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Podcast: Is lavish air crew spending excessive or justified?

written by Tasha Levy | August 19, 2020
PIA Airbus A310-324 shot from Dubai International (Wikimedia Commons)

As investigations into the legitimacy of Pakistani pilot licences continue, a simultaneously conducted internal audit report has found that its pilots are being overpaid, underproductive and spending far too much on luxurious hotels.

In this episode of the World of Aviation Podcast, host Adam Thorn and Christian “Boo” Boucousis discuss whether the “luxury pilot life” stereotype is founded in truth, the differences between flying for a low-cost or domestic carrier and a prestigious national airline, and the hierarchy in the cockpit for a major international carrier.

Adam and Boo delve into the endless saga of airbridges in Europe opening and closing at short notice, the fraught relationship between Boeing and Airbus, cracks being found in Rolls-Royce engines, and an upcoming battle between an AI-controlled fighter jet and a US Air Force pilot.


  • The day airlines allowed the pilot bodies to have “accommodation” committees to approve where they are accommodated generally overnight was the beginning of the end and the PIA situation is clearly only the tip of the iceberg in International carriers. This and lowly taxed allowances is a salary benefit in concert with taxation authorities. It is not uncommon around the world for a senior pilot in a stable family to be able to live off travel allowances, taxable at only 20% of the amount and bank their salary. This is not the case for 2nd and new 1st officers starting an international career

  • Hi Keith, I bet you don’t get to stay in LAVISH Hotels very often, if at all, and there is no chance of you being overpaid or being underproductive, fat chance

  • Nearly all of the major international carriers place their Tech and Cabin crew into specified
    hotels that the airline has negotiated an annual contract bulk rates for a guaranteed number
    of room nights per year/per hotel etc . As one can imagine a Major carrier would enjoy significant buying
    power when negotiating these deals and they are administered by the airlines crewing departments along
    with the ground transfers to pick and collect the crew. Leaving it up to the crew to decide on a whim is
    not only a recipe for financial disaster but goes against the normal practice for any well run airline !

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