Joe McClain - May 6, 2024
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Airline and commercial pilots in the United States have a median salary of $148,900 per year. As of 2022, there were 142,600 jobs in this field, with a projected 4% job growth from 2022 to 2032, adding 5,600 positions. Tourism Review presents a list of the top US airlines with the highest average pilot salary, a ranking that is crucial for aspiring pilots and aviation professionals.

5. Hawaiian Airlines - $217,000 Average Pilot Salary

Hawaiian Airlines, also known as Hui Mokulele o Hawaiʻi, is a major US airline headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is the primary airline serving Hawaii and ranks as the tenth-largest carrier in the country. 

The airline operates from two main airports, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and Kahului Airport, and has a crew base at Los Angeles International Airport. Its routes cover destinations in Asia, Australia, French Polynesia, and the US mainland, making it a significant player in Pacific air travel. 

Notably, Hawaiian Airlines, owned by Hawaiian Holdings, has a perfect safety record with no fatal accidents or hull losses. The airline is recognized for its punctuality and exceptional service quality, consistently leading in on-time performance and customer satisfaction metrics.

4. Southwest Airlines - $259,000 Average Pilot Salary

Southwest Airlines Co. is a prominent American carrier headquartered in Dallas, Texas. It follows a low-cost model and serves 121 destinations in the US and ten countries. Southwest is recognized for its domestic passenger volume, ranking North America's third-largest airline. The airline was created in 1967 as Air Southwest Co. by entrepreneurs Herb Kelleher and Rollin King. It started intrastate operations before expanding nationally in 1979. Southwest emphasizes a point-to-point network and offers free checked bags to its passengers. The airline exclusively operates Boeing 737s. With approximately 66,100 employees, Southwest executes about 4,000 daily departures during peak seasons, sustaining its unique position in the competitive aviation market.

3. United Airlines - $262,000 Average Pilot Salary

United Airlines, Inc. is a Chicago-based airline with a wide-reaching domestic and international network covering all continents. It operates major hubs in Chicago–O'Hare, and Denver, with daily flights and many passengers. The airline also provides regional services under the United Express brand. United Airlines was established in the late 1920s by merging several airlines, including Varney Air Lines. In 1997, it became a founding member of the Star Alliance. The airline's merger with Continental Airlines in 2010 cemented its position as one of the world's largest airlines, ranking first in destinations served and third in revenue and fleet size.

2. American Airlines - $265,000 Average Pilot Salary

American Airlines is considered one of the top airlines for pilots because of its extensive network, high-quality facilities, and prestigious reputation. As the largest airline in the world (by passenger carried), American Airlines offers unparalleled opportunities for career advancement and diverse flying experiences. With almost 6,800 daily flights to more than 350 destinations worldwide, pilots benefit from exposure to various aircraft and routes. The airline's state-of-the-art hubs, such as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and its membership in the esteemed Oneworld alliance are well-known. With a strong workforce of over 129,700 employees, American Airlines provides a supportive environment for pilots to grow professionally.

1. Delta Air Lines - $275,000 Average Pilot Salary

Delta Airlines is known for being the highest paying airline for pilots in the US, and they have a fleet of modern and fuel-efficient aircraft. They have plans to purchase advanced models like the Boeing 737-10s, Airbus A321neos, A330neos, and A350s, which showcases their commitment to innovation. This ensures pilots have access to cutting-edge technology, which enhances their flying experience and professional development.

In addition to this, Delta Airlines offers unparalleled job security and strong financial backing. They offer industry-leading compensation and retirement packages, which provide pilots with high base pay rates, the best profit-sharing program in the industry, and substantial 401(k) contributions. Delta Airlines has a global reach and services nearly 200 million travelers across 275 destinations in 50 countries—developing exposure to diverse flying conditions. Delta Airlines also offers lifestyle flexibility, transparent leadership, and a commitment to sustainability, making it one of the best airlines for pilots in the US.

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