The career of airline pilot isn't what it used to be in the US. It used to be prestigious, respected, and pay ridiculously well. Nowadays, either you spend 10 years flying for the military, or you starve for up to 10 years flying for the regionals. Then, finally, you get hired by a major airline and start living the good life. (But the pay today is generally less than what it was before 2001, before you even start talking about inflation.) It's not the same level of good deal that it used to be.