How Much Do Southwest Pilots Make?

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In Southwest Airlines, pilots on average can earn a total pay of $107,676 (USD) per year. This is the median income based on user-generated data.

As per their estimate, the base pay for pilots is $91, 682 per year & the additional pay is $15,994 (USD) per year. The additional pay is variable and could account for bonuses, stock, commissions, or tips.

How much do Southwest pilots make an hour?

Southwest Airlines pilots on average make $51 (USD) per hour. Based on their estimation, the base pay is $44 (USD) per hour & the variable pay is $8 (USD) per hour.

It should be noted that there is a defined corporate hierarchy among pilots. This pay figure consists of the average salaries of Captains, First Officers, Regular Pilots & Corporate Pilots – each having different levels of income.

Interestingly, airplane pilots in the United States make $91,466 (USD) per year on average. This figure happens to be 15% lower than the average yearly income of a Southwest Airlines pilot, which is $107,676 (USD) as mentioned above.

Do pilots get paid hourly or per flight?

Pilots don’t get a fixed yearly salary like most professionals. Instead, they get an hourly payment for the duration of a flight flown by them along with a daily allowance. The daily allowance might include lodging, meals, and incidental expenses such as tips to hotel employees, waiters, baggage carriers, etc.

Due to the strict regulations placed on pilots by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), their average flight time is around 85 hours per month. Work hours of preflight planning are not considered for payday.

Most pilot employment offer letters & contracts include a monthly guaranteed minimum. This is the minimum remuneration the company pays the pilot for a minimum number of flight hours, irrespective of whether those hours are flown.

Pilots are not allowed to fly more than 1000 hours in a calendar year. So, most airlines pay their pilots a guaranteed minimum which is roughly $80 (USD). It makes sure that the pilot has his basic needs met when a flight is grounded.

Do Southwest pilots make good money?

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Pay and benefits offered to Southwest pilots are among the best in corporate America. US Pilots on average make about $91,466 (USD) per year. Whereas, the average yearly income of a Southwest Airlines pilot is around $107,676 (USD) – 15% higher than the national average.

Furthermore, as a Southwest Airlines employee, you can get several flight benefits and insurance benefits. Some employees can even get special treatment if their performance is liked & recognized by the management.

Southwest pilots also get their first raise after 6 months, after that raises are yearly. Some Southwest pilots make as much as $549,000 a year.

The airline also pays overtime to workers who work more than 40 hours a week. So, we can say that Southwest pilots indeed make good money.

How much does a Southwest 737 pilot make?

On average a Southwest 737 pilot (Captain) can make around $265,000 which is 293% higher than the national average.

What is the highest-paying job in Southwest?

Engineering & finance domain jobs tend to earn the highest salaries at Southwest Airlines on average. The salary of an average worker in Southwest Airlines is $41,081 (USD) which is $19.75 per hour.

The Airline pays around $19,000 (USD) per year to its bottom 10% of employees and the top 10% generates around $87,000 (USD) as yearly income.

As the cost of living varies across states, employee location also influences how much he gets paid by the airline. Southwest employees living in San Jose (California), Seattle (Washington), Fine (New York), Boston (Massachusetts) & Urban Honolulu (Hawaii) are paid the most.

The top 10 paying positions at Southwest Airlines include:

  • Senior Software Engineer, with a yearly salary of $120,951 (USD)
  • Lead Technician, with a yearly salary of $119,472 (USD)
  • Senior Java Developer, with a yearly salary of $119,387 (USD)
  • DevOps Engineer, with a yearly salary of $111,697 (USD)
  • Quality Assurance Lead, with a yearly salary of $110,165 (USD)
  • Java/J2ee Developer, with a yearly salary of $105,743 (USD)
  • Quality Assurance Analyst, with a yearly salary of $90,112 (USD)
  • Business Analyst, with a yearly salary of $89,786 (USD)
  • Business Consultant, with a yearly salary of $89,685 (USD)
  • Team Leader, with a yearly salary of $87,497 (USD)

How much does a Southwest pilot make a month?

While the average monthly pay for a pilot in the United States is $9,593 a month, a Southwest pilot on average makes around $8,973 a month.

Southwest pilot salary 2022

It should be kept in mind that the hourly pay for Southwest Airlines pilots would vary based on aircraft type, years of experience, etc. Considering the plane is a Boeing 747, the hourly salary of pilots (First Officer) is as follows:

  • Starting salary – $84/hr
  • Average salary – $171/hr
  • Top salary – $191/hr

Similarly, the hourly salary of more experienced pilots (Captain) is listed below:

  • Starting salary – $241/hr
  • Average salary – $256/hr
  • Top salary – $274/hr

How much do American airline pilots make?

In the United States, piloting is a rewarding career both in terms of job satisfaction and financial value. American pilots undergo rigorous training to develop a special skill set. This is why they are paid handsomely.

A pilot’s remuneration depends on factors like the airline, the pilot’s experience level, education, certifications, aircraft flown, etc.

American Airlines is a major US-based airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – pays a median salary of $157,143 to its pilots in a year. Their salaries range from $64,252 to $262,358 a year based on 2018 data.

On top of this, overtime bonuses and profit sharing can boost yearly salaries to a range of $105,000 to $477,003.

To reduce the pandemic-induced pilot shortages and mitigate the attrition rate, American airlines have announced a 17% pay hike for pilots by the end of 2024.

Once this revised pay structure comes into effect, American airline pilots flying narrowbody planes can make as much as $340,000 per year. This implies a $45,000 increase to their current yearly remuneration.

On the other hand, pilots operating widebody aircraft like the Boeing B787, could get a $64,000 hike and make as much as $425,000 per year, excluding bonuses.

How much do Delta airline pilots make?

Delta airlines is one of the largest airlines in America employing thousands of pilots. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a legacy carrier.

Much like many other airlines, Delta pilots are paid based on seniority, routes – domestic or international, airframe, etc. An entry-level pilot’s salary (first officer) usually starts from $64,000 per year. Whereas, an experienced pilot (senior captain) can make as much as $257,000 per year.

After completing their first year, Delta airline pilots see a significant pay hike. After five years and roughly four pay raises, the pilot can earn between $80,000 and $160,000 a year.

Apart from basic pay, Delta airline pilots are eligible for several benefits such as – profit sharing, life insurance, savings plan, medical insurance, paid leaves, free and discounted flights, etc.

Which airline pays highest salary to pilots?

Southwest Airlines is the largest low-cost carrier in the world. It caters to 121 destinations in the United States and 10 countries worldwide. It holds the record of having the highest international pilot salary in the world.

Pilots working at Southwest airlines can expect to earn between $55,530 to $603,282 per year. The average wage is around $262,183 yearly.

Some of the top-paying airlines that follow Southwest airlines are as follows:

  • JetBlue Airways – $213,195 yearly
  • United Airlines – $208,387 yearly
  • Alaska Airlines – $199,298 yearly
  • Delta Airlines – $184,133 yearly
  • Hawaiian Airlines – $150,001 yearly
  • Sun Country Airlines – $124,072 yearly
  • American Airways – $121,047 yearly
  • Frontier Airlines – $116,692 yearly
  • Spirit Airlines – $114,494 yearly

How to become a Southwest pilot?

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Southwest airlines put safety, reliability, service & cost at the forefront – so pilots have to hold these aspects of their job to the highest standards.

The general requirements to be a Southwest pilot are as follows:

  • Applicant must have an FAA (US) Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.
  • Applicant must be at least 23 years of age.
  • Minimum flight experience of 2500 hours or 1500 hours flying turbine aircraft.
  • Only fixed-wing aircraft are considered for pilot time.
  • Applicant must have flown 2 years out of the last 5 years.
  • Applicant must have an FCC Radiotelephone Operator Permit.
  • Applicant must possess a recent FAA Class 1 Medical Certificate and must have passed the FAA-mandated drug test.
  • Applicant must be authorized to work in the US. Should have a valid Driver’s License along with a passport or a Refugee Travel Document.
  • Applicants having a graduate degree from an accredited four-year college will be preferred.
  • Applicants must have at least 3 letters of recommendation, attesting to the applicant’s flying skills.

Other requirements:

  • Applicant must be able to lift and move 40 lbs.
  • Must comply with the attendance standards set by the company.
  • The ability to read, write and speak English proficiently.
  • Must be able to complete training programs during the evaluation period.
  • High diligence under time pressure is needed along with interpersonal skills.
  • Should be able to work rotating shifts, do overtime or travel overseas.
  • Must follow grooming habits as per company policies.

FAQs relating to how much Southwest pilots make

Do Southwest pilots make good money?

Southwest airlines have the highest international pilot salary in the world. Pilots working there can expect to earn between $55,530 to $603,282 every year. The average wage is around $262,183 yearly.

So, yes Southwest pilots do make good money.

How much money does a Southwest Airline pilot make?

In Southwest Airlines, pilots on average can earn a total pay of $107,676 (USD) per year on average. This translates to about $51 (USD) per hour or $8,973 a month.

What airline pays the pilots the most?

Southwest airlines hold the record of having the highest international pilot salary in the world. The annual average wage is a whopping $262,183.

How much does a Southwest 737 pilot make?

Highly experienced pilots (captains) working under Southwest airlines can stand to make $274/hr, which amounts to roughly $600,000 in a year.

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