How hard is a pilots lifestyle?

I'm looking to become a pilot and everything seems like it's going good. Although, I'm very worried about the lifestyle of a pilot. Being away from a possible family seems like a very hard thing for me right now. I'm not sure how I feel about it. If anyone, who is a pilot or knows about it could give me some advice it would help a lot, Thanks.

Pilsner Man

Depends on who you are piloting for. Maybe you should thought about this before spending all the money required to become a pilot. Certified plumbers and electricians stay home, and have the money to fly for fun.


I am away from home roughly 10 nights a year. I’ve been a pilot for decades.

Zaphod Beeblebrox

That's about like asking how the weather is in the northern hemisphere. It is variable. There are many types of flying jobs for pilots and their schedules are not all the same. Not even close. Some pilots are home every night and some are gone for weeks or months at a time, and others fall somewhere in between. Not only that, but more often than not a pilot must move to where the job is located. Lucky is the pilot who can work from their home city, especially early in a flying career. If you want to be employed and stay employed, then you must be flexible about where you live, which usually means moving away from family and friends for a few years. If you are referring to airline pilots, even their schedules are variable depending on whether it is a domestic airline or an international airline, and whether they fly long haul or short haul routes. It also depends on one's seniority within a company. Most airline pilots are away from home anywhere from 8 days a month to 20 days a month. When I was a pilot for a domestic airline, I was never away from home for less than 12 days per month, and sometimes I was away as much as 21 days days per month, and the schedule was never quite the same each month. As a junior copilot, and then later a junior captain, I rarely had holidays off, and I worked more weekends than not, and I was not based near my home town so wasn't able to get to see old friends and family as much as I would have liked. This is true with most airline jobs and such schedules can indeed be very hard on family life. I hate to say it, but the divorce rate is high among professional pilots. So, if being with friends and family is important to you, perhaps you should consider a different field, or at least a type of flying career that doesn't involve so much time away. There are many easier and more financially rewarding careers that would allow you to fly for fun.

Mike M

Their are many sacrifices that you will endure as a Pilot, Being away from family is the hardest of them all. Normally I fly International for 3 or 4 days a week ( just 2 trips ). The industry is short on Pilots now, I really think you should consider it.

Rona Lachat

Depends on the Pilot and where they normally fly. You can be many nights per year away from home You might fly at night and be home in the day time too. Just like any job involved in long distance travel it is something you and family adjust to. the first few years you get the flights others do not want. You work the weekends, the night flights, the holiday flights. You are not on a continuous holiday seeing the world. At destination off to the hotel for some sleep and a meal or two. Might have a few hours to explore before back to Airport for next days work. Commercial pilots have more days off than most in the work force, Does not mean it is a day off AT HOME. They just like passengers get rerouted and diverted for storms and get a messed up schedule for a bit.Just the way it is. The home family has to adopt to the erratic schedule. There are 364 other days of the year to celebrate a birthday.Things like child care and pet care must be figured out for anytime any day as your flight home might just not fly as as scheduled. You are not working a M-F 8-5 job. Just the way it is for shift workers in any 24/7 business. The perks are not bad. The pay is good. You do get a lot of days off it is just not predicable what those days will be month to month. Physically not a hard job. For the big Airplanes an hour at the start and end of the day of real work and hours in between not doing much most of the time. Of course when you start many flights are not very long so you are constantly busy getting ready for next take off and next landing.The view at night or in clouds is not so great. Landing and taking off during a storm is not a lot of fun. I'm looking to become a pilot. GOOD START No Airline MUST hire you just because you apply with a list of requirements. They select from many applicants the best applicants. You might work for a smaller airline and return home almost every night, Airlines are not thrilled to pay your room stay away from home if they can avoid it. Charter Airlines fly where the customer wants to go.Never know for sure when or where you next weeks flights will be. Maybe you work at a large company and fly the executives where they want to go. maybe you fly for the forest service and drop water over fires. Maybe you fly an Air Ambulance definitely not a regular schedule. Of course you are aware of the other 200 jobs at Airports and Airlines other than just Pilot. The main issue is where is your normal start work place in relation to your home. If you live in Seattle and work out of Miami you are not home very much. Of course you would never think of being a pilot that flies people to remote lodges for fishing trips or sight seeing over some spectacular place. This Airport is very busy and has no paved runways to land on. Its control tower is something out of the ordinary also.


It is not hard. You can give free housing to the flight attendants.


Depends on the type of duty (local feeder, transcontinental major, international, freight, standby, charter, air tours, instructor, test, military) and how long or hard you wish to work to go up through the ranks, build seniority, the success of the organization you work for, if you have an alternate income, family responsibilites, like living "on the road", can stand work hours any time day or night sometimes, As you can see from above, too many variables to give you a definite or accurate answer for your particular case. My neighbor, a copilot, and his wife, a flight attendant, had a home in southern California. They commuted to their jobs in Minneapolis. They had regular runs to South Korea for a week or more at a time. They left the house cat locked in a bathroom while they were gone.