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Commercial airline pilot: What I do and how much I make

Angelo Bautista, a commercial airline pilot, shares his daily responsibilities, which include ensuring safety, checking aircraft condition, managing on-time departures, and communicating with various team members. He also discusses the salary range, benefits, and traits needed for success in his role.

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Video transcript

My name is Angelo Bautista. I'm 29 years old. I'm a commercial airline pilot. I work for Compass Airlines, and they contract with Delta and American Airlines, and we fly their smaller planes, and their shorter routes to the hub of Los Angeles International Airport. My number one responsibility as a captain of the airplane is safety. When I walk in the aircraft I check the maintenance log book and make sure the aircraft is air worthy. I check the weather, I check the flight plan and the fuel planning to our destination. I am also responsible for an on-time departure. With that being said, I have to communicate with a gate agent, the dispatcher, air traffic controller, ground crew members, flight attendants, and my first officer to keep everybody in the loop to make sure we push out on time. If there's any weather delays I make sure I promptly advise the gate agents and the air traffic controller, and also the passengers so they can be in the loop and be advised. My final responsibility is flying the airplane. Once the doors are closed I actually make an announcement to the passengers to introducing myself and my crew, giving them an expectation of the flight, if it's gonna be smooth or pretty bumpy. I also give them an estimated time of arrival so they know if we're gonna be late or on time or early. The commercial airplane pilot makes roughly around 15,000 to up to $250,000 a year. The reason why there's wide spread for that is when you're starting off in the airline business you start off on a small airplane getting paid less, right and then you work your way up to be a captain of a large aircraft for international flights, and that's where you get the paid the big bucks of 250,000 a year. I roughly make about 90,000 a year, and in my position as a regional airline captain that's pretty average. Benefits and perks of a commercial airline pilot is flight benefits. I can have my parents and my girlfriend fly for free anywhere in the US and anywhere international where a US carrier flies to, anywhere, anytime as long as there's a seat available. Other benefits I get as a commercial airline pilot, I get 401K, medical benefit, dental benefits and life insurance. A typical day for me is arriving at the gate 45 minutes early. Sometimes it's the mornings, sometimes it's the afternoon. It just depends on what schedule I was awarded with. I meet with the flight crew, with the first officer and two flight attendants and usually I have never flown with them before. And the reason behind that is I have a new crew every single time I fly in a series of flights. It could be a day trip meaning we go to Los Angeles and go to Dallas and back. Or I go to Los Angeles and we have five days worth of flying and we don't come back to Los Angeles until the fifth day. Some of the traits that you have to have in order to be a successful pilot I think you have to have good judgment. Also, you are stuck in the cockpit with somebody for an extended amount of time. You are flying with the flight attendants for extended amount of days, and I think you should be able to work as a team to solve problems, think on your feet, and fly the aircraft safely from point A to point B.