top of page

Member Spotlight: A Day In The Life with Kate Benhoff

We LOVE sharing more about our members...not just what they do inside the gym, but what they do outside of the gym! We asked Kate if she would share "A Day In The Life" with us because she's a pilot and we just had to know more about a typical day/week!

I like to joke that I "fell" into flying at 19. No one in my family is in aviation. I went to college for physics, didn't like it, and then swapped over to the aviation program. I immediately fell in love with it and I've been doing it ever since! After college I worked at St. Louis University as a flight instructor to build flight hours. I left flying for about 4 years and took a non-flying job at the NTSB as an aircraft accident investigator. Eventually I began my airline career in 2020 at PSA Airlines (a regional airline owned by American Airlines) out in Philadelphia where my husband and I lived. Now I'm at United flying the Boeing 737! I live in STL but I commute to Chicago when I have trips.

United airplane getting deiced in Newark, NJ

I average about 15-18 days off for the month. Most trips are 3-4 days in length. Since I commute, I try to only pick up 4 day trips and maybe a 3 day trip or so. I do my best to bid for trips that start late/end early so I can commute easier too.

Most trips are all over the place. The 737 is mostly domestic with some international sprinkled in (think Canada, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean). Each base does more of some flying than others, but Chicago has a healthy mix of all of it so it keeps the flying interesting!

When beginning a trip, I'm usually meeting the Captain and flight attendants for the first time only an hour or so before the flight leaves. The Captain and I review the flight release, go over weather, any maintenance items (rarely anything of note), do the walkaround preflight, and brief the departure. Then we do our preflight checks in the flight deck by checking the panels and switches so they're in the configuration I want for takeoff. Then we head out and do the flight! Once done, it's on to the next leg and it starts all over again. Most days are an average of 1-3 legs per day. United is such a large airline that I've only flown with the same Captain twice so far though.

Inside the wheel well looking at all of the hydraulic lines and wiring

It is wild to think that I have this job sometimes. I worked really hard to get here, but sometimes this job feels unreal. It can obviously be frustrating because it is work, but most days are great and it doesn't feel like I'm working. I get to look out of a window all day and see new cities. The days can be either really short (4-5 hours total) or really long (12-13+ hour days). But the flying is very fun and always a new challenge, while also somehow remaining the same. It can be interesting flying with new people all the time too. You're constantly meeting all sorts of folks with insane backgrounds. 

I feel very fortunate to have this job. It provides immense flexibility and allows my husband and I to constantly travel. Once my seniority grows, I'd like to try the widebody flying or possibly upgrade to Captain on the 737. Everything in the airlines is based on seniority. The better flying and schedules will always go senior. I'm sitting at a decent spot as a First Officer on the 737 in Chicago right now and my schedule will only continue to get better... until I upgrade, swap airplanes, or switch bases. Then I might be at the bottom of that list all over again. The widebody flying is usually better pay and offers more schedule flexibility, including lots of new international destinations (Europe/Asia). It's all very exciting!

Kate, her husband (who works at Boeing and is also a pilot) and cousin in their

airplane (1952 Piper Pacer - "small" general aviation airplane).

Thank you Kate for taking the time to share this with us! It was so cool to learn about how you became a pilot and about your average day/week! And, as always, it's very inspiring to see someone go for it and do something they love!

110 views0 comments


bottom of page