Delta Airlines Pilot Salary: Monthly And Yearly Pay Rates

Ken Hyde

By Ken Hyde

Last updated:

Piloting a Delta jet sounds pretty darn cool, right? But let’s face it: dreams don’t pay the bills. With a career at Delta comes the curiosity about compensation—how does it stack up?

This guide dives into the current situation of Delta pilot salary, breaking down the numbers and what factors influence their earnings. If you’re pondering a future in the skies with this carrier or just fascinated by Delta pilots, stick around.

How Much Do Delta Pilots Make?

Delta Airlines pilot salary depends on a bunch of factors, like how many hours you fly, how long you’ve been soaring the skies, and what kind of plane you’re captaining. An FO can make anywhere from more than $100 to nearly $300 per hour, while a captain’s pay rate ranges from about $250 to more than $400.

Pilot jobs

Now, the good news. In March 2023, Delta and their pilots (represented by the awesome folks at ALPA) agreed to a sweet new contract. This means over $7 billion in raises over the next four years, with a total pay bump of 34%.

First Officers

Take a Boeing 777, for example. As a fresh-faced FOFO, you’d be looking at around $108 per hour, according to the Delta pilot pay scale below. But rack up five years of experience, and that number jumps to $253 per hour. By year ten, you’re pulling in a cool $280 per hour. Not bad, right?

And remember, these are just starting points – there are opportunities for overtime, per diem, and other bonuses on top.



Captain salaries are obviously higher than those of FOs, and the pay gap widens with senior captains. Piloting a B-777 as a captain? You’re starting at $383 per hour, and that climbs to over $411 per hour by year ten.

Even on smaller jets like the A320, captains start at $307 per hour and reach over $330 per hour after a decade. Top-end captains can expect to earn more than $400,000 annually during their peak earnings years under the new Delta pilot pay rates. And let’s not forget the benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and travel discounts.

EMB- 95$232.45$239.86$249.39

About Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines is a major US carrier headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with its wings spread wide across the globe. Think nine major hubs buzzing with activity, including Atlanta (their biggest nest), Detroit, Los Angeles, and more.

As one of the “big four” US global carriers, Delta provides over 5,000 daily flights to more than 300 destinations around the world. The airline has nearly 1,000 aircraft in its fleet. Delta also operates the largest Boeing 757, 717, and Airbus A220 rosters in the global aviation industry.

But Delta’s record-setting doesn’t end there. They also have the biggest passenger fleet of Boeing 767s and top the charts with the largest Airbus A330 fleet among US carriers. This impressive lineup ensures that Delta has the right aircraft for the right mission, whether it’s short hops or long hauls.

Like other major airlines, Delta continues to invest heavily in next-generation models like the A321neo and A220 to improve efficiency and passenger comfort. So pilots at Delta get to fly some of the most advanced commercial aircraft out there while enjoying the flexibility of one of the world’s most expensive route networks.

The nine major hubs for Delta Air Lines in the United States are:

  • Atlanta
  • New York’s LaGuardia and JFK
  • Boston
  • Los Angeles
  • Salt Lake City
  • Detroit
  • Seattle
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul

The mainline aircraft models in Delta’s current fleet are:

  • Airbus A220
  • Airbus A319
  • Airbus A320
  • Airbus A321
  • Airbus A321neo
  • Airbus A330
  • Airbus A350
  • Boeing 717
  • Boeing 737
  • Boeing 737 Max
  • Boeing 757
  • Boeing 767

Delta Airline Pilot Hiring Requirements

Delta maintains fairly typical qualifications for pilot applicants. If you’re eyeing the cockpit at this carrier, here’s the checklist to get you there.

First off, you’ve got to be at least 23 and legally set to work in the US without anyone needing to sponsor you now or in the future. And you’ll need a current passport that lets you come and go from the US without a hitch.

Pilot smile

A high school diploma or its equivalent is your ticket. For those who’ve gone the extra mile, a four-year college degree puts you ahead in the queue.

In terms of FAA licenses, Delta requires a commercial pilot license with instrument rating, an ATP written exam, a current First Class Medical, and all the flight time requirements for the ATP multi-engine rating.

Delta wants to see at least 1,500 flight hours in your logbook, with a strong preference for 1,000 hours of that being in fixed-wing turbine craft. You should’ve spent at least 250 hours PIC (or SIC) in an airplane, and don’t forget a minimum of 50 hours in multi-engine planes.

Applicants meeting the initial criteria receive an invitation for further assessments like employment history verification or background review.

How to Apply to Be a Delta Pilot

There are two primary paths. Major carriers like Delta sometimes hire pilots with plenty of experience directly. You can submit your application on their website if this is the case.

The second avenue is through Delta’s Propel career program for developing well-rounded aviators. Its flight schools have several sub-tracks based on your current level of experience and credentials.

For true beginners, there is now Propel Flight Academy, a partnership with Skyborne to take aspiring pilots from zero time all the way through commercial licensing and instructing. The Collegiate Program also helps university student pilots gain flight experience through its aviation training.

Once you build experience and meet Delta’s minimums, you can apply to their parted carriers like Endeavor as a regional airline pilot. A job like that allows you to accrue valuable Part 121 time operating CRJ and EMB regional jets.

After proving yourself at one of Delta’s regional commercial airlines and meeting upgrade requirements, you can enjoy a transition over to Delta mainline. This staged career progression takes dedication but offers a higher average salary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Pilots Does Delta Have?

As of 2023, there are about 15,000 pilots working for Delta.

What Special Pilot Opportunities Exist at Delta Besides Flying?

There are many non-flying jobs, from flight instructor to pilot recruiter, that pilots can transition into. They don’t share the Delta Airlines pilot pay, but they’re still attractive opportunities.

What’s the Hiring Process Like?

It’s pretty standard. It starts with a tough interview, followed by a conditional job offer. What comes next is a thorough pre-employment screening and a comprehensive training period before you officially join the Delta family as a pilot.

Is Much Interview Preparation Needed?

Not if you’ve interviewed at big airlines before. But brush up on paperwork and practice honest, positive answers. Use the STAR method for tricky questions, and remember: relax and be yourself.

View more pilot guides:


So, is an airline pilot career at Delta the golden ticket to financial freedom? It depends. However, the base pay rate above can give an informative look at how much Delta pilots can earn. Hope this clarifies your concern, whether it’s towards a rewarding career with Delta or simply satisfying your curiosity about aviation salaries.

Share on:
Ken W Hyde

Ken W Hyde

Ken W Hyde is the founder of The Wright Experience™. He is passionate about antique airplanes and has restored many of the Wright brothers' planes, including the 1918 Curtiss Jenny and the 1903 Wright Flyer. He is also a pilot and mechanic who has worked for Capital Airlines, Bendix Corporation, and American Airlines.

Leave a Comment