Advice on being a pilot/spending family time?

I’ve been doing some research lately about pilot life. Apparently most pilots rarely ever get to see or spend time with their families. I’ve been getting discouraged lately after learning this.

And now I’m really confused about what I want to do as a career. I don’t know if I still want to become a pilot. I still want to work in the aviation industry, but I want to stay close with my family and spend as much time possible with them.

Some insight and advice from pilots would be really helpful. Should I still try and become a pilot?

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It’s good that you value family over your own career. If the airline industry doesn’t fit your wishes, maybe you should consider becoming a local CFI. I recommend becoming a pilot no matter what since that’s what your interested in; stick with GA to stay closer to home typically.

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That isn’t always true. Some Airlines have specific days you fly where you may miss out 2 days with family and be home for 5. I know that from a friend that works for Southwest Airlines. He says that he does see family a lot. I also know that you can call in sick and not fly on a certain day.

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If you want to stay close with your family, it will be recommended to fly for a Regional Airline or an Airline which most of the routes are less than 2hrs 😉


I won’t recommend to fly for a huge airline like Emirates, SIA, CPA, Qatar, etc. As you will be away from your family if you are going to work for them

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I also have a friend who is a captain with SWA. He typically is away from home 3 nights a week. 4 days off a week? Sounds good to me. It can be difficult, especially for non senior first officers and captains, who will get assigned routes during holidays. Once you have seniority, you have more control on the routes and dates you can choose. In fact, many FOs choose to stay FOs for a while as they would rather be near the top of the FO seniority ranks instead of near the bottom of the Capain seniority list.

It can be a difficult career if your focus is on being a family man…but it will get better with seniority. If you’re more interested in being single and seeing lots of different places, it will be outstanding.

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Hey man love the post the only thing I could think of is fly regional But the farther you go the bigger the salary so that’s up to you that from what I know good luck and stay in aviation

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@Yuan_Tugo @DeerCrusher @Jdichter @Heavydriver

They can give you extremely helpful information about this.

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Think of the airlines as you need to pay your dues in the beginning. It’s all about seniority. That is only earned with time. I’ve heard of some pilots intentionally not going for captain because they have the routes and schedule that they love as FO. Some corporate pilots work more regular schedules because their company people that they regularly transport have normal schedules as well. If they choose to not work and be home for the holidays, you’re home too! Don’t let the time away discourage you too much because it’s not permanent. As stated above you could always become a career CFI, or even a sim instructor.

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I have the same worries as I want a family and a healthy relationship with them but also aspire to become a commercial pilot. The other day though, there was this guy on TV who was a tuna fisherman, spends days out at sea, and yet he is also a commercial pilot. So I’m sure the airline will give us time off.

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Of course! You can’t work all the time. One of the great perks that I hear about the airline side is that when it’s your day off, you can’t be called in to work. Not to say that you can’t bid for extra time and cash, but your scheduled days off are yours.

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My uncle is a senior pilot at Easyjet. He has to spend 5 days away from his family very regularly, whether that’s flying or in the simulator. He also has problems booking holidays because of the limited guarantee of holiday dates.

That’s all I can say. I believe it’s 5 days on and 3 off for him. Lots of car journeys to BRS/LGW/MAN also involved.

It’s an important consideration to make and I think it’s good that you consider this. As Josh said the pilots here (particular the commercial ones) can give a bigger insight. Also remember the various subbranches of piloting; have you considered helis for example as they are usually based at one location.

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Also depends where you are in the world. If you are in the U.K. Then both RYANAIR and EasyJet do ‘day trips’ are rarerly if ever away overnight. Of course it depends where your base is. If you are working from a base close to home then it could suit you but also both those airlines have bases which could be half way across Europe so you could be away from home as much as if you where flying long haul.

It’s good that you are asking these questions now so that you can research I find out what you need to make a descion.

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Friend of mine was a Capt with EasyJet, left there to join BA as a FO on their long haul fleet. Now gets to spend more time with his family.

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@IceBlue brought up a very good point that I didn’t mention, commuting to work. Some pilots actually fly to their operating base a day before they’re scheduled to work. Obviously spending one of your days off commuting for work doesn’t let you be with friends and family. Plus they would still have to commute home again once they’re finished with their trips. Excellent point.

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Guys these are really helpful replies! Thank you!

Now, this thread revives my hope of being a commercial pilot…

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I’ve been a pilot for 11 years now flying all over the world and to different places with different things and I have a great home life with my family

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I’m surprised at this post, I wasn’t expecting so many people to share the same concerns with me. Thanks everyone for you’re inputs.

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This is what I’m gonna say,“Pursue Your Dream”.I completely understand what it can be like and I’m only 12! It can be upsetting sometimes to not see your family and friends with work in the way of your life. If you want to spend time with your family, do it. Don’t let work ruin it because it can happen to people. Remember “Pursue Your Dream”. Hope you can take this into consideration!

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