15th Mar 2001, 19:01
I hear London tube drivers are in for a 12% pay rise that will take their earnings over 30 000 pounds a year. Whats more they get home every night, dont get loads of radiation and have a family life etc.
Am I the only one that thinks that pilots pay is way behind the times! After all airlines will only pay what they can get away with paying...comments please folks!
P.s I do not begrudge the Tube Drivers salaries...just want to highlight the issue.

15th Mar 2001, 19:38
Hmmm... Let's take a look at this :

TUBE: 8 hours a day, 6 days a week (?), driving a train through pitch black dusty tunnels.

AIRLINE: Various machinery/destinations/schedules, duty pay, foreign destinations, cool lifestyle.

Hmmmmmmm... Tough one!

[This message has been edited by Stroppalot (edited 15 March 2001).]

Lou Scannon
15th Mar 2001, 19:44
You shouldn't be surprised. It is reported that Richard Branson pays his train drivers 42,000pa which is more than he pays many of his pilots.
Nothing against train drivers, but I can't help comparing the costs of obtaining an ATPL with that of being trained to drive an over or underground train. I think the bottom line is that the train drivers groups have all been union members longer and are not afraid of using their commercial muscle to achieve better pay.

Doors to Automatic
15th Mar 2001, 19:59
....So, if you are unhappy, re-train (no pun intended!)and become a tube driver. :)

Big Red ' L '
15th Mar 2001, 20:01
Virgin trains certainly dont pay their drivers any more than 24k. I know as i have a few mates who drive for them. There is a chance of earning 42k but only if you do all the hours god sends you. That means working 13 on, one off and doing it all over again. There must only be about half a dozen drivers in the uk who earn anything like that amount. No social life at all i imagine. To earn that much is very, very rare indeed although it has been known.

Its not the fall that kills you...Its the sudden stop.....

Dickey Mike
15th Mar 2001, 20:05
I know someone who has worked on trains as a Driver and who is now flying for a living. Although salaries are similar would you really fancy dealing with the great unwashed general public at a dark unmanned station. He has told me of numerous incidents which as a Pilot one would never have to endure. He knows which job is best without a doubt!!

15th Mar 2001, 20:17
Tube drivers will be subject to plenty of radiation. It is radiation that heats the core of the earth and keeps it molten. The reason mines are hot rather than cold is because they are heated by radiation. It may well be less dangerous radiation than cosmic radiation but there is plenty of it underground.

As for the rest, tube drivers are expected to work in a system that has been badly underfunded for years. As a consequence equipment and safety are not what they should be. Frankly most of their money is probably danger money - just like a pilot's salary.

[This message has been edited by JuniorJetClubber (edited 15 March 2001).]

Sleeve Wing
15th Mar 2001, 20:45
Never mind the tube drivers, just ask a bowser driver what he earns with a little overtime !
When I first got my command the guys at LGW were on way more than I was.
Still, isn't it much more fun nipping away to exotic places in a fast pointy thing ??
:) :) :)

15th Mar 2001, 21:00
Sleeve....you're damned right.

Anyway, new and FULLY qualified ATCO at LHR/LATCC = just 27k unti lthe 2 yr point. I know poeple there earning that and they are soooooooo pi$$ed off.

As long as you are happy with yr job. That's really the main thing (after bills have been paid!)

Mr Chips
15th Mar 2001, 21:10
We had this before with comparisons to Maccy Ds. is nobody ALLOWED to earn more than pilots?

15th Mar 2001, 21:33
Hmmm.. i don't think it really a case of pilots earning more than anyone else, just a case of fair pay. Ok, some operators pay good money but lots don't, and how many other jobs do you have to fork out 60-100 grand just for the licence? Yes, i agree, we love our jobs but doesn't mean companies should take advantage. There are the LPC's, OPC's,line checks, medicals, unhealthy, unsociable environment, shorter career time, responsibilities if S**t his the fan. How many pilots even "see" the foreign destinations for more than an hour, all airports look the same from the ramp?
so, there is all that and not to mention the fact that it takes a longer time and more skill(ok pushing my luck) to get to commercial flying standards and maintain those than the average train driver.
Me thinks we love our jobs but general pay and conditions isn't that great.
Will it change?? doubt it!

15th Mar 2001, 22:42

Well said. It won't change.

Do you really get as long as an hour in the sun? Luxury!

Champagne Lover
16th Mar 2001, 00:41
I have 1500 hours, of which 1300 are turbo-prop.Senior co-jo with my company.
I have cut my living costs to the absolute bone! Next cut is my personal life insurance! Is that also required by my employer???????!!!! to not "live above my standard".
I now have changed my views about "adding value" etc,etc !!I will use a union to the maximum to get as much money as humanly possible out of an employer !
As long as we love flying machines, and qualify ourselves(read that again !),we will always be more than what is needed by the industry. So the employer simply practices supply and demand, for his "bottom line".
Well, his bottom-line, is now also my bottom-line !!

16th Mar 2001, 00:55
If we actually look at how many hours we work throughout the year and break it down to an hourly rate I think you will agree that we fair pretty well.My rate last year worked out at 80 P/H which isn't bad for a F/O.Now if you look at a train driver earning 35K doing 35 hr week his hourly pay is 19 P/H.

[This message has been edited by fcom (edited 22 March 2001).]

[This message has been edited by fcom (edited 22 March 2001).]

16th Mar 2001, 01:00
My heart bleeds at some of the comments.

The only rate for a job is the market rate that any sensible employer pays. (except for big airways that is, who has no sense anyway). Doesn't matter what the job is.

Try telling the bereaved of Paddington/Hatfield and Selby that a train drivers job isn't as responsible as a pilot.

Grow up and stop thinking that the sun shines out of flight crew a**es

Lurk R
16th Mar 2001, 02:08
A friend of mine is a locomotive driver - after 30 years in the railways he has had 12 fatalities out of 8 accidents. None were his fault, i.e. they were mostly suicides with the odd car trying to beat the flashing lights. His wage is average (this is in Oz) and I don't think quite reflects the stress that accompanies the work.

flange lubricator
16th Mar 2001, 02:26
Virgin Train Drivers have the following pay structure;

Basic - 27k pa
Attendance Allowance - 3k pa
Sunday working approx 1 in 2 - 3k pa

This is for a 35hr week.

Instructor Drivers basic is 29k

I make that 33k pa before additional o/t.

Drivers are rostered a 5 day week with every 5th week off.

They are entitlrd to 32 days annual leave on top.

Red L is right - there are only a few who earn 42k but I know some on more 43+!

The majority will earn 38-39k pa without having to do 13 on 1 off.

Many of us find driving a REAL train (IC 125 HST etc) as satisfying as you guys find landing a 744 at Newark in a crosswind!

I speak with authority on the subject as I have a "type rating" on every type of express train Virgin have. I've also had the priviledge of the jump seat on numerous occasions with the "Train Driver" on the 744.
(He's done a few thousand miles on the throttle of our trains)

Just ask him what he prefers - STEAM!!

[This message has been edited by flange lubricator (edited 15 March 2001).]

[This message has been edited by flange lubricator (edited 15 March 2001).]

16th Mar 2001, 03:58
Topman- if our job is so easy and such a good deal, why aren't you doing it?? Maturity is required, perhaps if you actually read the threads you could at least try and see the other side of the coin.
I pity your ignorance, go read a book and eat an apple, it may be more useful to you!

[This message has been edited by BavarianBoy (edited 16 March 2001).]

Speedbrake UP
16th Mar 2001, 04:36
Quite obviously there is no longer any correlation between wage and performance / difficulty of job / responsibilty etc. Otherwise not one single politician ( In my country anyway! ) would be able to support themselves let alone a family, or even pay off a pig farm! No offence meant to any hard working farmers, but most Aussies would know who I berate! :)

Cyclic Hotline
16th Mar 2001, 04:49
As renumeration topics appear to be close to the heart of so many threads here on PPRuNe, how does it equate that a senior Captain with the US majors would be ultimately paid more than the President of the USA? (That position only pays $200,000).

Maybe thats why its so difficult to recruit decent politicians? ;)

How does Pilot pay rate in relation to politician pay elsewhere?

Mr Chips
16th Mar 2001, 04:53
As I said earlier - we have been here before. You fork out all that money and get paid soo little for your job - AND YET PEOPLE STILL DO IT!!!!! If you don't like the pay and conditions - don't do the job. As long as there are people prepared to spend so muchon training, the pay will continue to reflect this. Simple supply and demand. Ask an air traffic controller if he feels he gets paid enough for the responsibility of his job...

16th Mar 2001, 06:48
My true point is that Pilots salaries are withering away in the U.K with time and are not keeping pace. I get the impression that most of the guys & gals here would still do our job for lets say 15000 pounds a year!Great if your living at home with mum and dad! Surely this makes us our worse enemy as we sit back and get left behind. I had more buying power in the 80's as a turbo f.o then a jet captain today.Yes I like my job but it barely offers the living standard today that it once did.I am afraid that the rewards of a cool job alone won't keep the bills off the mat unless of course you have a trust fund?

16th Mar 2001, 12:52

I never mentioned anything about how easy piloting is, just hinted that any operation needs more than one skill type. A little humility about ones profession and the skills of others goes a long way.

By the way, the reason I don't want your job is that I don't want to sit at 30000 ft all day being irradiated. Quite simple really.

Interesting though that you assume I'm not a pilot. Not all pilots think alike you know.

16th Mar 2001, 13:31
Gizusajob: Correct! Pilots are, always have been and as long as people are desperate to fly, always will be, their own worst enemies. The only companies where people are less likely to accept very low salaries, are those with strong Balpa connections. Connected with this, is that unlike many other professions, (Consultants, for example), once you make the left hand seat, to change companies may result in a retreat back to the right, and the commensurate pay cut!

16th Mar 2001, 14:19
An ASLEF spokesman has said that tube drivers have similiar responsibilities to airline pilots and that they want to see this reflected in pay (evening standard, thursday)

Given that victoria line drivers just open and close the doors (speeds are controlled by computer) I find statements like this rather suprising!!

Admittedly the job is very dull but to pay people more than doctors for a job that requires no qualifications seems a bit much.

Anti Skid On
16th Mar 2001, 14:21
It's quite simple lads and lasses - supply and demand - RB pays his driver (of the always late trains) an above industry rate, because there are not enough of them to go around; a family friend told me that one firm trained a dozen or so, and most bunked off to other operators - no bonding you see - sound familiar; low time pilots hours build with a regional before moving to a bigger line.

Job satisfaction - would you want to be on the Circle line, not knowing whether it is night or day?

16th Mar 2001, 16:47
From the job I do I am often struck by the lack of knowledge that people have as to the actual wages that most of the population have to live on.

Here are some hard facts.

1. Less than 1% of the working population earn 100K plus a year. Less than 3% earn 50K and over.

2. 2.7 million workers are in the 40% tax bracket(ie: around 32,000 p.a) That is 9% of the working population.

3. The most common salary in the UK (ie: the salary that the greatest number of people earn) is around 12,500 p.a.

4. Those earning over 100K a year are often not the same people from year to year.
This is because it includes the self -employed, who sometimes have a good year, earning megabucks, which is then followed by a bad year, in which they might actually make a loss.

I'm afraid you guys moaning about your lot in life are forgetting the time honoured maxim that in a capitalist society the wage levels are all driven by supply and demand.

As the old saying goes....if you can't stand the heat don't put your head up the jet-pipe.

16th Mar 2001, 18:21
One should not forget that a certain Dennis Tunnecliffe is now a leading light in London Underground, the same Dennis who was a BOAC F/O, yanked into management because he caused too much trouble whilst still on the shop floor.
Possibly this is his idea of getting his own back?

16th Mar 2001, 18:33
Absolutely Percydragon, and fortunately for all of us who are in the business, demand seems to be exceeding supply at the moment and we can all look forward to a period of rapidly increasing pay, at least until we plunge into recession!

cheers zzz

Dr Jekyll
16th Mar 2001, 19:49
The most common salary may be 12.5 K.
But what is the median?

flange lubricator
16th Mar 2001, 19:54
Anti Skid is right but, only to a degree.

There are no "bonding" agreements on the railway as yet - but they're coming soon.

Virgin Trains have no problem recruiting Drivers from other companies for two reasons -

1st, Drivers want to drive bigger and faster trains.

2nd, The salary and conditions are some of the best in our industry.

The problem is, we have a gentlemans agreement (between most of the passenger companies) not to deliberatley poach existing (qualified) drivers. I took 12 men in one day out of the local train train operating company in Leeds only to find my train home cancelled due to a staff shortage!!

Therefore the main reason for the high salary is due to the fact that it takes 12 to 15 months to train someone "off the street". ASLE&F are also quite a powerfull union - with majority membership throughout the country - and when they say stop EVERYTHING stops.

17th Mar 2001, 20:23
I couldn't have put it better.

17th Mar 2001, 20:58
Hi Flange

You could/should be wrong about bonding. Keep an eye on these pages for further news soon about a challenge in the courts on that issue.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
17th Mar 2001, 21:27
Hi Flange

So how does one go about applying for a job as Virgin driver? And what are the requirements?

Seriuos enquiry for a friend who's 'train mad'!


Jim McBlimp
18th Mar 2001, 00:29
As a tube driver of several years I must admit that it makes me sad to hear of all you poor chaps and lassies up there earning such a pitance and putting up with such lousy work conditions, of coursse most of you deserve it as you dont seem to give a sh*t about your industry or your fellow workers, the industry is in such dire straits due to the fact that very few have been willing to stand united for jobs training, safety etc etc.

18th Mar 2001, 02:41

Cannot wait to see the response to your thread although I fear that Jet Blast is where I will be reading it.

18th Mar 2001, 05:44
Well Jim is just restating what a few of us have been saying all along. Even though he's probably just a punter trying to elicit a 'certain type of reaction' he's actually hit the nail on the head.

We're our own worst enemies, as can be seen from a reading of the 'bonding' thread I started. It's just unbelievable how so many of us are willing participants in our own shafting. In fact, an impartial observer might be forgiven for thinking that pilots must be a bunch of masochists. How else could a group with such clout be so happy to collude in taking it up the a***e from the likes of Guvnor?

And incidentally. All the PC ***** about traindrivers being 'comparable' in skill, and therefore deserving of equality with pilots...boillox! When did a train driver last have to worry about holding delays over Liverpool station when 'deciding' what fuel to carry? When did he last do a CAT3 approach into Piccadilly? How many PC's has he done in the last year? It's just such a joke to even contemplate.

Good onya traindrivers if you can up your income...no bother with that. But whatever you're worth, a pilot's worth a significant bit more.

18th Mar 2001, 06:06
Hang on a sec...

British European Shorts 360 F/O's get 19,500 to kick off with, not enough to pay off my student loan and maintain a reasonable standard of living.

Yet, someone who sits in a train and presses "stop" and "go" buttons whilst watching the train go in a straight line for hours on end gets paid double that in some cases? Come on, pull the other one.

At least we can take heart from the fact we have far more fun...


DJ @ 87.7 Xpression FM
Pilot @ Exeter Airport...

18th Mar 2001, 07:04
More fun flying a 'shed' than driving a train,do me a favour !!!.

18th Mar 2001, 12:08
I presume the next time I ask a Virgin train driver to let me sit on the 'jumpseat' in his cab, I'll be welcomed with open arms?

Given the fact that so many pax. assume they have to right to watch me at work when they get bored?

18th Mar 2001, 12:41
Pilots clearly do not understand the health risks that train drivers face, against the risk of picking up a STD down route, train drivers face the most appalling risks.

Quote from the Evening Standard:


A flea infestation on some London Underground trains has resulted in cash compensation for drivers who say they have been bitten and suffered allergic reactions. OOERR

Tube chiefs have settled out-of-court claims of up to 500 each. Drivers most at risk are on the District line but Northern line trains are also believed to be affected. Well what a surprise, is there a link between the two most slowest and unreliable lines and the fleas. We want to know. Perhaps the drivers are too busy scratching themsleves to make sure the trains run to time.

Lorna Williard, of Thompsons Solicitors which represents drivers' union Aslef, said: "It is a disgrace that LU drivers are expected to work in such conditions, stuck in flea-infested cabs. If the fleas are in the cabs then they could conceivably get into the carriages, too." Yuck.

Gary Sheppard, operations manager of Westminster City Council's pest control business unit, which is not involved with the Tube's problem, said: "Some people can experience a violent reaction to a flea bite and it can make them feel quite ill." He said the most likely culprit is the cat flea or human flea. "It could also be a rat flea. It is a possibility because of the rats and mice living in the tunnels,". For the full story from The Evening Standard click here and for more on animals on the tube skip along to my page here.

flange lubricator
18th Mar 2001, 14:59
Captain Sensible - you are entirely correct! I've been qualified to drive trains for 11 years. I'm passed on about a dozen types. There is a common level of knowldge reqired about rules,regulations, routes and signalling but a vast difference in the level of handling skill required between a tube train and a 2500 ton coal train! Again, driving a high speed express requires a different style.

There is some commonality between the two jobs like anti-social hours and being hunched over a set of controls all day (or night) but that's where it ends.
Having as I mentioned previously, the PRIVILEDGE of my mates jumpseat on his Virgin 744, I've had the opportunity to see you guys at work.

I don't know how it actually feels when you handle a big jet but, I am certainly aware of the amount of knowledge you need to retain and how you not only have to fly the plane but MANAGE it, and do all of this just as well during a crisis - that's the big difference!

The passengers respect the men up front - and so they sould because, it is you - and only you - who can make the difference between a smooth touchdown or a ball of fire when things go wrong.

We merely come to a stand in the middle of nowhere with the punters damanding more free booze!

That's why you should command a salary with 6 figures in it.

Crappy Modem - We would indeed welcome you with open arms into the driving cab. But only with pre arranged authority, a cab pass and an Inspector to ride with you!

......and finally

The selection criteria is:-

Min age 21 Max 45

Height between 5'4" and 6'4"

Ability to pass a psychometric test.

Good eyesight (glasses permitted)

the address is ......

Virgin Trains Recruitment
85 Smallbrook Queensway
B5 4HA

Tel 0121 654 7014.

[This message has been edited by flange lubricator (edited 18 March 2001).]

Max Continuous
18th Mar 2001, 16:23
I see from Friday's Daily Mail that, in an article entitled "The change of class", according to new research, teachers have slipped down a rung on the social scale.

So where do we, as pilots, fit in to the new order? In Section 1 perhaps (Higher managerial and professional occupations) along with the doctors and lawyers?

Or Section 5 (Lower supervisory and technical occupations) with chemical process workers and railway construction workers?

Or even Section 7 (Routine occupations) with other drivers and cleaners?

18th Mar 2001, 18:36
flange lubricator - OK...I may well take you up on that offer (if it was an offer?!)
You show me yours and I'll show you mine...drop me a line

PS: What's the significance of having to have an inspector?

bird on the wire
18th Mar 2001, 21:01
there's people here working at one of those Kwik Fit type places fitting tires and ehxausts that earn 25% more than I do!

Good job I do it for love (or is that hours....?)

they bought their tickets - they knew what they were getting into

18th Mar 2001, 21:22
Sorry to say this, but when a traindriver makes more thann I do, tough luck for me. I don't get frustrated by this. Of course we carry a lot of responsability, but I don't see myself or most other pilots as upper class academic skilled people. We just learned a skill and improve that during our whole career. It really doesn't take that much brain to become a pilot, admit it! The thing we probably have above standard is motivation and a great sense for responsability. But it says already enough if traindrivers are able to unite themselves better than airline pilots when the s**t hits the fan, doesn't it? If we are not able to form a group with the same goal, how do you want to force the employers to rise the payscale then? Indeed, as mentioned earlier, we are just enemies of ourselves and I reckon this situation will always remain. So we really are in a take-it-or-leave-it situation.
I regret this of course, but that's just the way it is.

Paul Wesson
18th Mar 2001, 22:01
Dr Jekyll Median is around 21 700.

The Mil Pilots should read this thread. So many seem to feel that they are better off going to the airlines, when it's clear they should be joining London Underground!

It's interesting to note that train drivers/tube drivers can earn considerably more than most graduates, junior doctors, legal aid lawyers, teachers, nurses etc. Supply and demand was bound to create a situation like this. If, as the government wants, 50% of the population go into tertiary education then qualifications are meaningless whilst there is nobody to do the real work because everyone thinks that their degree entitles them to a living. Many quality jobs now require a post grad or 2.1 because everybody's got a degree.

Pilot's prices are likely to freeze in the event of a US led recession. Just read on Ceefax that there's a report saying execs are cutting back on flying Business Class. The effect will be felt as lay offs start and holidays and business flights are cancelled. I'm not sure I'd want to be in the training system right now.

[This message has been edited by Paul Wesson (edited 18 March 2001).]

19th Mar 2001, 00:04
I can completely comiserate with Superpilut. Most people, including my mum (especially my mum) think that pilots earn stacks. I too earn less than a tube driver, and for that matter less than I did in my previous job. I do my job because I enjoy flying and also the satisfaction of getting pax from a to b ontime, safely etc. It gives me the feeling that I have fulfilled my job description to the best of my abilities. But reading other pilots' posts of woe that they only earn 50k makes me wonder if I am maybe being a bit of a pushover. I don't even earn half that much, and I work for the world's favourite airline (yeah!). As a pilot I'm happy with what I get. As a graduate I should be earning more. I don't need a degree to do my job. But it is time that the airlines realised that if they are going to require a degree from their applicants they are going to have to pay graduate wages.

Big Red ' L '
19th Mar 2001, 01:15
Can't keep out of this any longer i am afraid. There are similarities with train drivers and pilots. Similar responsibility,(a to b as safe as you can...) similar ultra strict medicals, regular cab rides/sim checks, similar unsociable hours, bi-annual rules exams, similar management types trying to squeeze the maximum amount of work out of us for very little thanks or respect, similar pressure on getting away on time regardles of the reason for delay, once trained its easy to do, you earn your money when things start to go wrong. The list can go on and on. Pilots really do need a lot of different skills for flying a plane. Many a time i have watched in terrible weather at some side-on landings at gatwick and wondered how they do it. Real skill, thats how. A train drivers skill comes in judging speed and distance. Driving a train is simple, lever for power on/off and a lever for stopping. Easy. Its getting and staying there thats the hard bit though. Took me 3 years to qualify, at a cost of over 30k to the company, thats passing all exams first time. I work a 35 hr 4 day week and get 26100 a year, thats without sundays or overtime of which there is plenty about. As i say, you earn your money when things go wrong, i.e. fatalites, break-downs, delays everyday, cr*ppy public moaning and constantly having a go, bad weather, thick fog, anyone fancy driving with me at 125mph in zero visibility..? And no, we are not allowed to slow down for bad weather. Leaves on the line, think of black ice on the road. Now think about driving at high speed on the black ice,(100mph +) now think of stopping quickly on the ice.....no-can-do, you just slide until the brakes finaly start to bite. Scary i can tell you. Try doing it with 2500 tonnes of stone behind you now...!!!! I could go on and on. I have been driving for 8 years now and i reckon i am confident enough to go for my ppl which is what i am doing now. As for a commercial pilot, i dont think i am good enough for that. Also it costs a lot of cash to get in at the pointy end so there goes my bid for freedom........What i am trying to get across here is that we all have our own skills and responsibilites. At the end of the day we go home. Just getting home at the end of the day means we are all doing something right. If anyone in the south/midlands would like to have the 'jumpseat' in the cab in my train, let me know, its not impossible to let people in the cab and its easily arranged.
What i am doing here is not comparing drivers against pilots. Thats very wrong to do, just pointing out a few similarities so go easy on me........ :)

Its not the fall that kills you...Its the sudden stop.....

Big Red ' L '
19th Mar 2001, 19:05
While i am here, the train drivers union A.S.L.E.F. have not got half of the power they used to have years ago.

Its not the fall that kills you...Its the sudden stop.....

19th Mar 2001, 20:28
Dr Jekyll

I agree that the median salary is around 21,500. But this so called 'average earnings' figure is heavily distorted upwards by the very few 'mega earners' on 1 million a year (such as those in The City that the popular press loves to go on about).

The government, by constantly quoting this 'average earnings' figure of 21,500 is making a fundamental mistake, as it merely serves to p*** off the majority of the population, who are, in reality, earning a lot less than this.

19th Mar 2001, 23:47
When you look around and see the way people live, its very hard to understand how they achieve it. The average house is heading towards 100K. Thats not a nice place, thats average, a bit like the average wage. However the two just don't add up.
As a flying instructor on 13,500/annum Im in another league altogether. Its just cost me a years salary to do an IR. Another two months salary for an MCC, and the list goes on.
The people replying to this thred do at least seem to be approaching the average wage, but I can tell you there are a hell of a lot of us wannabies in an entirely different financial situation.
Sorry to moan but lack of money can be somewhat stessful. We deserve more!!

Dr Jekyll
20th Mar 2001, 00:27
If the 21,700 figure is actually a mean, rather than median, it would indeed be distorted by very high earners.
This is why I'm curious to know the median.

Put it this way, if the entire working population lined up in order of income, what would the guy in the middle be earning?

Juliet November
20th Mar 2001, 05:41
Now this will probably see my a** get bitten off, but what the hell.

Some here describe a train drivers job as "just pushing buttons" and "sitting for hours looking at a straight line". Ehhh, excuse me for a moment guys but that to me seems quite a lot like a pilot job under normal operating circumstances. Surely, there are instances where the job carries a little more than that, but I will assume that driving a train also entails a bit more at times. Add to that the lingering fear these guys must have for a nutter to jump out in front of them when life gets too shitty. Far as I can remember there ain't nobody who's ever committed suicide by jumping in front of an aircraft.

Cheer up guys, if you like your job do it ! Pilots do not fart sunshine, much as some would like to belive it. The pilot job is not what it used to be, there are massive numbers of pilots out there willing to work shitty hours for a modest pay. If you are working for money only, go to IT or study law or something, don't drive aircraft for a living.
Me, I have a job that I like in the industry and may pay is not nearly what an average pilot in the company commands. Do I complain or make comparisons to guys in IT ? Nope, if that was the case I'd consider a career change. But I actually enjoy what I do, and to making big bucks is not the ultimate goal in life. Having fun and being healthy is.

Recently took a jumpseat ride, and despite for the 16 mins to TOC and the last 20 mins from TOD the guys were actually just sitting there looking at dials and buttons, much the same as a train drive I presume. Apart from the captain that is, who was catching up on some reading. That is not my idea of fun, just like driving a train is not either. Spending days away from home in ever changing hotel rooms don't strike me as a great deal of fun either, and that is why I have decided to stay on the ground.

20th Mar 2001, 18:39
Let's not beat about the bush. Tube drivers are cr*p. Almost all apply and release the brakes 207 times on each approach to a station. Skill? My cats could do better.

You may think "I couldn't drive along the Circle Line at 0.000001 mph thus maximizing the irritation to passengers who need all their 100k City salaries to afford the ride."

It's awesome to watch but in fact it's easy. Just practice an impersonation of a sack of dead hamsters chucked against the power controller and you could do just as well. You probably could go even slower and brake more times.

Pilots are underpaid for the level of monitored performance they have to deliver.

Unless of course you are a Virgin Check Captain... :) :) :) ;)

Mr Chips
20th Mar 2001, 20:01
Right, I'm fed up of this now. Stop slagging off every other profession in the world. If you don't think that you are paid "what you are worth" either
a. Go on strike
b. Get a better paid job.

I don't think that a. will solve anything, so lets examine b. If all you pilots who are moaning quit tomorrow, exactly how long would it take your airline to find (not train)a replacement? Abot 3.5 seconds. There are hundreds of wannabes who will pay for their own training and work for "peanuts". Learn about supply and demand - it is lesson one in economics - and stop comparing your incredibly hard work to everyone elses.

21st Mar 2001, 06:37
Well said Mr Chips !

21st Mar 2001, 06:57
My only whinge about this is the people who constantly sell our profession short. If you really believe being a pilot is that easy, then your not doing it quite right. God knows there are still some bloody nasty snakes out there that can jump out of the grass and bite you at anytime, ask the BA crew from the Nairobi flight for one example. If you are stupid enough to come on pprune and say how easy the job is then you deserve to be underpaid, and there's probably one or two manager's who are looking at your comments for an excuse to pay you even less.

21st Mar 2001, 16:09
It's up to pilot's themselves to keep the profession regarded as a skilled and prestigous job. Sorry to prattle on but it really gets to me to hear our people putting our job down.

22nd Mar 2001, 03:00
Juliet November
I know of at least one nutter who comitted suicide by running into the intake of a BA 747 at the threshold of R10 at POS about 15 years ago.
There are probably other incidents elsewhere.
Several instances of pax trying to open aircraft doors or windows at various points of flight, too.

22nd Mar 2001, 05:58
whats_it_doing_now? I agree. But haven't you noticed how those who belittle our profession seem to get agitated to the extreme if you counter their argument? They seem so committed to the philosophy that we're all overpaid, under worked, and should be bonded to the hilt!! Isn't that a rather strange reaction from someone who's supposed to be in this career for real?

I sometimes wonder if those so called 'pilots' who put us down aren't actually management (or their wannabes), or embittered wind up merchants having wet dreams they know they'll never realise.

22nd Mar 2001, 15:34
no comment

22nd Mar 2001, 21:24

WELL SAID!!!!! Anyone who thinks a Pilots job is easy either isn't doing it right or just taking the piss! Yes, i am sure there are bad apples out there but probably in lesser numbers than other careers due to the training etc. If you are lucky enough to be part of a quality outfit then for goodness sake, have a bit of pride in your job. I have the upmost respect for train drivers but i think the point of the original thread is to highlight the vast differences in pay and conditions across the Airline industry for Pilots. We don't wish to be "the best paid" or we don't think the "sun shines from our ar*es" but we are professionals who feel entitled to a fair slice of the pie.
The attitudes from some people on this thread makes me despair for the future of not only Pilots conditions but the indusrty as a whole. Jealousy is a terrible thing! If it is so easy as some seem to think, wrap up and try it, maybe your opinion will be different after a little more experience of the real world!
Sorry to harp on... rant over!!

Gentleman, less haste more speed!

23rd Mar 2001, 22:48
Hmmm, so its not just me who notices people who seamingly shoot themselves relentlessly in the foot on pprune. Point taken - how can they be so stupid without another agenda? Anyway, we have a better view of london than the tube drivers have!

[This message has been edited by whats_it_doing_now? (edited 24 March 2001).]

26th Mar 2001, 08:27
First of all, I can't think of any job with more responsibility for human life than an airline pilot, second, as a pilot you are in command of a vehicle worth upwards of $200 million dollars!!! do you actually think you should pay this person "average wages" also pilots have to master two aspects of the job, the book knowledge, and then actually have to apply it practically..In the military I knew alot of guys who knew the books inside and out, yet turned to jelly in the jet! Lastly, every person who believes flying is easy, do what I did, I take them to a real simulator( during my Air Force days, this wasnt too hard) and I let them fly, every one came out with an enormous amount of respect for pilots..Tango November, Stay on the ground, your poor attitude, ranks you among those poor timid souls who know not great victory nor bitter defeat!!!!

Harry (Snapper) Organs
26th Mar 2001, 11:26
Good discussion!

With regard to salaries, the only figure worth looking at is the "mode". The mode is the area in which the majority of any given number lies. So if you think of a bell curve representing the earnings of a population, the mode would be the top of the bell, where the majority of people earn money. Means are distorted (as has been said) by the fact that there are people out there who earn shed-loads of dosh. Imagine how the total earnings of Manchester FC distort the curve. Just to name one area.

If you were to look at the mode of pilot earnings in a given country, I think the average punter would be amazed. The award wage for a commercial pilot in Australia is less than some menial jobs. Refuellers (for some companies) earn more than an F/O's basic wage (in some companies). Baggage handlers in Sydney can earn 60k. Now compare that to a pilot flying aeromedical ops in a single pilot King Air in IMC. Where is the logic there?

It would be nice if the mode of pilot earnings could be raised somewhat - this would help the "brain drain" from smaller operations to the big airlines. How can this be achieved? Any thoughts?

26th Mar 2001, 13:03
You're all paid what you are worth. Stop bitching. If you want more money, get a new job, if you don't want a new job, do something about it. I like planes and trains, but don't want to drive either of them. For me to do either would be a major backwards step financially, and anyway, I like my job.
Quit bitching about responsiblity. Don't ATC and engineers carry as much? Being a pilot is no longer the glamour job it was. Get used to it. Some spotty geek into computers can earn more through IT than by becoming a pilot, so why shouldn't he?
I like my job and it pays well, so I'm not moaning, but if I wanted to moan, I'd bet off my @rse and get another job - like I have done in the past.

Gimme a bottle of anything, and a glazed donut......TO GO!

26th Mar 2001, 17:37
I'm currently in I.T. (although not spotty.). I don't mean to tread on anyone’s toes by posting here without yet having stripes on my arm, but as the point has been made throughout the forum - "it's all about supply and demand". I agree you don't get paid nearly enough, but there are several thousand 'wannabes' who are willing (and qualified) to step into your shoes (for less money) if you don't want your job. I can't think of any other profession where supply outweighs demand to such an extent - try as I might, I haven't yet been able to find the "wannabes" subway drivers forum. I certainly don’t have people queuing up for my job.

Face it – you have chosen one of those jobs that people just want to do, despite the “grass not being greener” when you finally get there. If your still in any doubt, try going to the Wannabes forum and posting a Topic entitled “Who wants my job for 50% of my Salary”. I suspect the number of responses will also be higher than your salary.

Apologies again if I cause offence, but for God’s sake, I know people who have sold just about every possession they own just to get the opportunity of some day doing what you do – and it isn’t for the money. Would you swap your flying career for an office job paying twice the salary?

There will always be people earning more money than you do, it has nothing to do with responsibility or qualifications or anything like that (although it should) – the nurse who delivers your baby will probably earn less than the guy who delivers your mail - now THAT is a just cause for complaint!

26th Mar 2001, 19:01
Ahh, Clunk, at last, after reading through five pages of people saying the same two arguments, you have hit it right on the head.

It's not how much money these people earn at all, it's how much other people earn in comparison and how that relates to their self image.

"I earn less than a common or garden train driver, therefore, society will perceive that train driver to be more important and/or skilled than I, and I am peeved about that."

Translation: I've made it to the point that you other poor slobs all dream about, therefore I demand recognition for it, and monetary reward is the socially appropriate way to display that.

"It has cost me X million pounds/roubles to train myself to this level, therefore I should be paid more to reflect that."

Translation: "I am really, really p!ssed off that people can earn more money than I do without having to fork out lots to get it."

In truth, the answer to both of those arguments lies, as you and many others have pointed out, in Capitalism 101; supply and demand. All Airline pilots currently earning multi moola started off at the bottom, starved, flew for nothing to get up hours, disregarded safety regulations and generally prostituted themselves to achieve the golden dream. They have done the hard yards, survived the system, flown a lot of buttock clenching Single Pilot IFR charters under horrendous company pressure in frightful weather conditions and survived, and feel they have deserved what they have achieved. Fair enough.

But if they hadn't made it, there are THOUSANDS of others who possess the same skills and would have also made it had they been given the chance. Supply and demand dictates they don't get that chance, and many of them are still flying the same high performance twins single pilot in sh!tty weather that they always have. I wonder who has it easier?

Look, folks, I'm a controller. An average controller with no tickets on myself. It's my chosen career, and I thank the Lord I got into it. I will never be rich, but I am grateful that I won't starve either. I look at the poor sods digging ditches in the heat on my way to work and wonder why they are getting paid a quarter of what I do, then I look at the financial pages and see the crooked company directors voting themselves option packages worth millions upon millions, and I wonder again.

If you're looking for justice, forget it; it doesn't exist. Flying pays crap till you get into the top echelons because there are thousands of others who can and will do it for less than you. Don't take it personally.

[This message has been edited by Binoculars (edited 26 March 2001).]

26th Mar 2001, 19:16
Just wonder how many of you socialist pilots out there would accept a job with a major airline in the US at a considerable pay raise. You guys in the UK are being screwed by your companies and your unions. In addition, your profession over there is terribly fragmented by kool-aid drinking twits who say you're already paid enough. Until you guys wake up, you're going to be treated like third world labor by both your company and unions.

26th Mar 2001, 20:45

Whatever you fly, ain't 200 million dollars. Francs may be... :) :) :)


No spots? Sorry but 8 postings .... are you sure? Have you looked in that mirror closely ;)

26th Mar 2001, 22:30
My thing as regards pay isn't what pilots get compared with other professions, but the inconcistency across the industry, as highlighted by roadtrip.
I don't have a problem with the self image my job creates, I don't care what anyone else thinks, i know its the best job out there and that's all that matters to me.
It's way better than battling the commuter chaos on the tube to get to the same crappy air conditioned windowless office to sit and stare at the same crappy computer sneaking a look at pprune when the boss isn't looking before finnishing work at 8pm battling the same crappy commuter chaos home and then going to bed and getting up tomorrow to do it all again. When its probably raining. You can keep your megabucks, its all about job satisfaction for me! I get a huge kick out of the adrenaline buzz a day at 'the office' gives me and the view out of the window is a damn sight better too. However a payrise would be nice!

27th Mar 2001, 02:23
Glad you like flying for a living. It's good to make a profession out of something you like. But, that being said, if you don't forcefully stand up for yourself, you're going to be exploited by management. As in any leadership endeavor, it you're expectations are low, that's exactly what you'll get. If so that's fine for you, but what about the guy sitting beside you that expects to be paid industry standard?? It really is all about MONEY. Money in terms of pay scale, time off, schedules, etc. In the aviation industry, if you're not unionized, you're crazy. That is, assuming that you have a good union - and evidently, from what I've read on PPRUNE, BALPA senior leadership seems to be in bed with management. And even then, the world's "standard" airline, BA, can't seem to make a profit, even in these good economic times. BALPA need to get some power and clout and make BA management compete successfully. Right now with Atlas Air, it's common knowledge that the company is on the road towards it's self-destruction and maybe it's only hope is that the union will force management to stop squandering money down ratholes, get efficient, and earn loyalty from its employees. Indeed, as funny as it may sound, it will probably be the union that saves Atlas Air. What the heck is going on over there? Wake-up guys!

[This message has been edited by Roadtrip (edited 26 March 2001).]

27th Mar 2001, 05:52

I was refering to the price of a 747-400 or one of the new A-380's, (list price that is)
And for your info I fly for UPS...an extremeley large fleet of jets most of which are brand new 757,767,A-300,and a smattering of MD-11's along with the old standby 727,and DC-8's trust me its not a motely collection of flying junk. My 727 has GPS, HUD, and EFIS
Many of you have referred to Capiltalism 101, as it pertains to pilots earning salaries commensurate with their worth. This doesn't really apply here, heres the reason: For every baseball player on the New York Yankee's there is a person out there who would do their job for free!!while this is true would you pay to see them? Just because people are clammoring to fly doesnt mean they are necessarily qualified, or that they are the best qualified for the job...I think in Europe you guys have a vastly differnt view of what it takes to fly for the majors..maybe because its not unheard of for some young pilot to be hired at a major with a few hundred hours. In the US you have to have a minimum of 5000 hours as a civilian pilot, or be a military pilot. Most Americans do respect pilots alot, and if you want to start an airline and pay pilots crap, like Valu-jet etc, you may reap what you sow in terms of accidents and incidents. Also the fact that pilots can't leave one airline, and start at another at the same pay and seniority throws the whole Capitalism 101 argument out the window. We are in a strange profession, perhaps summed up best by an old friend who said..."Flying, its a great job, but a lousy profession!

27th Mar 2001, 07:27
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">You're all paid what you are worth. Stop bitching. If you want more money, get a new job, if you don't want a new job, do something about it. I like planes and trains, but don't want to drive either of them. For me to do either would be a major backwards step financially, and anyway, I like my job.
Quit bitching about responsiblity. Don't ATC and engineers carry as much? Being a pilot is no longer the glamour job it was. Get used to it. Some spotty geek into computers can earn more through IT than by becoming a pilot, so why shouldn't he?
I like my job and it pays well, so I'm not moaning, but if I wanted to moan, I'd bet off my @rse and get another job - like I have done in the past.</font>

For me, this simple rant is a much more eloquent clarion call than anything I could compose after hours of careful composition.
It is beautiful in it's simplicity. It reminds us of the obvious, which is this;

There is no one who will champion your cause but yourselves. If you have accepted the populist view of your net worth, you are defeated already. Stand firm. Ignore their taunts. Let them howl at the moon.

Harry (Snapper) Organs
27th Mar 2001, 10:42
Cones etc and Mr Sensible, I can understand why you post what you do. I also believe that people are given the power of free choice, so if something isn't working for you, change your situation.

But don't you see that what you are doing is stating the bleeding obvious?

Most people in this forum would understand the concept of free choice, but this forum is here for people to communicate about a common topic - aviation. You are doing the equivalent of sitting way over there on your fence and taking potshots at people that merely want to discuss things that affect them. You could probably post replies like yours in almost every thread on this site - what is the point?

Give people some credit for having the intelligence to have already worked out what you are pontificating, and maybe that way a constructive answer may come out of the discussion. QED.

27th Mar 2001, 16:41
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">as a pilot you are in command of a vehicle worth upwards of $200 million dollars!!!</font>


Boeing quote 183-215 million dollars for a brand new 747. The Airbus is as yet a figment of our collective imagination.

Thus what you meant to say was

as a pilot you are in command of a vehicle worth downwards of $200 million dollars!!! ...considerably downwards

According to Discovery Channel the average value of a jet liner is 19 million. Not sure how they know but this compares with the 24 miilion brand new cost of a Eurostar. ;)

Anti Skid On
11th Apr 2001, 17:58
Sorry to drag this old cherry up again, but...

a colleague has an ex-partner who drives Eurostars, top of the ladder on 42000 p.a. - but get this - she claims Virgin are a major shareholder in Eurostar and that he gets ID90 flights because of this - never can be, can it???

11th Apr 2001, 20:36
One of the EuroStar drivers had a professional pilots licence- and uses it to fly in his spare time!

There was a interesting article about it in the BALPA mag (Yes In Log!!!) a while back.

12th Apr 2001, 00:01
Oh what fun. Thought I might add two penneths.

First a response to the capitalism 101 line which many contributors advocate. Allow me to point out the fundamentaly cyclical nature of the industry historically. This led to a monster recession in the early nineties with a pool of experience so deep that all the carriers (in Europe at least) gave up on training.

Problem is with the resurgence in profits and growth there is a big fat gaping hole in the experience pool. Just look at all the adds for commanders in Flight! In spite of the persistent view of some contributors that all we do all day is drink coffee and stare at/push the odd button; there is no substitute for experience. I'm just about to start my third summer of I.T. flying, but I got this job from a standing start and I know I'm not ready for a command yet. Those of you who keep pointing out the pool of self financed wannabees over my shoulder; thanks, I remember my years there. But I'm not exaggerating when I say I would refuse to put my wife and children on a shiny 100 ton push button jet if I knew the commander only had 1000TT, even if it was all on type. I repeat, there's no substitute for experience. This means that those who have it deserve to be renumerated appropriately.

At least it does according to capitalism 101.

So all of us must be in line for these 30% pay rises I keep reading about here then? Yeah right. And why not? Well probably because as other posters have noted we airline jocks aren't famous for our militancy. We may not be millionairs but most of us are comfortable enough and, I fear, that comfort makes us forgetful. Why else would anyone tolerate the introduction of 'B' scales into their company.

Maybe I'm being too dramatic but I reckon this could be a crucial time for the long term future of our profession. For the first time in decades we have the kind of leverage that capitalism 101 confers. Do we use it to feather our own nests? Do we use it to make sure the self financers get a fair deal? Do we use it at all?

Right I'm off to join the Labour party....Doh

12th Apr 2001, 01:37

Well as someone still searchng for my first job.. I will take anything to get my career started.. but I am also in complete agreement that Pilots are generally mistreated and underpaid, we also have in BALPA, possibly the weakest minded union in history, having been to a few conferences which seem to consist of much back-slapping and self congratulating and very little actual dealing with pay issues... where else in the world do you pay 60,000 to earn 20,000??? Also we pay VAT which is disgusting. So we have to act together as one.. I know we all love flying and will work for a pittance.. but should we??? The answer is no. I'm not asking for 60,000 a year to start with, just enough to make a decent living commesurate with my level of professional training and responsibility.
Eventually I think we will get paid a good wage for what we do but pilots as a community have to look out for everyone, not just sell themselves short. We do ourselves and our colleagues a disservice sometimes. OK, sermon over, comments welcome


[This message has been edited by Loony_Pilot (edited 11 April 2001).]

13th Apr 2001, 13:37
I think you will find that there are a new generation of reps and negotiators at BALPA now, and that this years pay round with Big Airways will break the mould.

We know what we are worth, and we are going to achieve it. End of story.