Do airline pilots get to go home to see their families often, and if so how long?

  • $\begingroup$ Depends on the route they fly. Overseas could be every other night, domestic could be every night. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Apr 8, 2018 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! I don't know if there's a good answer here: it would depend on the country's employment laws and the airline's policies. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Apr 8, 2018 at 4:20
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    $\begingroup$ For US domestic pilots, it's highly variable and depends on one's own preference, their seniority when bidding for a schedule, and what their company's scheduling policy is like. That said, many (most?) pilots go to work for between 3-5 days at a time and get between 3-4 days at home between work periods. $\endgroup$
    – nexus_2006
    Apr 8, 2018 at 4:43
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    $\begingroup$ This depends on a lot of things ranging from seniority, company policy, routes and schedules which the pilot bids on, etc. New FOs and Captains will work around 4-5 days then get 2-3 days off. Senior captains on Wide Body Aircraft may get 3 days on, 4 days off with on two flight surfing this period. $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2018 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ I once worked with a software developer who was also an airline pilot. He would fly for two weeks, then work with us for two weeks (living at home with his family), then fly for two weeks, etc. I don't recall what sort of routes he flew. $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2018 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


All in the contract, routes, and choices of the pilot within that contract. Some fly trips of up to two weeks, others are back home every night if they have a home near their base airport and work regional. Some choose to take all available work offered while others stay near the minimum.

Labor law limits total flying time per day and per week depending on crew size and time of the day.


Many companies allow bidding for trips, days off etc. Company, routes, seniority, equipment flown all enter the equation that results in the answer. As stated by others, some are home every night (flying turn-arounds) JFK-MIA-JFK as an example. Others prefer less commuting to the airport and will choose 2,3,4 day trips, overnighting at different cities each night until finished with the sequence of trips. Some jobs have trips that fly for 1-2 weeks at a time, not necessarily everyday but they are gone from base that long. Also where one lives relative to the base they work at will affect how often they are home with family.


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