Average United Airlines Pilot Salary In 2024

Ken Hyde

By Ken Hyde

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Most of us are more than familiar with United, one of the largest and most successful American airlines. Given its long-lasting reputation, the company is believed to pay its commercial airline pilots very generously, especially when compared to its current competitors in the aviation industry. How much of that is accurate? 

Our research team has conducted numerous market studies and interviews with insiders to give you a rough estimate of the United pilot pay scale. Keep scrolling to learn more. 

How Much Does A United Airlines Pilot Make?

The United pilot salary ranges from roughly $109,000 a year (starting as a First Officer) to about $338,000 (as a 12-year Captain, providing that you clock in a minimum of 70 flight hours each month. 

Of course, you should keep in mind that the actual payment might fluctuate across different plane models and how many years you have spent working in the company. 

Not to mention, not everyone undergoes the same career progression; the faster you move up the ladder or get transferred to a larger department, the more annual increases you will be able to make. Hence, our table below only summarizes simple approximations. 

United Airlines First Officer Salary

Year 1$109,000
Year 5$206,000
Year 8$231,000

United Airlines Captain Salary

Year 1$312,000
Year 5$320,000
Year 12$338,000

Top 10 Highest Paying City For United Airlines Pilots

According to Zip Recruiter, as of 27th January, 2024, Redwood tops the list, exceeding the national average by 30.3%. Following closely are Berkeley and Bainbridge Island.

CityHourly WageWeekly PayMonthly PayAnnual Salary
Redwood City, CA$82.00$3,279$14,212$170,555
Berkeley, CA$76.20$3,048$13,208$158,496
Bainbridge Island, WA$75.31$3,012$13,053$156,642
Burien, WA$74.27$2,970$12,873$154,478
Cottage Lake, WA$73.41$2,936$12,724$152,688
New York City, NY$73.27$2,930$12,700$152,401
Dublin, CA$73.14$2,925$12,677$152,125
Renton, WA$73.05$2,922$12,662$151,944
Santa Monica, CA$72.57$2,902$12,578$150,943
Bend, OR$72.48$2,899$12,563$150,759

Requirements To Become United Airlines Pilots

young woman helicopter pilot

1. First Officer Requirements

A qualified candidate must be able to: 

  • Embody the brand’s leadership qualities, including the ability to:
  • Think creatively
  • Model character
  • Model teamwork
  • Get results
  • Share the company’s commitment to core values and maintaining excellence
  • Have a strong passion for aviation careers

2. Certification Requirements

  • Unrestricted FAA ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) (with multi-engine rating)
  • FCC RR (Restricted Radiotelephone) Operator Permit
  • Current FAA first-class medical certificate

3. Flight Experience Requirements

  • 1,000 to 1,500 hours of total time as minimum
  • Optional: 100 flight hours in the last twelve months

4. General Requirements

  • Can work legally in America with no sponsorship
  • Can travel to any part of the U.S. and any countries this major airline flies to without restrictions 
  • GED or high school graduate
  • Current passport with at least 6 remaining months when applying for the position
  • Yellow Card/ International Cert of Vaccination for Yellow Fever
  • Full COVID-19 vaccination (the proof must be brought to the interview and on your first employment day). 
  • Reliable and punctual attendance
  • Availability with no planned absences for the first twelve weeks of employment
  • Optional: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or school. Every foreign transcript (if any) must be evaluated by a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) member organization for authenticity equivalence to American degrees.

How To Apply For The Position

Pilot smile

There are several pathways available, depending on your current experience.

Anyone who meets the minimum requirements for flight time and has unrestricted ATP licenses can apply straight for the FO position here

Otherwise, you can consider joining the United Aviate program, a collection of organizations and flight schools that supplement the United Airlines’ hiring process. 

Working and training through such organizations allow you to access golden employment opportunities and scholarships while accumulating your total flight hours at the same time. 

The United Aviate Academy (located in Phoenix, Arizona) is among the most common choices. To be accepted to this academy for future flight training programs, make sure to check the following boxes:

  • Minimum age: 18 years old
  • GED or high school diploma
  • A first-class FAA medical certificate
  • Be a legal resident or US citizen
  • Passing the behavioral interviews and other assessments
  • Scoring at least 80% in the FAA-authorized Private pilot knowledge exam
  • Passing background checks and drug screening
  • Full COVID-19 vaccination (with proof) 

Breaking News: The Largest Contract Deal In US Airline History 

United Airlines pilots have ratified a historic $10.2 billion contract, the largest in U.S. airline history. This 4-year deal, approved by 82% of the 16,000 pilots, includes a potential 40.2% increase in total compensation!

Along with this industry-leading change, the ALPA (Airline Pilots Association, International Union) also highlighted improvements in quality of life, work rules, sick leave, vacation, and retirement benefits. 

View more pilot guides:


Given the fantastic contract news, it is clear that the financial/career path of a United Airlines pilot is very wide open!

Of course, there are strict hiring requirements that go along with this impressive six-figure airline pilot salary, so make sure you obtain all the necessary documents and FAA-approved licenses before applying. 

Write to us if you still have any reservations about the airline pilot job career at United.

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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.

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