Looking to Switch Careers? A Severe Pilot Shortage Is Happening Now!

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Looking to Switch Careers? A Severe Pilot Shortage Is Happening Now!

Brett HolzhauerLooking to Switch Careers? A Severe Pilot Shortage Is Happening Now!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Interested in learning more about the secrets of super cheap travel?  Then subscribe to our newsletter.

For us travelers, we tend to overlook the folks who get us from point A to point B.  Whether it be the cab driver, hotel receptionist, or flight attendant, these jobs are necessary to have a functioning hospitality industry.  However, airplane pilots are hard to come by.

There were about 827,000 pilots in 1987.  That number has decreased by 30% since then.  To add to the dilemma, the International Air Transport Association says that air travel will double over the next 20 years.

In short, travelers and the airlines are in trouble.

We All Love Our Pilots – But What Happens If We Run Out of Them?!

The airline industry earns more than $1.5 trillion & creates more than 10 million jobs according to Airlines For America.  And the pilots are the backbone.  But, how did we get to this point?  Let’s go back in time for a moment.

In the 1970s, becoming a pilot was considered a prestigious career.  In that time, going into the military was a very popular route after high school.  If a candidate was involved in military aviation and passed their training, they were nearly guaranteed a career with a major airline afterwards.  And not just any job, but a job with a high salary and great benefits.

But now, fewer people are enlisting in the military, and training falls on the airline.  To compound the issue, the cost of training new pilots has tripled since the 1990s!

Not only that, but the salaries and benefits are nowhere near as robust as they once were.  Recently, Air France and Ryanair employees went on strike for better pay and work conditions.  This left thousands of travelers stranded.

Another layer to this issue is the lack of diversity in pilots.  Only about 7% of pilots are female, while nearly 80% of flight attendants are female.

So who is going to suffer the most from all of this?  Well, everyone, including non-travelers.  But especially, those who fly on commuter flights, or fly out of smaller airports on regional airlines.  Because those will be the first cuts.

From my perspective, it’s simply not a career catered toward the new workforce.  It often doesn’t pay as well as other jobs, like a software engineer.  And there is distrust from the public towards the airlines.  Plus, this job is a “lifestyle” rather than just a career because you’ll be working non-traditional hours.

Our labor needs in the US are for jobs that require a commitment to learning a specialized skill, such as car mechanics, airplane mechanics, and pilots.  The new workforce is looking for jobs they can go to, and leave behind.  Unfortunately, many are still sold on the idea that going to college is going to plop you into a successful career.  Meanwhile, there are millions of jobs that sit empty.

While low unemployment is a good thing, unfortunately, it can halt our lives as consumers.  The government and the airline companies need to work together on a solution that is good for all parties.

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Hopefully, I’ll see one of you as my next pilot!

Be sure to follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for the latest in travel news!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!