There’s always a pregnant pause whenever I tell someone what my husband does for a living – followed by a flurry of questions. Where does he fly to? Does he always fly the same routes? Has he ever flown anyone famous? How long is he gone for? Oh wow, do you ever worry he’s going to cheat on you? The list goes on and on. It’s pretty funny, actually, especially when you end up quashing some of the widely held assumptions people have. So I’m going to take a crack at the ones I usually hear the most. Have a question yourself? Comment below and I’ll answer as best as I can. 🙂
Oh wow, he must make a lot of money! Ok, so this is more of a statement than an actual question, but I consider in an inquiry nonetheless. The short answer? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha, no. Although he makes a decent salary nowadays, it took us a looooong time to get to the point where we weren’t completely stressed about money, living paycheck to paycheck, and wondering how we were going to keep the roof over our heads. Not many people know this, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: It takes a shitload of money to become a pilot, and after they are done shelling out nearly $100 grand to finish school, if they are lucky enough to be hired by a regional (and I use the term “lucky” loosely), they will start at right around $19,000 a year. Yep, you read that right.
Pilots’ starting salary to fly actual real life people around pays less than $20,000 a year. In the airline industry, this is seen as a travesty, yet people are still surprised to actually see/hear about it. When Scott started flying, he was lucky enough not to have any student loans (not the norm for most pilots) because he had sold his house and used the equity along with money his grandparents generously gifted him to pay for flight school. All his living expenses went on credit cards. (Not much better, IMO.) We both flew for a regional airline (I was a flight attendant – don’t you dare ever use the S word), and it was about 6 or 7 years in before he was making an ok salary. Now that he’s moved on to a major (and suffered through what is called “first year pay” – the dreaded peanuts pay that all airlines start with to, in my opinion, see what you’re made of. “Oh you have a family of 4? Ha, see if you can survive on this) he is now making more than he ever has, and we are finally at a good place. He’s been a pilot for 12 years. And our story is not nearly as bad as some of the others I’ve heard.
Where does he fly? Does he get the same routes every trip? This really depends on the airline, but they pretty much have no control over where they fly to (with some exceptions). The majority of pilots bid for their schedule in advance (a bid lasts a month), and do it to get the most days off as possible, while trying to get as many hours crunched into those trips to pay decently. The trips they get are the ones that fall into their parameters. My husband’s airline doesn’t have a huge amount of hubs, so he often does fly to the same cities.
Has he ever flown anyone famous? Yes! He has flown Eva Longoria, Drew Barrymore, Sally Field, John Lovitz, Jamie Lynn Sigler, and Courtney Love. He also was on a plane with Mike Tyson, and saw Ron Jeremy at the Phoenix airport. (I don’t know if he really counts, he’s like an F-list celebrity – get it? F-list? Man, that one wrote itself.)
How long is he usually gone for? Usually anywhere from 3-5 days, and then home for 3-5 days. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
Do you ever worry he’s going to cheat on you? Hahaha, this one always makes me laugh. No, I don’t. And not because it’s not a reality, either. I’ve flown with my share of douchebag pilots before, they are definitely out there. But there are more good ones than bad, it’s just that the bad ones create more of a name for themselves. If my husband were going to cheat, he would do it regardless of whether or not he was pilot. Doctors cheat, lawyers cheat, teachers cheat. There are cheaters in every profession. Cheating has more to do with your character than what you do for a living, and there are just as many wives at home who have the same opportunity.
But doesn’t the atmosphere create a environment ripe for cheating? You know, layovers together, staying in the same hotel, being together for days?
Sometimes, yes. But just because my husband is around other women (sometimes for days at a time) doesn’t mean he doesn’t have self control. Can you imagine trying to stop him from going to the grocery store, the gas station, my son’s preschool? Women are everywhere, and he either has self control or he doesn’t. I wouldn’t have married my husband if I thought he could be a cheater. (Although I’m sure no woman whose husband ends up cheating ever thought to herself, you know, he seems like a cheater. Oh, well, let’s see what happens!) However, being exposed to many, many different men, I did a pretty damn good job of sniffing out who would cheat on whom. And I also had many propositions as a flight attendant. But every time, I chose the outcome. I could either cheat, or not. Same for him. You either have trust or you don’t. End of story.
This is a pretty heated subject among pilot wives. Many argue that they don’t let their husbands go out on overnights with flight attendants, or friend them on Facebook, because just the temptation alone is fostering a cheating environment. I tend to disagree. Mostly because I was a flight attendant, and I feel the need to defend some of these pilots. Sometimes only some of our crew would want to go out to eat after a long day of flying. Some of the places we went to (ahem, Vegas) had hotels that were not in the best areas. If I was starving, you bet your ass I wasn’t going alone. So I’d call up one of the pilots and see if they would go with me. Just the fact of being a woman alone in another city is a daunting prospect. On more than one occasion we would get to a shady hotel and the pilots would offer to check our rooms out first (like a security sweep) to make sure nothing was amiss. They’d check the bathroom, under the beds, etc. just to make sure. I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories about flight attendants being attacked or even murdered. If not, Google “Jeffrey Gorton”, who killed Nancy Ludwig while she was on a layover. He pushed her into her room as she was opening the door, then gagged her, raped her, and slit her throat. This is why I personally chose to sometimes have pilots check my room. It wasn’t a joke.
Yet, I understand the worry some wives have about their husbands being left alone with other women. It’s a weird feeling knowing they are enjoying themselves on their overnights while we are at home, usually taking care of dinner, bath time, bedtime, and all the craziness being a mom entails. However, like I said before, you either have trust or you don’t. I choose to trust my husband. I know he wouldn’t cheat. I mean, let’s face it; we’re 13 years apart, if he goes any younger than me he’s a creep. (Hahaha!) We have a very open relationship, (not that kind of open, get your mind out of the gutter) and we talk a lot about everything. If he has a pretty flight attendant, he has no problem telling me. He has also told me the stories of passengers trying to hit on him. (Which I happen to think is funny, aaaand a little bit hot. They want my man? Makes him even sexier.) There are beautiful women everywhere. Trying to control my husband is not going to negate that fact.
It’s all. About. Trust.
That’s pretty much all I can think of for the moment! Do you have any questions?? Let me know what they are, I would love to answer!!