Real Answers from Real Pilots

Competitiveness

What exactly makes an applicant more competitive when applying for a MAJOR airline? There is no doubt that nothing is guaranteed, although what can boost someone’s chances for getting an interview or maybe even getting the job itself?

Alex,

Experience, a genuine desire to want to fly for the airline, and community
service. You can do other things like getting involved in the training
department at a regional, but experience is more desired, especially part
121 or 135 turbine PIC experience. If you don’t really want to fly for the
airline you’re interviewing with, the panel will know. Lastly, majors want
to hire good people. Community service is an easy way to show them who you
are.

Tory

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Alex,

As Tory said experience is key. Training dept and union participation is always a good thing. Solid education/degree. Beyond that most Majors rely heavily on recommendations, particularly internal ones. Aside from the fact that just as a person you should always be cordial to EVERYONE, this is a VERY SMALL industry and get yourself a bad rep as someone unpleasant and you could have a very hard time. Conversely get a good reputation, be a team player, be the guy that makes sure the JSers always get on and that will be noted too. I often tell the story that after I got hired at Hawaiian someone fairly high up the food chain approached me and asked if I knew a certain pilot? This was someone from another base I had flown with once a few years prior. Well it turns out they were good friends and he gave me the nod simply because “I was a good guy to fly with”. The moral is you never know how your behavior will effect your future. Kinda like karma :slight_smile:

Adam

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Thank you Tory & Adam. I read the “How to become an Airline pilot” passage on the forum and it helped me out a lot. Currently, I have already flown multiple times. I fly every year almost frequently. I once job shadowed a King Air 350 pilot, and the experience was amazing. I feel that my passion is secured in aviation. I just hope everything goes as planned. I am confident, but at the same time I know I cant be over confident because the road in reality is really difficult.

Alex,

Your plan to stay in school and get your degree before attending ATP is the
best thing you can do right now. I would not advise you to start flight
training until you’ve graduated college. You’re very young and you won’t be
wasting time by postponing flight school until after college.

You don’t have to be a CFI to be in the training department, but most
pilots are. Don’t worry too much about this right now. I appreciate that
you’re trying to set yourself up for success, but this topic is far from
your reach at this point. When you get to a regional, then you can start
investigating how to get into the training dept, if that’s something you
are still interested in.

It sounds like you are doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing at
16, getting good grades and keeping your nose clean.

Tory

Thank you Tory and Adam, it truly helps a lot and I appreciate your responses.

Alex,

The best thing you can do now is simply to do well in high school, get into a reputable college and do well there also. I do recommend getting s non aviation degree and then going to an accelerated flight training program like ATP afterwards. I see very little point in beginning your flight training at such an early age. Right now you really just need to focus on your education.

Chris

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I’ve read a lot on the forum about how it’s best to get a non-aviation degree and thanks to all of you, to me personally, I also believe it would bet the best since I would have a plan B. My current choices are Business or engineering. Thanks again Chris for the response.

Alex,

You’re absolutely right. A career in aviation is not easy. It requires
persistence and sacrifices, but the reward is being able to do what you
love and in the long run the sacrifices will have been worth making.

Tory

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