Pros & Cons of Private vs Commercial Aviation.

THE PROS AND CONS of Commercial Aviation and Private Aviation...(DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT).

Considering a career in Aviation? Unsure of which industry to pursue, Private or Commercial? Below we have outlined the pros and cons of each industry (in our opinion - we are hoping you come up with your own opinion - in private aviation, you have to think smart and quick on your feet - is this your strength?  Something to consider.). Here is just a glimpse into the two industries, and although they are both in aviation, they are COMPLETELY different industries - choose wisely, because your entry into either requires different certifications, training and experiences.

Above all else, enjoy the ride of your life, whichever industry you choose...

Private Aviation

  • Control your own schedule - mostly. The reality is, if you are a contract crew member and you are called for a flight you have approximately 1 minute to make a decision. 
    • Be aware, saying no too many times lessens your chance of being called again to fulfill a trip as you become a less reliable "go-to" resource.
  • All expenses paid - mostly. Crew trip expenses are paid for while on the road. This includes hotel accommodations, transportation specific to the needs of the job, meals and sometimes relocation travel. All trip expenses are paid upfront by you and reimbursed at the end of each trip.
    • Reimbursement can take as long as 60 days - so managing your money wisely is important so you don't find yourself in a bind. 
    • Depending on the operator/client - crew either receive a "per diem" for trip expenses or are reimbursed for all expenses at the end of the trip (pending all expenses are accompanied with a receipt).
  • Enjoy the destinations you fly to - often. Unlike commercial flight crew, private flight crew stay with the aircraft at the destination. This means if your guests are staying in Bora Bora - SO ARE YOU! 
    • Some flight operators, to save on costs, will airline crew back and forth from the destination if a guest is staying for an extended period of time if it means saving a few bucks on hotel accommodations, daily rate expenses and meals. 
    • If you get to stay - guess what - ENJOY!
  • Meet amazing people - always. The people you will meet are amazing!. Pilots are quirky, LOVE what they do and are full of good cheer. The guests you will meet are gracious and kind. 
  • The industry is highly competitive - always. So making a good first impression is essential, and maintaining that reputation is key. The industry is BIG, but the community is small. Watch your P's and T's and plan to kick-a-- at your job or don't expect a call back.
  • Steady income - sometimes. Your income depends largely on what choices you make. Choosing between being a contract crew member or full-time employee will make a BIG difference in having a steady income from month to month. 
    • Contract - make your own schedule, accept the trips you want, but DON'T say "NO" too many times (see 1st bullet above). As a contract crew member you have the potential to make more money IF you've made a positive name for yourself and have made good connections.
      • pilot pay range: $250 - $3,000/day
      • cabin attendant pay range: $250 - $700/day
    • Full-time - your schedule is not your own, your life revolves around the flight schedule, BUT you can count on a steady income from month to month as well as other benefits like health care and 401k.
      • Pilot: $50k - $250k
      • Cabin Attendant: $40k - $150k
    • NOTE: earnings are dependent on a few key factors; experience, type rating, certifications, flight schedule, responsibilities, location, benefits offered, int'l vs domestic travel, etc.

Commercial Aviation

  • Steady income - mostly. Income is consistent, but varies based on seniority and your average monthly flights.
  • Steady Schedule - mostly. Talking to those in the industry it sounds like you can pretty much make your own schedule. NICE perk.
  • Enjoy the destinations you fly to - rarely. Commercial crew members may fly to fun destinations but their time on the ground is generally spent sleeping and preparing for your next leg. However, if you work the short hops you will have the opportunity to be home most nights with your friends/family.
  • The industry is highly competitive - always. 
  • Paid training - sometimes. Although it is of a benefit to you to have some form of training prior to looking for a airline to settle in with. Showing dedication and commitment to your career will go a long way in the interview process. Attending SKYacademy is an affordable solution for demonstrating your dedication to a career in aviation regardless of which industry you choose to pursue.

THE BOTTOM LINE...

Regardless of which industry you choose, in both cases plan on working VERY hard to secure a position in this industry. If you are planning on simply obtaining training and then sitting back hoping the calls will come flying in - think again. You're going to have to pound A LOT of pavement to secure a position with a commercial airline, private operator or private client. If you are not willing to work hard - very hard - save yourself the money, the time, and the pain and consider another career. BUT if you have what it takes...what a rewarding and FUN life you will live. A life like no others. While your friends sit in cubicles and living the grind, you will be exploring the world. The memories you create in this industry, you will be telling your grandkids. A career in Private Aviation, bar none, is the best life you will EVER live.