Real Answers from Real Pilots

Cost of ATP versus the other

I have been visiting lots of flight schools around the Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware area. Even with some federal funding, I have come to the conclusion that ATP is actually cheaper and better than most of the FBO schools. What got me in lots of the schools is the $55K-65K costs just to reach the minimums. So I am looking to start ATP between January-March 2017. My only question is that ATP says the price is what exactly is quoted. Is that indeed true? Because if it is, they are quite a good deal and a quick time for all the ratings.

With already having a bachelors degree, that price was a bit steep for the minimums

Hello Dan and welcome,

You are absolutely correct. If you do the math ATP is actually quite reasonable. More important, the way the program is set up, you WILL be done within the quoted time frame. Aside from the quality of training, the thing that probably impressed me the most was the guaranteed price was literally the exact price, not a penny more. Honestly I kept waiting for the “by the way…” and it never came. The only additional costs (and it’s clearly stated) are the examiner fees which are paid directly to the examiner.

Adam

Dan,

I payed exactly the price that ATP quoted me, not a penny more. I also finished in exactly the allotted amount of time.

Chris

The quote I had from a few part 141 schools with a college is around $69,500 each. Since I already have a bachelors degree, I thought it was crazy. It did include 25 hours of multiengine time. But the drawback was that it would still take around 1.5- 2 years to complete. They had to include tuition in addition to flight lab fees, and even then, the costs could be even higher. That is just the minimums they quoted. With the cost of ATP housing, the costs is still within $5,000 of one another. So I believe the logical choice is to do ATP since it is much quicker and will allow me to get to the airlines sooner. Hopefully also paying back student loans in addition to the loans of ATP, it would be okay.

Dan,

Wow, this is deja-vue for me, I remember making the exact same decision 13 years ago.

When thinking about loan repayment make sure to keep the Tuition Reimbursement program in mind. That program can be a huge help, especially in the first few years. Also, and I am not speaking as an expert here, I believe that your college loan payment will be contingent on your amount of income, which should really help.

It is a lot to bight off, but it can really be worth it in the end. Not only is it a career that can be fun and exciting, once you get to the majors it can be rather financially rewarding.

Chris

What is the difference between the majors and the legacy carriers? It seems a bit odd some are considered majors while others are legacy.

Hey Dan,

It is odd. By definition a Legacy is an airline that existed in the US prior to the Deregulation Act of 1978, but it generally refers to the BIG US Majors who fly worldwide (American, Delta, and United). That said I fly for Hawaiian which is actually one of the oldest airlines in the US and we fly worldwide as well. By definition we are a Legacy carrier but we often get “left out” due to our size vs the others. I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in the label.

Adam

Dan,

Legal definitions aside, in practicality legacy carriers are the old, well established airlines. American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United come to mind. A major airline is one that flies under its own brand name, this includes the above mentioned airlines, plus airlines like Jetblue and Southwest.

Even though some regionals meet the technical definition of a major they are generally not considered to be so as they do not fly under their own names (Republic, ExpressJet, Envoy, etc).

Chris

I am scheduling a visit to ATP Trenton. That should happen within a few weeks. Any pointers I need to know before making my visit to ATP?

Not really any pointers, but take a look in my “Flying the Line” section for a post called “Questions For Any Prospective Flight School”. It is a good listen of questions that you can ask to get a feel for if the school is right for you. Make sure to take a pen so you can write down the answers.

BTW, Trenton is Adam’s old stomping ground.

You had many of the same questions I have. But a few questions you had were stuff I never thought of. I plan on using these questions when visiting Trenton.

Since Chris said you went to Trenton, are there any good pointers visiting Trenton specifically?

Dan,

Go hungry, there’s a great pizzeria right behind the airport :slight_smile:

Adam

your tempting me with food Adam. That’s rough! Don’t want to cave for that.

It’s the BEST reason to cave! :slight_smile:

All kidding aside TTN is a fantastic location to train (and instruct) at. You can zip over to Allentown to practice approaches etc and since it’s 51nm away it gets logged as cross-country. It’s a Class D airport but it’s sandwiched between EWR and PHL so you get LOTS of practice working with ATC. There are a ton of uncontrolled fields close by so you can practice a variety of approaches, holds etc. Snow, t-storms and kicking crosswinds. Serious a great place to hone your skills.

Adam

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I plan on checking Trenton out within two weeks. I’ve done some flights before but would like to see how a flight with ATP is.

Cool, please let us know what you think?

Adam

Sure I plan to schedule my day for Trenton tomorrow. It should be sometime next week. I’ll let you know whether I found it good or bad for my liking. I’m taking the questions Chris created with me to get them answered.

Checking out Trenton November 9. So I’ll let you know how it goes.