36 too old to start and be hired by a major?

First off, thanks to Chris for the email invitation to these very helpful discussions! I see that there are several questions about age and a fruitful pilot career but since everyone’s situation is different, I thought it would be easier to post mine here as I would certainly appreciate any input, suggestions, or advice.

I’m turning 36 this year and am enjoying a successful career in international education. I have a degree in languages and didn’t know I could fly until I met my first ever female pilot last year.

I guess my question is simple: If I start my training this summer, what are the chances of getting hired by a major airline in my lifetime and what could the timeline look like? Like many aspiring pilots here, it’s a great dream, but since the investments are quite high, it would help to know what the potential return may be besides money spent to achieve a dream?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Nicki,

The short answer is you are not too old to start training. You have a good chance of making it to a Major airline, assuming all goes well before you get to that level. Spend some time reading the posts in the FAQ section. The answer to your question about age, as well as many other common topics, can be found there. https://airlinepilot.life/c/Ask-your-questions-and-get-real-answers-from-real-pilots/frequently-asked-questions


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As Tory said I strongly suggest you spend a few minutes browsing the forum as your situation really isn’t that unique at all. At 36 you’re far from too old but you do need to get cracking. Now is perhaps the best time in history to begin a career in aviation. The Regionals are hiring like crazy and as long as your record is clean and you do well in training you will get hired. That said the Majors are still very competitive. What that means is your guess is as good as mine when/IF you’ll get hired by a Major. I know pilots who got in anywhere from 2-12yrs at a Regional (6-7 is probably the norm) to never. If you want to fly and have a very nice career getting paid to do something you enjoy then by all means go for it. Chances are again as long as you don’t have any training issues or blemishes on your record you will make it to a Major but know there are no guarantees.


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Thanks so much Troy and Adam for your replies! Looking into all of it now.

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