Losing an airline pilot job

Losing an airline pilot job – Financial Struggles & Freedom

It is expensive to become an airline pilot but for some reason everyone thinks it takes pilots only a couple of years to pay back a pilot loan. Nothing is further from the truth as it takes the average pilot at least 20 years to pay back his or her pilot loan. A lot can happen during those 20 years! Losing an airline pilot job is one of the biggest causes to get into financial problems. So don’t let your future depend on a company that could be profiting today and bankrupt tomorrow.

In this article I will tell you more about why financial freedom is important, how to create financial freedom and the mistakes I made along the way.

Rather watch a video? I recently created the video below which covers everything you’ll find in this article!

Losing an airline pilot job

Take a moment to imagine yourself in a situation where you enjoy financial freedom. What would your dream life look like? Would you be flying in the Maldives or flying 4 sectors a day? Would you be supporting companies that help change the world long after you are gone? 

It’s important to be conscious about it as most people are so caught up in this rat race called society, that they have never really thought about it for more than a second. 

So let’s say your absolute dream life consists mainly of flying planes. What would happen if, for whatever reason you can’t do that anymore? 

When the economy is taking a hit, owners of business jets are the first to sell their aircraft. The pilots flying on those jets will lose their jobs overnight. The same can count for airlines with too many pilots. Look at the situation we are in now, pilots that thought their jobs were secure now realize they never really were.

This situation might force them to move to the other side of the world in order to work and be able to pay their bills. Working on the other side of the world is great when it’s because you want to, but not when its because you have no other choice. Obviously this doesn’t apply for all pilots but if you do end up in a situation where you lose your income as a pilot, you would do well to have a solid backup! 

Unfortunately, most pilots don’t have a back up and realize this when it’s too late. A solid backup is also a way to accelerate repayment of the pilot loan.  

Enough said about why, let’s talk about how. 

Nowadays there are more self made millionaires than ever! This is because we are living in an information age in which anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can achieve financial freedom. Most successful people on this planet have at least 5 different sources of income so the goal should always be to create multiple income streams.

Let’s discuss a couple of opportunities that I’ve come across during my career so far. That way you can learn some exciting possibilities, learn from my mistakes and become motivated to move your ass!

Side Business

A side business enables you to become financially independent and it is something you can do alongside your aviation career! 

There are a couple of things you should know so I’ve created some steps to get you started.

Step 1: Believe in yourself and be authentic. If you believe you can build a successful business, you will. But the opposite is also true. 

Step 2: What is something you are extremely interested in, good at or like doing? Take a moment to really think about this. Let your mind run freely and write down all of your ideas in a mind map. This will create a clear overview of all of your opportunities. 

For example, I like writing, I like creating and I like to help people like yourself about things that I’ve dealt with. I have experience with aviation so this is what I talk about.

Step 3: Now that you have a clear image of what you are good at or like doing, simply Google, ‘how to make money online’ and start expanding your horizon. 

There are people who are not even half as smart as you are while they are still able to build a multi million dollar business. Motivation, perseverance, learning from mistakes and getting back up again is what made them succeed. If you do the same, it’s just a matter of time before financial freedom knocks on your door. 

And remember, it’s ok to make mistakes. I made the mistake back in 2014 to start a YouTube Channel focused on make up. I thought it was going to be easy but I wasn’t motivated enough and thus never made a single make up related video.

However, it did spark an interest to create aviation videos later on. So you could say that it’s important to just start and see where it takes you. 

Step 4: Take an idea from your mind map and think about what a possible side business would look like in your case. 

Providing a service, focussed on social media, e-commerce or affiliate marketing. The options are endless. 

Step 5: Build your business around it. Think about a name for your business, register the domain name & accounts on social media platforms and last but not least, create a website. 

Remember, building a side business requires motivation, perseverance and long term dedication. Only then will you be able to build something that’s solid enough to serve as a backup.

Ideally you want to create something where your presence is not really needed in the long run. If you create a product or service that can be purchased online, it will sell, whether you are flying or enjoying your off days. But designing handcrafted jewelry or providing one on one coaching is far more time consuming, unless you hire people to do the tasks for you. So keep this in mind when you think about starting a side business yourself. 

If you are able to launch a successful business you can always decide to sell it when you need some additional money to make ends meet. The skills and knowledge you’ve acquired to build your business can not be taken away from you which is why it’s one of the best investments of your life. 

You sold your business today? Tomorrow you’re able to start a new one.  


Now that we’ve talked about side businesses, there are other ways to create financial freedom. Investing in stocks and real estate for example.

I am investing in Exchange Traded Funds also known as ETF’s and I am planning to continue to do so on a monthly basis. It takes almost no effort which is why I consider it to be passive income which grows slowly over time due to compound interest. 

It’s important to get rid of your debts before you start to invest though. Especially if the interest rate on your debt is high. 

Second Job

If creating a business and investing isn’t something you are interested in, you can always consider working part time as a pilot and taking on another job. 

I’ve come across pilots that also work as a dentist or lawyer and some even drive a bus. They were all extremely happy with their jobs and loved the fact that they are able to combine them. 

Besides the financial freedom, I definitely didn’t want to be in constant debt due to my pilot loan + interest which takes forever to repay. 

Everyone thinks that as an airline pilot, it’s easy to pay back your pilot loan of 150.000,- euro. The truth is that most pilots spend 20 years to pay back that loan. A road I wasn’t willing to take. 

My side business gave me the financial freedom I was looking for. Not the pilot job and you can do exactly the same or do even better.

Coming back to the question, what would you be doing if you had full financial freedom? If that is still flying planes, then great! But if for whatever reason you can’t do that anymore, then what else?

Are you currently running a side business? I’d love to hear more about it so make sure to leave a comment below! 

I hope to have inspired you to take action and start a side hustle. Even if I just planted a little seed inside your head and you’ll start years and years later. Don’t let your future or financial independence depend on the company you work for. And remember, your health should always be your number one priority 😉

Losing an airline pilot job is never easy, wan’t to know more it? In that case you’ll want to check out this video.

All the best! – Michelle

10 thoughts on “Losing an airline pilot job – Financial Struggles & Freedom

  1. On the other hand, with the freedom of not being tied to a specific job, you may have the opportunity to explore new career paths, travel or start a new business. It’s important to stay open-minded and be proactive in your job search. Networking with other professionals in your field, volunteering or taking additional training or education can all help increase your chances of finding new employment. Remember to take care of yourself both physically and mentally during this transition period, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help or support if you need it. 💕

    1. I’d like to learn to fly planes,simply just because I want to….Picture yourself how calm centred and focused that you need to be when your on final approach,you’ve got a nasty crosswind ,but you need to stay calm and keep that centreline …I have been Practising Osho meditation techniques since 1987 or so…I have trained in Indian Classical Flute and singing….I love learning new skills,like now I am learning to speak Hindi,I already know Hindi Alphabet almost by heart ,Also I’m learning Punjabi Urdu,Arabic and Hebrew Alphabets with a view to later speaking those languages ….So really what attracts me to learning to fly is the aspect of having to be completely centred the whole time….And with a view to that I have a friend with a chemistry degree who is helping me to learn Algebra and Physics,also Trigonometry ….I have read your comments about having an online side buisiness and have lately been thinking almost exactly the same thing that how to make the money to learn to fly… It will be more about having achieved something great for me,I’m not so concerned about the financial gain…My father gained a Degree in law and a masters at law later in his life,and one of the most important things that have stayed with me before he left this earth in 2020 was “you must make your mark in this world ” I would like to help others at some point ,maybe soon I will be giving Indian Classical Flute lessons to someone ,so anyway if I can get financially free,my idea is to own my own small jet and go on adventures flying and have some paying passengers…I love travelling ,and I’ve been travelling as a street Musician,jamming blues in bars in Soho London,and Los Angeles ,Arizona,new Mexico ,New York since 1990,so that’s a bit of my story and when I’ve sorted out a few bits in terms of a new phone number and my bank card then I’m looking forward to start studying with your courses online…..Inequalities in Algebra is doing my head in at the moment,but I’ll get it soon..

  2. In the late 1980’s, 1100 Aussie pilots quit their jobs. One of my friends was one of them and he went to Holland with his family after landing a job with KLM. Although I was born in Holland, I was an Aussie citizen, just short of gaining my Aussie airline pilot licence. If I had kept my Dutch citizenship (at age 12, when I became Aussie) I could’ve joined KLM. After flying in New Guinea, I came back to Australia and eventually left aviation. Do I feel sad? No, I’ve had a great life since! Oh, my Aussie friend? He and his whole family can speak better Dutch than I can! 🙂

  3. Great topic and one very much actual. I appreciate the advice given about finding another business, another source of income, and in parallel, investing in Exchange Traded Funds as a passive income which grows slowly over time due to compound interest. It is also very important, as you mentioned, to be debt-free before starting any sort of investment. I didn’t know it takes 20 years to get rid of the pilot debt, but I guess becoming a pilot on a gyroplane (just for the fun of it) will not cost me as much as becoming a commercial pilot.

    Thanks for the great post!

  4. Michelle I just started following and wanted you to know I loved the video. Please do more!

  5. Hello,
    I heard that you studied at CAE. I am currently taking my ATPL courses at CAE Gatwick, so do you think that it is still as good as it was?

  6. Hi
    I’m only 12 but I’m dedicating my life to be an airline pilot. At the minute I have no clue about how I will receive all of the qualifications etc but ive started to learn the controls of small planes via simulators. Id really appreciate some support on what to focus on at my young age

  7. Hi Michelle, I enjoy your video’s and your main line of work is what I wanted to do at one time. Certain circumstances made it clear that it would be a difficult road to travel. That said it is still very enjoyable to watch your video’s as the music and the subtle icons and alerts pop up informing the viewer what’s taking place. I hope professional pilot is what you always will be and I wish you all the success in your other endeavors. You hold a believability and charm that makes people glad to listen to you, If ever you bring about DUTCH PILOT GIRL AIRLINES I definitely would look to fly on your airline.

  8. Hi Michelle. Really liked this video. I have shown it to one of my grandchildren who is currently trying to establish her career path. I don’t think she wants to become a pilot but your video gives her inspiration and inspires her to “look outside the box” in thinking of her future. Keep giving us these marvellous videos and keep flying. Thank you.

  9. Hello Michelle How do ou do ? Thank You very much for your informative column. Let me tell You ; I do side job as an Authorised writer and Poet in my city’s Culture & Art Magazine.

Leave a comment, I appreciate it and will reply as soon as possible:)