117 while at Great Lakes it's just $48 for experienced fliers.

Stay tuned for our next update that analyzes First Officer payscale data submitted to APC.