How Many Days A Week Do Pilots Work?

There is no general rule about how many days a week a pilot will work. Being a pilot is not like a 9-5 job, and there is no 5-day work week. It depends entirely on the airline you work for, whether your flights are long haul or short haul flights, and the times in between fights. 

It is not uncommon for a pilot to go weeks without being at home, especially in the event of a multitude of back to back flights with the necessary rest period in between. In fact, the rest period between flights is a significant part of how long a pilot will work, and these rest periods depend on how long the flight has been. 

A layover period can be any time, ranging from an hour or so for shorter flights to a full day for the longer flights. 

Pilots have a maximum time on duty in a week which will be 47.5 hours, and the maximum working day for the average pilot is often around 15 hours a day, however, this can vary depending on the airline. 

Do pilots get holidays off? 

Pilots do get holidays, but we mean this as vacation time. However, the amount of holiday they get and the specifications of taking time off is very different for each airline, and even if you stay with the same airline for the duration of your career, it is likely that it will change over time then. 

It also depends on the individual. It is different for every airline employee. For some pilots you can get four weeks holiday, or sometimes more. 

However, pilots are unlikely to get Christmas off, or other holidays like most other workers will, as these are the busiest times of the year for their work. They do get more holiday time than your average job though, and these extra days are something that makes up for missing out on these key family holidays, or events. 

A pilot may not get to spend Christmas or Birthdays with their family, but they will likely get extra time off later on to spend more time with their family than someone in another profession would.

Do pilots work every day? 

Pilots don’t work a 9-5 job like most of the population do, and when they finish, most of the time they are far from home and are back on a flight after their rest period is over.

There is no set notion of you work this many days then have that many days off, and it is not standard among all pilots. A pilot's work week will vary depending on their airline, the length of their flights, and sometimes they will be away from home for a full week, or more, sometimes just a few days. 

It is very dependent on many factors that are not 100% standard. And then, there are also delays, delays can impact their work week, while a majority of pilots are paid for flight time, and not the time spent lulling around in the airport waiting for their flight time. 

All pilot's schedules will be different across every airline, so there is no definite way to say that a pilot will work strictly a certain amount of days per week. Do not forget to take into account that schedules also change around the holidays, as they do for everything else in the transport industry, due to higher demands, more flights and therefore, busier schedules. 

How many flights a day do pilots do? 

Pilots' daily hours are actually higher than truck drivers. A flight duty period is a single day of work starting from the pilots' arrival at the airport to complete pre-flight duties.

For short haul pilots the pre-flight period is usually an hour, and for long haul it is often around 90 minutes. The end of the flight duty period is when the pilot sets the park brake at the final arrival airport. 

A short haul pilot for a lower cost airline would often do around 2 long flights, 4 short flights, or even sometimes 2 long flights and 2 short flights altogether. 

 Typically, a pilots' day will average at around 12 hours, although with cancellations and delays this time can be exceeded 

The amount of flights a pilot will do in a single day depends on the length of a flight, if a pilot is only doing short haul, they could do up to 4 in a day, depending on the full time it takes, if a pilot is doing long haul than it may be two flights, or in some cases one. For example if a pilot were to fly from Los Angeles to the UK, this would take up the majority of their flight duty period and so, this would likely be the only flight they do on this day. 

How many hours a day does a pilot work? 

The amount of time a pilot can fly/ work per day depends on many factors. It depends on their time zone acclimatization, the amount of flights they are going to operate, and how many flight crew members are on board, this is especially important in the case of long haul flights. 

Between both Europe and the USA the rules are very similar, averaging as a pilot working 30 hours over 7 days, and 100 hours in a month. The maximum hours a pilot is usually allowed to work is 13 hours, however a pilot is NOT allowed to exceed 16 hours in their working day due to the FAA’s rules and regulations for pilots. 

This is a safety rule as a tired pilot will not be considered to be safe to fly a plane. While a 30-hour work week seems very little in comparison to the standard 40-hour work week most people have, due to how demanding the job is, having a 40-hour work week does not make sense.  

How long do pilots rest between fights? 

In general, when it comes to a rest period, pilots need to have 12-hours rest, or a length of the preceding duty, if the flight time exceeded 12-hours. If a pilot is on duty for 8 hours, then they need 12 hours rest, however, if they were on duty for 16 hours then their rest period needs to be the same as this. 

This time can occasionally be lower, depending on some circumstances, such as when delays occur and the pilot is away from their home base. There is also something called ‘split duties’ which can also be utilized where the crew rest in a hotel while in the middle of a duty. This has the same sort of effect as taking in flight rest as it extends their maximum allowed duty time. 

There are other factors that will alter and affect the amount of time a pilot will get to rest, however these are the standard rules that are worked by. It does differ everywhere slightly, especially in different countries, however these are the standards you will often find in both the USA and in most of Europe too.

If a pilot exceeds 12-hours of on duty time, they must rest for the same amount of time they were on duty for.