Generous salaries abound for Airline Captains in the United States, with average pay above six figures ($140K) per year. Cash earnings for Airline Captains — which occasionally include more than $26K from bonuses and more than $40K from profit sharing — stretch from around $74K to approximately $427K. While the specific employer and years of experience impact pay for this group, residence is the most influential factor. Most Airline Captains like their work and job satisfaction is high. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
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$70,031 - $265,109
(Median)
$70K
$140K
$270K
MEDIAN: $139,730
10%
50%
90%

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$67.95 - $263.22
(Median)
$68
$210
$260
MEDIAN: $207.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$150K$300K$450K
Salary
$70,031 - $265,109  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $25,911  
Profit Sharing
$145.44 - $39,933  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$73,785 - $426,626  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 165
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$180$360$540
Hourly Rate
$67.95 - $263.22  
   
Overtime
$96.96 - $515  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$500K$1M$1.5M
Bonus
$0.00 - $25,911  
   
Profit Sharing
$145.44 - $39,933  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$73,785 - $426,626  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 30
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Job Description for Airline Captain

Airline captains are responsible for safely flying the aircraft to its destination. In a commercial airliner, captains fly with a co-pilot who can fly the plane should something happen to the captain. The initial tasks performed by the captain before taking off include receiving weather information, conducting preflight checks on the navigation systems, and communicating with tower controllers to ensure no collisions occur. Once in the air, the captain and co-pilot rotate flying responsibilities to avoid either becoming too tired; additionally, modern aircraft include a cruise control or auto-pilot that helps keep the plane on course automatically. During flight, the captain also communicates the status of the flight to passengers, as well as checks location, flight path, and weather patterns periodically to confirm accuracy of the computer's flight plan.

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Airline Captain Tasks

  • Evaluate situations and determine necessary changes to the flight pattern.
  • Responsible for safely flying aircraft and for the safety of passengers and crew.
  • Communicate with ground control and authorities.
  • Lead flight crew, monitor and evaluate data before and during flight.
  • Report and respond to emergency situations.

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Popular Employer Salaries for Airline Captain


United Airlines, Inc. offers the highest compensation with a median salary of $356K.

Pay by Experience Level for Airline Captain

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Six-figure salaries are not unusual for those just entering the occupation — survey respondents with less than five years' experience under their belts report receiving an average of $137K per year. Airline Captains who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $133K. Airline Captains who have spent more than 20 years on the job report earning a significantly higher median of $209K.

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Experience Affects Airline Captain Salaries


National Average
$156,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 12%


Mid-Career
up arrow 23%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 20 votes.

Gender

Female
4 %
Male
96 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
5%
5-9 years
9%
10-19 years
34%
20 years or more
52%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 76%
medical benefits
Vision: 64%
dental benefits
None: 7%
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