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Pilots Detour Around New York


When a flight lands at one of New York's airports, the pilot usually says over the loudspeaker, "On behalf of your New York-based flight crew, we'd like to thank you for flying with us." But don't assume he lives here. More likely, the crew commutes from homes in the Midwest, the South or upstate cities like Buffalo.

Deterred by the high cost of living and salaries relatively the same as a decade ago, many pilots assigned to New York or New Jersey refuse to relocate.

Senior pilots usually have a say in their placements, so it's often junior pilots who draw the city's airports. Less able to afford New York area real estate--their pay ranges from $37,000 to $70,000--junior pilots feel they have little choice but to commute from cheaper parts of the country.

Pilots endure stress-filled journeys to get to work, and when they hit the same delays that bedevil other travelers, their late arrivals can further disrupt airline schedules.

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