Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
At a time of increased use and competitiveness amongst U.S. regional airlines, and the growing pilot shortage, regional air carriers and pilots alike lack proper understanding how pilot commutes by airplane affect satisfaction with life. There are numerous studies on how commuting by vehicle, bicycle, mass transit system, or walking (traditional commute) to and from work affects one’s satisfaction with life. There are no identified studies which investigate regional airline pilots’ commute by airplane and its affect on satisfaction with life. The purpose of this study was to gain knowledge on regional airline pilot commutes, how commuting affects regional pilots’ satisfaction with life, and to explore why regional airline pilots choose to commute. This study used both qualitative and quantitative measures to accomplish this task by imploring a mixed methods exploratory sequential design. The two research questions were what is the variation in the Satisfaction With Life Scale scores between different groups of regional pilots and what aspects of pilot commuting are related to traditional commuting? This study used previous related research and regional airline pilot qualitative interviews to build a quantitative survey to measure satisfaction with life. The survey was distributed to a large regional airline to get a representative pilot population sample response. Statistical analysis was conducted on the responses which looked for significance between different groups of regional airline pilots. Results from a t-test indicated that there is a significant difference in Satisfaction With Life Scores for regional pilots that are able to traditionally commute to their domicile vs. regional pilots who commute by airplane to their domicile. Further t-test results indicated that there is a significant difference in satisfaction with life for airplane commute captains vs. traditional commute captains, and airplane commute captains vs. traditional commute first officers. When only airplane commute pilots were analyzed, there are significant differences in satisfaction with life for pilots that commute over 43.33 hours a month (equivalent to one hour, one way traditional commute), and a one way airplane commute of two or more legs. A Between-Groups ANOVA indicated that commuting the day before a trip begins and commuting the day after a trip ends (un- commutable trip) produces a less satisfied pilot compared to trips that are commutable at the beginning, end or both ends.
Kleinfehn, Andrew David, "Regional Airline Pilot Commute: How Commuting by Air Affects Pilots' Satisfaction with Life" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 379.