Regardless of which airline you’d love to fly for one day, you’ll be faced with the decision of whether to commute or live in-base as an airline pilot. When you commute, you can live almost anywhere in the world, but have to allow yourself enough time and flight options to make it to your crew base before the start of your trip.

Living in-base is ideal for most pilots but can result in extremely high living costs in large cities across the country. I’ve done both. For a while, I was commuting part-time from North Dakota to Hawaii with Mokulele Airlines, and then I was commuting from Fargo, ND to Chicago for Envoy Air.

Today, I’m finally living in-base and here are some of the best parts:

  • No more stressful nonrev flights to and from work (wondering if I’d get a seat, jumpseat, or miss the flight)
  • It takes me roughly 50 minutes door-to-door to get from where I live to the gate in O’Hare
  • I have a lot more time off (extra days of commuting time added to “time off”)
  • After a quick drive to the airport, I can fly nonstop to almost anywhere in the world!
  • Trips with early show-times or late endings still let me sleep at home that night
  • Picking up OT flying is a LOT easier (more pay!)

Plus… Chicago is just awesome, especially in the summer! I have tons of friends from UND that live and work for their first airlines out of O’Hare, so it’s nice walking into an environment where you have plenty of friends nearby.

About The Author

Swayne Martin

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

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