Real Answers from Real Pilots

Accepted Into United Aviate!

Hello All!

I am currently an ATP instructor at KIWA - Mesa, AZ. I graduated the ATP ACPP program in December 2019, which was about the same time that the United Aviate program was launching. I began instructing with ATP in January 2020 and have absolutely loved every second of it! I have kept a journal of my experiences and things that I have learned along the way.

In the summer of 2020 I applied to the United Aviate program. Due to COVID they were not conducting interviews but WERE accepting applications, as well as offering interview preparation/program information ZOOM meetings which I attended multiple times to help in my preparation for a future interview. Fast Forward to February of 2021 - they resumed interviewing and I was selected to travel to the United Training Center in Denver, CO for an Interview here in April 2021. Due to these ZOOM meetings and my journal of experiences I was thoroughly prepared and I got the good news the following week that I was accepted into the program!

Aviate is not a flow to United - and they will dispute the claim that it’s a flow-through program. Instead Aviate is the most direct route to a job offer with United. You can get clarification with the Aviate recruiting team. I am excited for my future being an Aviate Participant and receiving Mentorship from an Aviate Coach, and will gladly share my journey to United with all of you!



Hi Sean,

Congrats on your acceptance into Aviate! What is the next step for you? Do you have something lined up with one of the Aviate partner regionals?



Thank you for sharing your experiences and congratulations on being accepted into United Aviate!! Hopefully we will get to fly together sometime.

Please keep us up to date on your progress and congrats again!


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Congrats! That’s a big accomplishment! Thank you for sharing with us and we’d love to hear more throughout your journey to come!


Thank you, Sean! Congrats! Sharing any first-hand experiences with the group is greatly appreciated. Happy to hear that you are enjoying your new role at ATP as well!



Welcome to the forums and congrats on the acceptance into United Aviate! Looking forward to hearing about your adventure and journey through their program and to learn more myself.



Thank you very much! Next step for me is to continue building experience to 1,500 hours - and I plan on continuing my instructing with ATP. The partner regionals will begin discussions with me when I report that I am within 6 months of hitting ATP minimums (1,500hrs). Currently I am at 935 and in my estimation just outside the 6 month timeframe - but very close!

The United captain that interviewed me recommended that I study the Instrument Procedures Handbook cover to cover, and the AIM as well looking for the tiny details and ensure that I have full understanding of all the principles - so I will continue to working on that for now!

Thanks for all the congrats @Hannah @Tory @BFries


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Thank you so much! Can’t wait to fly with you someday - it will be an honor! I too look forward to updating everyone on my progress!

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Congrats and kudos Sean!

More so thank you for the info. There’s been many questions on the Aviate program, the process and what it is and what it isn’t. Your info definitely helps and is appreciated.


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Hey Sean. Just wanted to mention, I will be applying to Aviate in the next few months. I’m currently pursuing a bachelors degree with Embry Riddle. I’m not going to have the degree by the time I get to the interview, But I can still apply with the minimum requirements.

How would you think? Would I still have a chance at passing the interview without a bachelors, as long as I continue pursuing it before my transition into United?


Congratulations on completing the Airline Career Pilot Program and being accepted into United Aviate! There are many questions on this forum about the process of applying, so any insights that you may have are certainly welcomed and appreciated.


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Thank you very much! While a college degree is not required to apply, it will certainly help in being selected for the in-person interviews. The bachelors degree is a qualification that will help you stand out, but after you are selected for the interview it won’t be a major factor after that point. I think if you are a college student in a flight program like Embry Riddle you will be in a good position to be selected. I know Aviate has partnerships with Embry Riddle, and UND and many other college flight programs. Once you are selected for the in-person interviews they will be looking at the quality of your responses and performance in the 2 interviews. Behavioral panel interview and Technical interview.

To prepare for the behavioral interview I would recommend keeping a journal of your flight experiences and anytime something unusual happens, something unexpected, or if you make a mistake - be sure to write a paragraph of what happened in your journal and what you learned from the experience. These can be an unlimited number of things like weather, maintenance, ATC delays, traffic, parachuters, your student getting sick/tired, etc. - keep a journal. In this Behaorial interview you’ll be asked questions like “Tell me about a time when…” - you made a mistake, when something unexpected happened, when you received criticism from a superior etc. So having a handful of these experiences ready to tell will really help you answer these difficult interview questions. The format for answering behavioral questions is the STAR format - Situation, Task, Action, and Results - read this article -How to Use the STAR Method to Ace Your Job Interview | The Muse.
Take your experiences from your journal and format those stories into the STAR method - practice with a friend, and have about 5-10 ready to present to answer any potential question they may ask.
I would recommend this for any future interview you do for any job that you are applying to.

The technical interview will be tailored to your level of aviation experience. AVIATE conducts interviews at the Pilot Pilot experience level all the way to Regional Airline Pilot level. Since I am a CFI it was conducted at the Commercial Pilot level of experience. This was similar to an oral portion of a checkride but a little more laid back. The key here is to apply Risk Management and Mitigation (be familiar with the FAA Risk Management Handbook). There were some additional preparation that I had to do (confidential information), but it was not difficult.

Some valuable advice that was given to me a few years ago was - “Think about what major airline you want to work for, then pursue it aggressively”. So if you want to one day work for United - this is the most direct path. Don’t necessarily concern yourself with which regional or which aircraft you want to fly because those are temporary, instead think about the end game.


Congrats Sean! I look forward to hearing about your experience with United!!! Congrats on following your dreams!

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Sean, you are awesome. I am passionate as well to fly for United Airlines. Especially with this pandemic recovery and we are at the bottom of the bell curve. Good to get as much seniority as you can.

I really appreciate this man. This does answer a lot of questions for me.

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congrats Sean!

I’m currently a junior in high school so I’ve got a long way to go until getting where you’re at and I just heard about the United aviate program a few weeks ago and if you don’t mind, I need some advice about qualifications and such.
Even though you didn’t do this personally, do you recommend starting with the zero experience program at united aviate or go somewhere else then come back? Also I’m assuming you already joined with a bachelor’s degree (which I’m planning on getting before starting flight training) however I was wondering if maybe it would be a good idea to start applying for united aviate like halfway through college or after I get my bachelor’s degree (assuming united aviate is still going strong 5 years in the future)?
Also, my mother is a United employee and I was wondering if there was a benefit for children of United employees?

Thanks so much for your time,
Cristina :slight_smile:

Hey Cristina,

I can chime in on this one since I’m currently a week away from finishing my bachelor’s degree and secured an interview slot at Aviate in late May. I’ve gotten all my ratings while in high school/college and would recommend that you finish high school and get the degree to have them both out of the way. Going to the Aviate academy might slow your process as it is still new and nobody knows how long the training lasts there compared to ATP. Now if you do the Aviate Academy training (keep in mind that several thousands of people are applying with limited slots to fill). I would recommend what most mentors on this forum would recommend, College —> ATP then while at ATP or while instructing at ATP apply for Aviate since ATP is a partner. I would recommend getting some experience in aviation before applying with just your private as I was talking to one of the Aviate administrators and he said it’s best to apply when you are ready and to not be in a complete hurry because this could be the biggest interview of your life. Right now just focus on school, then getting those ratings, then applying (this is just how I would go about it). The Aviate program should be more developed by the time you are ready to apply, and seeing that they are putting a lot of focus on diversity this should definitely work on your side. If you have any other questions for me about the process let me know, as I interview very soon.

-Derek Lanier

And yes, to answer the second question there is a United Aviate Family Affiliate program. My dad is a retired Captain, and my mom is still currently a flight attendant (I like to think if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have a way to get into the Aviate program). You can also look into that route as well.

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