Many people want to become a pilot because the inspiring stories they’ve heard about the job as well as how movies and TV shows depict the profession as a reputable and lucrative one. While some of these bear some truth, not everyone is aware of the full scope of becoming an aviator.
While this idealized look does paint a pretty picture of pilots, many don’t realize the time and effort needed to become one. Aspiring pilots must first undergo pilot training and pass several exams just to get their license. Once they have earned their wings, they have to adhere to the strict standards and schedule that their airline follows.
If you are considering a piloting career, it’s valuable to learn the advantages and disadvantages that come with the profession. This way, you can better prepare for the responsibilities and make better informed choices on your road to becoming a pilot. To give you some ideas about the job, here are the pros and cons you can expect as an aviator.
Pro: You Get to Travel the World
One of the perks of becoming a pilot is the opportunity to travel to different places around the world. While it’s normal to travel from airport to airport for work, there are times when pilots can end up staying in a new city or country for a couple of days. This gives them the time to explore their destination and immerse themselves in the local culture.
Even when traveling for leisure, pilots get some amazing perks. Most of the time, pilots for commercial airlines can get discounted fees or even travel for free. This benefit also extends to their family, regardless of whether the pilot is still on active duty or has already retired.
Pro: The Flexible Work Hours
For most people, reporting to work means they have to get to the office at nine in the morning and leave at five in the afternoon. In addition to the regular eight-hour shift, they’ll need to bear the daily commute and sit at the same office desk every day. If you’re doing this from Monday to Friday for the entire year, it can feel pretty mundane.
Pilots, on the other hand, have a more flexible schedule with changing flight routes and working hours. They can start work at different times of the day—which means anytime from mid-day or even at night. This varied schedule often matches with the region or area that they’re required to travel. Apart from pilots’ work schedules, their vacation days often change too. Depending on their seniority and flight schedule, pilots can enjoy a minimum of 12 days off every month. This gives them plenty of time to rest and recuperate for their next flights.
Pro: It Can Be a Lucrative Career
Another attractive benefit of becoming a pilot is the compensation. Depending on the airline they’re employed in and their ranking, a First Class Officer can earn a minimum of PHP 175,000 while a Senior Captain can earn at least PHP 350,000.
Additionally, pilots get additional incentives such as transportation and living costs. They also receive allowances for clothing, meals, and hotels when they’re traveling for work. During their employment, pilots also enjoy health and life insurance benefits. Once they retire, they also get a generous retirement plan for their years of service.
Con: Costly Initial Investment
One downside most pilots need to face is the costly investment to pursue the profession. Aspiring pilots need to cover all training costs including ground and flight instructions. They also need to pay for books, medical exams, licenses, and aircraft rental fees, among other expenses. If you reside in another area far from the flight school, you also need to think about your lodging arrangements.
Although training to become a pilot require a certain investment, the costs can be spread out over the years as the student works on acquiring their pilot licenses. This means you don’t need to settle the entire amount in just a single payment. Also, some schools offer financial assistance, partner with financial institutions with student load programs, and have part-time flight training. The last option is ideal for people who want to work while earning their wings.
Con: It Can Be Stressful
While flying an aircraft is an exciting experience, it can also be a stressful one. Whenever airline pilots go to work, they know that they’re responsible for the lives of their crew and passengers. Fortunately, every pilot has undergone rigorous training to safely fly specific types of aircraft such as Airbus, Boeing, and ATR. Also, a good pilot will always regularly update themselves with the latest aircraft instrument and technology.
A lot of people aspire to be a pilot because they see it as a lucrative and rewarding career. What they might not realize is that, like any other job, becoming a pilot has some downsides too. If you’re considering pursuing this profession, make sure to do some research on it so that you can understand the full scope of your responsibilities once you become a pilot. This way, you can better assess whether or not becoming an aviator is the best choice for you.