American Airlines Pilot Salary – Over $590,000 A Year

southafricappl - How much American Airlines Pilot Salary - The steps are Breakdown in details

How Much Do American Airlines Pilots Make?

Compared to their counterparts in Europe and the UK, American first officers and captains generally enjoy significantly higher salaries. Here’s a breakdown:

Short-Haul Captain on Airbus A320: American Airlines pilots flying narrow-body, short-haul routes, like the Airbus A320, may earn approximately $475,000 a year within four years.

Long-Haul Captain on Boeing 777: For those operating wide-body, long-haul aircraft such as the Boeing 777, the basic annual salary can go as high as $590,000.

However, it’s important to note that entry-level salaries are substantially lower. A first-year first officer (often referred to as a flight crew member) flying a Boeing 737 might earn around $75,000 to $90,000 annually. Over the next five years, this base pay can increase significantly, reaching well over $160,000, and with recent agreements, it can exceed $200,000 per year.

The Huge Pay Rise Coming To Aviation

When we talk about how much American Airline pilots earn, we have to consider recent negotiations and the economic situation in the United States.

Right now, pilots at American Airlines are already making a decent salary. However, there’s been growing pressure on American Airlines to match the significant pay increase that Delta offered to their flight crews. Delta provided a 34% pay raise over three years.

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom had some good news for his flight crews. He said, “American is ready to match Delta’s pay rates and give our pilots the same profit-sharing deal that Delta’s pilots have.”

This means that, under this new agreement, in the fourth year, American Airlines’ flight crews are set to get a remarkable 40% increase in pay.

American Airlines’ management is hoping that this new contract will be approved by the flight crews when they vote on it in April.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines’ flight crews, hasn’t given an immediate response to Isom’s statement.

It’s not just American Airlines making these changes. Other U.S. carriers like United Airlines and even regional airlines are expected to increase their pay to compete for skilled pilots during the global pilot shortage.

In addition to higher pay, American Airlines’ flight crews are also demanding more predictable schedules to avoid issues that affect their quality of life, such as sudden changes and reassignments.

What Has Created These Extensive Payrises?

American Airlines pilots are getting paid more because there aren’t enough pilots around the world, especially in the United States. This is mainly because of a rule that says pilots need 1500 hours of flying experience.

This rule, set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), mandates that flight crew members must accumulate a minimum of 1500 flight hours before they can work for major or regional airlines. However, there has been growing scrutiny surrounding this rule.

Consequently, aspiring pilots must first accumulate these flight hours through activities like flight instruction or other methods before they become eligible to work for regional carriers like Envoy Airlines or PSA Airlines.

The impact of this rule is evident in the significant salary boosts for American Airlines pilots. For instance, top-tier wide-body American Airlines pilots will see their annual salaries reach an impressive $590,000 by the fourth year of their agreement, marking a $170,000 increase compared to the current rates. Similarly, narrow-body operators will experience a $135,000 raise, with their annual salaries reaching $475,000 by the fourth year.

American Airlines Pilot Salary – The Breakdown

However, when analyzing American Airlines pilot salaries, it’s essential to consider other factors in the compensation structure. The figures mentioned above represent the base salaries for flight crew members. Additional components to account for include:

Flight Pay/Per Diem Pay: Pilots receive compensation on an hourly basis, which means that the more they fly, the more they earn.

SOUTHAFRICAPPL- How Much American Airlines Pilot Salary Over $590,000 A Year

Bonuses: American Airlines offers a profit-sharing program, where crew members can receive bonuses of up to 20% of profits exceeding $2.5 billion. This could result in substantial bonuses for some pilots, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

401k Contributions: The airline ensures that 401k contributions are included in the employment agreement, allowing pilots to save for their retirement.

Overtime: Flight crew members can earn extra pay, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars per hour, for working overtime.

These various components contribute to the overall compensation package for American Airlines pilots, making it a combination of base salaries, hourly pay, bonuses, retirement benefits, and overtime earnings.

How Much Do American Airlines Long-Haul Pilots Get Paid? And What Short-Haul Pilots Get Paid?

American Airlines pays its long-haul pilots operating large planes up to $590,000 each year, thanks to a recent pay increase. Short-haul captains, who operate smaller aircraft, can now earn up to $475,000 annually.

Factors Impacting An American Airlines Pilot Salary

Several factors play a role in determining an American Airlines pilot’s salary:

Seniority: The longer a pilot has been with the airline, the more they earn. Senior pilots enjoy higher payscales and better pay.

Aircraft Type: Pilots operating wide-body planes like the Boeing 777 or 747 typically earn more than those flying narrow-body planes.

Flight Hours: The more time a pilot spends in the air, the more they get paid.

Overtime: Pilots who take on extra flying hours through overtime can significantly increase their earnings.


American Airlines provides its flight crew with some of the highest salaries globally. The recent 40% pay rise over the next four years further boosts job satisfaction within the airline. The generous compensation has even led to European and UK flight crew hoping for Green Card opportunities to experience these excellent pay rates.

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