Real Answers from Real Pilots

AA Cadet Academy or JetBlue Gateway Select

(Jeffrey) #1

Hello All,

I have been a long time follower of this forum and finally decided to jump in with my first post. I worked ground operations for a couple years at a major airline and then went to be an Analyst at a private firm. Since I was young my dream has been to fly but I never had the funding to be able to pursue flight school.

I applied and was accepted to both the AA Cadet Program and JetBlue gateway select because of the good financing options with deferral periods until you are a CFI.

I am trying to decide which route makes the most sense from an economic standpoint. I appreciate and welcome all opinions between the two programs. The Jetblue program is 110,000 dollars (includes housing and 100 dollar per week meal stipend) with a 6-month deferral period on the loan after you become a CFI.

The AA program gives many options of different flight schools (American Flyers, CAE in Mesa, and CTI in Memphis) with a loan up to 100,000 dollars and a 42 month deferment period on the loan. Each school has a different price and I will be relocating to any location regardless (Ranging from 72k-90k).

My question to ya’ll currently in the field is which makes the most sense financially? I know the JetBlue route has me worried about how someone going straight from instructing to JBlue will be received. However, I know JetBlue is currently a healthy company but anything in this industry can change very quickly. I like how in the AA route I can start receiving benefits with an AA regional (If I choose to sign a contract with those carriers) while instructing and still have the flexibility to not just pursue AA if another regional makes more sense. I am currently 25 and already have my class 1 medical I was just curious to get outside input on these program options. Thank you in advance!



(Tory) #2


Without even considering the finances, I would avoid the JetBlue program, at least until they can prove that their program is successful. An article in USA Today came out last year about their first round of students. Only 25% of the students completed their PPL through the program. Of those, it is unknown how many actually completed the full program.




I’m with Tory. JB is expensive, restrictive and unproven. Options in an industry that changes daily are always a good thing.




Regardless of which way you go, I would stay away from JetBlue. I know plenty of pilots that have left there to come work at my airline, JB has a long way to go in regards to their contract.

Have you looked into the Envoy Cadet program with ATP? It gives you the same benefits as the AA cadet program, but allows you to attend ATP, a school with a far better track record than the ones AA has partnered with.



(Jeffrey) #6

Hello everyone,

Thank you so much for the kind responses. Tory and Adam the thought that the Jblue cadets from the first class in 2016 have not hit the line yet is a concern to me and the prospect of what if there is a downturn, Jetblue get’s bought etc…

Chris thank you for the envoy information. I have looked into their program but the pro of the AA cadet program over ATP is the financing for AA cadet is a lower interest rate and offers a deferral period on repayments until after you are finished instructing to the 1,500 hours. Which is why I am still leaning on the AA cadet program but thank you again for the information.



(Alex Rasmussen) #7

Jeff when did you find out you were accepted to the JetBlue program? @Oceanblue22




We get a lot of questions about financing, so I called into the office today to ask for specifics on what loan programs are available to ATP students, specifically I was interested in how long a student can defer a loan payment for while they are instructing. The following is what I learned:

Wells Fargo offers a loan deferral for instructors until they reach 1500 hours (up to a max of 48 months, excluding the 6-month post-graduation grace period) and interest rates start at 4.81%. This program is called “Internship Forbearance”, contact Wells Fargo for more information.

Sallie Mae rates start at 4.37% and they offer an interest-only payment (for up to 24 months) while instructing for ATP. ATP projects 18-24 months of instructing at ATP in order to reach 1500 hours, so either program should carry a student to day one of being at an airline.

As always, contact your financial advisor for guidance and the lending institutions themselves for more on the various loan programs. Of course ATP’s financing department is also happy to help answer questions.




I am curious, is your financing for the AA program through Discover? What is the interest rate?