Why Become a Pilot with United Airlines?
As you may know, the U.S. is in the midst of a pilot shortage. With an aging workforce, an FAA-mandated retirement age of 65, and an ever-increasing demand for air travel, major airlines like United are expected to be short as many as 8,000 pilots by 2023. The good news is that with so many open positions, pilot salaries and bonuses are rising and there has never been a better time to enter the aviation industry as a new pilot.
United Airlines operates via a traditional hub-and-spoke model with eight domestic hubs, ORD (Chicago, IL) being the largest hub. Pilots are based at one of nine domiciles: CLE (Cleveland, OH), DEN (Denver, CO), EWR (Newark, NJ), GUM (Guam), IAD (Washington, D.C.), IAH (Houston, TX), LAX (Los Angeles, CA), ORD, and SFO (San Francisco, CA).
Pilots bid for their domiciles based on pilot seniority, and the number of opportunities at each domicile is based on demand.
With its fleet size and volume of passengers each year, United Airlines pilots are considered to be some of the best in the industry and have some of the most desirable routes in the world.
So how much do United pilots make?
Airline pilot salaries depend on a number of factors including experience and number of hours flown per month. Airline Captains and First Officers do not earn a flat annual salary. Instead, they receive an hourly wage for each flight hour flown plus a per diem. As of January 2021, all United First Officers have a starting hourly wage of $91 per hour, which will increase steadily with each year of service.
Depending on the type of aircraft you fly, United First Officer wages increase to a range of $186-$240 per hour by your twelfth year. The pay scale for United Captains starts at a range of $249-$323 per hour and increases to $272-$352 per hour by year 12.
Career benefits for United pilots include health insurance, disability and life insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan with company matching, profit sharing and bonuses, and unlimited standby travel and discounted rates on airline tickets to anywhere United flies.