American Airlines Pilot Salary – Over $590,000 A Year?!

American Airlines Salary

American Airlines Pilot Salary - Over $590,000 A Year?!

American Airlines Pilot Salary


This is part of our extensive Pilot Salary guide, where we break down everything to do with aviation salaries, including the average pay, the factors impacting these salaries and much more.

An American Airlines pilot salary is arguably one of the highest in the aviation world.

Some more senior, long-haul captains are forecast to make a base salary of close to $600,000 a year.

This doesn’t include further pay incentives such as flight pay, overtime rates, generous bonuses and large 401k contributions.

Read on to learn more. 

How much do American Airlines Pilots Make?

So how much do American Airlines pilots make?

Well, the answer is a lot.

American first officers and Captains are generally paid much more than their European and UK colleges. 

With the new changes being implemented, an American Airlines pilot salary for a narrow body, short-haul captain on an Airbus A320, for example, could be as high as $475,000 within four years.

A wide-body, long-haul captain on a Boeing 777 could see their basic salary become as high as $590,000 a year!

However, a first year flight crew (first officer) operating the Boeing 737 might expect salaries closer to $75,000-$90,000 a year.

This base pay will quickly increase to well over $160,000 within five years but will be closer to $200,000+ after the new agreement.

The Huge Pay Rise Coming To Aviation

When looking at how much do American Airline pilots make, we need to look at the recent negotiations and economic situation in America.

Current pay at the carrier is still very healthy. However, pressure has been mounting on AA to match the recent pay rise offered by Delta. Flight crew at Delta were offered a 3-year pay raise of 34%.

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom updated his flight crew regarding contract negotiations with the following:

“American is prepared to match Delta pay rates and provide American’s pilots with the same profit sharing formula as delta pilots.”

In year four of the deal, this will see flight crew at AA receiving a 40% pay rise in a tentative agreement.

AA managers hope this new contract will be voted through in April. 

The Allied Pilots Association, American Airlines flight crew union, didn’t immediately comment on Isom’s statement.

Other US Airways, such as United Airlines and even the regional airlines, are all expected to raise their pay to try and compete for qualified talent in this global pilot shortage.

AA flight crew also demand more stability in their rosters to avoid quality-of-life issues such as late notice changes and reassignments. 

What Has Created These Extensive Payrises?

This has been caused by the global pilot shortage caused by the 1500-hour rule in the United States.

This 1500 rule states that flight crew must first achieve a minimum of 1500 flight hours before being eligible to fly for a major or regional airline.

This rule has been set out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) but has been scrutinised as of late.

This means that before a first officer is eligible to fly for even a regional carrier, such as Envoy Airlines or PSA Airlines, they must first achieve these hours by flight instructing or other hour-building methods.

As mentioned, this will see a wide-body American Airlines pilot salary, at the top of the payscales, a whopping $590,000 a year by year 4 of the agreement, a $170,000 increase from today.

In year 4, an American Airlines pilot salary for a narrow-body operator at the top of the payscales will be $475,000 yearly, a $135,000 increase from today.

American Airlines Pilot Salary - The Breakdown

when looking at the American Airlines pilot salary, we also need to look at other factors.

These figures mentioned above are just the base salaries the flight crew will receive.

We have also to factor in the following:

Flight Pay/Per Diem Pay

This is how much American Airlines pilots are paid per hour. Therefore, the more they fly, the more they get paid.


AA has also said that AA crew would be part of their new profit-sharing scheme, where they can be paid a bonus of up to 20% of the profits above $2.5Bn. This could see some receiving bonuses worth tens of thousands of dollars.

401k Contributions

AA has said that they will ensure they also include 401 contributions in the agreement.


Flight crew can be paid hundreds to thousands of dollars per hour for working overtime.

How Much Do American Airlines Long-Haul Pilots Get Paid?

With the new pay rise, long-haul captains operating widebody aircraft can expect a basic pay of up to $590,000 annually.

How Much Do American Airlines Short-Haul Pilots Get Paid?

With the new pay rise, short-haul captains can expect a salary of up to $475,000 annually.

Factors Impacting An American Airlines Pilot Salary

Multiple factors will impact the American Airlines pilot salary, including:

  • Seniority – How long the individual has been in the airline. The more senior they are, the higher their payscale and the higher their pay.
  • What Aircraft They Fly – Wide-body operators, such as those on the Beoing 777/747, will nearly always earn more money than narrow-body operators.
  • The Number Of Flight Hours – The more time spent flying, the more they will be paid.
  • Overtime – If a pilot carries out lots of overtime flying, they will likely receive a lot more money.

To Summarise - American Airline Pilot Salary

AA flight crew receive some of the top salaries in the world.

With this new 40% pay rise over the next four years, it’s easy to see why overall job satisfaction is so high within the airline.

Indeed, an American Airlines pilot salary is so high that many European and UK flight crew are hoping for Green Card applications open soon so that they too can enjoy these fantastic pay rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Once the new pay deal is implemented (2023), it will see captains at the top of the pay scale receive a base salary of:

Wide-body aircraft - $590,000 annually

Narrow-body aircraft - $475,000 annually

Year 1 First Officer (short-haul) $75,000 - $9000 (doubling within five years).

Once the new pay deal is implemented (2023), it will see captains at the top of the payscale receive a base salary of $475,000 for narrow-body aircraft and as much as $590,000 a year for wide-body aircraft.

Pilot benefits with American Airlines include:

  • - Excellent salary and benefit package
  • - opportunities for growth and development
  • - Competitive pay and 401(k) plan
  • - Paid holidays, sick leave, and vacation time
  • - Life insurance and other safety benefits available
  • - Frequent pilot promotions and opportunities

American Airlines Pilot Salary - Conclusion

AA salaries have greatly increased significantly over the years.

The airline is known for being a great workplace and has offered pay which is among the highest in the industry.

There are a variety of factors that impact an American Airlines pilot’s salary, and American Airlines flight crew do receive a generous pay package.

However, this profession requires many skills, training, and experience to succeed.

Now you know all there is about an American Airlines pilot salary.

Scroll to Top
A pilot riding on a Boeing 747 with ThePilotGuys logo on the side!

Subscribe Today!

You don’t want to miss new blog posts and updates, do you?!

How To Become An Airline Pilot. Airline Pilot Salary. Boeing 737 Cockpit.

Subscribe For Everything Pilot Related

With regular content being posted and updated, you don't want to miss anything!

How To Become A Pilot

Everything You Need To Become An Airline Pilot.

Stop wasting your time with out-of-date and unhelpful information.

How To Become A Pilot - an ebook with the title of 'How To Become An Airline Pilot' with an airplane on top of a world map and clouds present.

Everything You Need To Become An Airline Pilot.

Stop reading out of date and unhelpful information. All of the information you could ever need, in one place.

Written By A Real Pilot!