Mesaba’s pilots agreed to a new contract, putting their salaries and benefits in line with other regional carriers. Amazingly, under the old contract starting pilots were paid as little as $17,000 (less than a taxi driver makes, if you’re keeping track at home). The girl who sold you that cup of coffee before you got on the plane in Thief River Falls was probably better paid. In fact, more than half of the pilots make less than $35,000 annually. And you were worried about underpaid pilots on that Air Botswana flight?