How many days off do pilots get a month?
A look at how much of the month pilots actually work and how this varies between airlines
How many days do pilots usually get off a month?
Commercial airline pilots typically have between 9 and 15 days off a month without including any leave, although this depends on the airline and type of operation.
Short Haul Operations
Short haul pilots might either be on a fixed rostering pattern or a variable roster. A fixed roster means you work a set number of days on, then have a set number of days off. For example at Ryanair, most of their pilots work 5 days on then 4 days off. easyJet pilots work 5 on – 4 off – 5 on – 3 off. British Airways short haul pilots work a ‘random’ roster with no set pattern.
There are both benefits and disadvantages to a fixed and variable pattern. One allows you to know exactly what days you will have off all year, but if you want a day off that doesn’t normally fall on your off day, you will need to use your annual leave to have it off.
On a variable roster pattern, which is often used at leisure airlines, you will likely work much harder in the summer than the winter due to the operational requirements.
Therefore, you will have anywhere between about 9 and 13 days off a month as a short haul pilot, depending on the airline and the type of operation.
Long Haul Operations
Long haul pilots typically get more days off a month than their short haul counterparts as they spend more time away from home. The days off must also allow for adequate rest following multiple time zone crossings often in the middle of the night. As a long haul pilot, you would typically get between 10 – 15 days off a month, again depending on the airline.