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!

Best,

Jeff


(Tory) #2

Jeffery,

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.

Tory


#3

Jeff,

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

Adam


#4

Jeff,

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.

Chris


#5

https://www.envoyair.com/2018/07/02/atp-joins-envoy-cadet-program/


(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.

Best,

Jeff


(Alex Rasmussen) #7

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

Thanks


#8

Jeffrey,

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.

Chris


#9

Jeffrey,

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

Thanks,

Chris


(Jeffrey) #10

Hi Chris,

My apologies for the delayed reply. Thank you for the ATP cost info. I believe the interest rate for a variable rate loan on the Discover offer was tied to the LIBOR rate + a standard rate which equaled to around 7.2% APR. The fixed rate was an 8.9%. No co-signer was required on the loan. I have not seen rates that low published via ATP’s financial partners. I have excellent credit (high 700’s) and even with a cosigner my rate was still over 8.9% on a variable rate loan. Maybe it depends on location in the US. Again, thank you for researching all the information!

Best,

Jeff


(Jeffrey) #11

Hello Alex,

I received my offer for B6 toward the end of November. However, I think for flexibility and cost I will most likely be going with ATP or the AA Cadet Academy.

Best,

Jeff


(Dan ) #12

Hello all,

I have recently been accepted to the JetBlue Gateway Select school and have been wracking my head trying to decide to do it or not. I have done an onsite interview in New York, plenty of exams, and not to mentioned spent some money for said exams and travel. So I have some invested into this already.
I have been posting around to see if anyone IS or knows of someone in the program at the moment. I have talked to one cadet there through a mutual friend and he hasn’t given me the best picture of what the program is like. He seems to be having a tough go of it since the program is difficult. I would like to see if anyone on here could give me a second opinion!

Best,

Dan


#13

Dan,

Possibly some others with experience will chime in and when the program was first introduced we discussed it at length (you can search some old threads). JetBlue is a fine airline. I know many of their pilots. All are pretty happy and many will stay there for life. That said this is a new program they created and they’re not actually doing the training. Further it’s expensive and the end result is a job at JB but I believe you could complete the flight training faster elsewhere, get to a Regional faster and still end at JB if that’s the goal.

That said if the only complaint you’re hearing is that “it’s difficult” then I’d say that’s a pretty good review. There are flight programs that are poorly structured, disorganized and use bad equipment etc, But difficult? Not sure why it is but there seems to be this impression or idea going around that everyone with the money and desire can be a pilot. No flying isn’t rocket science but it does require a certain level of intelligence, coordination and DEFINITELY a tremendous amount of work. The fact is not everyone is successful and people do wash out. Whether you train with JetBlue, locally or with ATP, flight training is difficult.

Adam


(Dan ) #14

Adam,

Thanks for the quick response! From what I learned at the interviews is that the flight training is as follows: 56 weeks training, 1.5-2 yrs flight instructing to get your 1500 hrs, then FO for JetBlue. However, you don’t actually need to fly for JetBlue you can take your experience and training somewhere else from what they told me. From reading other forums it seems to get a bad rep for “skipping the line” and not going to a Regional first. I guess my biggest concern is it actually a big deal to not go to the Regional Airlines like everyone makes it seem?

Best,

Dan


#15

Dan,

Nobody cares if you go to a Regional or not but if you think you’re going to get trained, build 1500hrs and then go to Delta or United you need to know that’s not going to happen. Pilots as a rule don’t like shortcuts, particularly if they didn’t get any. The advantage of the JB program is that it allows you to go straight to JB with only 1500hrs which the average flight instructor can’t do. I’m am sure you would find yourself flying with some JB Capts who are used to flying with FOs who were Regional Capts and therefore possess far greater skills. I can see those Capts being a little gruff but that’s their problem.

Long short of your goal is JB then sure why not but if you’re thinking of doing the JB program and then going to some other Major, without going to Regional, that’s not going to happen

Adam