Working in the aviation industry comes with many rewards. That said, pilots can still face their fair share of negatives. For some, it’s the dream job they’ve always wanted and then there are others who find out pilot work isn’t like anything they expected.
Here’s a list of the pros and cons of being a pilot. Consider it a rundown of some of the aspects of being a pilot not often spoken about and which we usually don’t see in media or movies.
1. Pro – Thorough training
Flight school really puts people through the trials and tribulations of what can happen in the air. Pilots are thoroughly trained, receiving lots of studying and flying time with no exception. You are also trained to use and understand different types of aviation software that will help you to navigate the plane.
Unfortunately, there may not be a job guarantee at the end of one’s training. Even so, the beginning of an aviation career, one receives a lot of guided training and support which ideally would leave you with a strong skillset.
2. Con – Security checks
For many pilots, this is the most annoying aspect of their day to day. There are different kinds of pilots out there including some that can skip security controls at select destinations. For the vast majority of pilots, they have to pass security every time. Even with all the background checks, certifications, and trust in your ability to operate safely and efficiently, you still need to pass security, get your bags checked, and confirm you’re not going to do anything inappropriate.
3. Pro – No day is the same
One of the pros of being a pilot is that you go where the aircraft goes. It’s not your usually 9-to-5 job. Every day is a little different. Although the aviation industry is up and down, with companies forming and dissolving worldwide seemingly every year, as a pilot with a profitable airline you can somewhat count on enjoying your time in the air. You may see different cities and have different experiences all over the world which can be thrilling.
4. Con – Costs and variables in licensing
Being a pilot is an expensive gig, from the training you receive early on to the licensing. Of the cons, the worst is probably all the variables that go into obtaining a license to fly commercial airplanes. The biggest variable is probably health. If for any reason you are not able to be in the air anymore, you can lose your license. If you lose your medical, you lose your license which can leave a pilot without a way forward in terms of employment and income.
5. Pro – Good pay
There are more pilots in the world today than ever before and although this has caused some salaries to drop, the average established and experienced pilot will make a decent living. You can have a fulfilled, good life with a lot of perks that can come with the pilot life and salary contract.
The unfortunate con of being a pilot is that salaries can differ in a big way, depending on experience, airline, and more. If you’re willing to invest and work hard though, you can boost income relatively quickly compared to other industries.
6. Con – You’re not home often
Pilot schedules can vary but in-demand pilots who work full-time usually have to work hard to continue having a social life. For more than half the month, you may not be home to attend gatherings or social events. If you make the effort, you may be able to plan around work but about being a pilot, when you’re called to duty, you’ve got to be ready to ship out.
7. Pro – You don’t take work home with you
Sometimes you will get a decent stretch of days off when you can relax and de-compress. Thankfully, as a pilot, when you’re home, you’re home. You’re not on call. There’s no reason for anyone to hassle you when you aren’t in ‘work mode’. When you book a vacation or whatever the case, the time you spend away from work is entirely yours to enjoy.
8. Con – Irregular working hours
As we’ve hinted at earlier on, the work is consistent but the hours can be all over the place. Irregular working hours, learn to like them! Some days you may only have one flight and then, it’s three flights the next day. Some days, you may fly at night. Other days, you’re flying in the day. Stress and fatigue can add up on a schedule like this so remember to eat nutritiously, give your body rest when you need to, and minimize discomfort whenever possible.
9. Pro – You make some really good friends
When you’re a pilot, you’re becoming a part of the family. Crews get to know each other well, they work together, and you can build a healthy rapport with energized people. Crews will take care of each other, support each other, and become friends particularly if there are layovers involved. The unfortunate thing is you’re rarely staying at nice locations. After all, it’s still work. People follow their own routines but the time spent together can create strong bonds.