The median annual wage of airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers was $103,210 in May 2010. (The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.) Among airline pilots, the lowest 10% earned less than $54,980, and the top 10% earned more than $166,400.
The median annual wage of commercial pilots was $67,500 in May 2010. Among commercial pilots, the lowest 10% earned less than $34,860, and the top 10% earned more than $119,650.
In addition, airline pilots receive an expense allowance, or “per diem,” for every hour they are away from home, and they may earn extra pay for international flights. Airline pilots also are eligible for health insurance and retirement benefits, and their immediate families usually are entitled to free or reduced-fare flights.