Advice on Pathways

Hey all. Been a minute, but my Admissions Flight at CRQ was phenomenal and I am all set to begin December 5th. Getting ready to take my PAR test as well in a week!

I have been really focusing on the pathway I want to tackle as lots of these Cadet programs start after getting my PPL. However, I see so much negativity surrounding Cadet programs and Pathways to airlines, specifically American. To me, this is my dream to just fly; so down the line, will I regret a pathway contract? To be honest, I don’t think I will.

Most of the seniors in my life have flown with and still for American and I have always grown up around AA. Naturally I am being drawn to Envoy or PSA. Yet, I want clarification and better advice than just the Facebook comments on why PSA and Envoy are a joke or the new “industry leading pay” is just a bluff. I have spent hours researching both regionals and I really can not find why a majority of people are saying “don’t do it.”

What American seems to offer as a whole regarding longevity bonuses, cadet positions and as company has me at peace. Yet, I want to hear all yours advice.

What do you think?




I think if you’re starting in Dec you should be working on your FAA written exams and the other prerequisite materials from ATP and not “really focusing on the pathways”. While some permit you to enroll right after your PPL, you don’t have to. There’s plenty of time to weigh your options as far as the pathways go.

Learning to actually fly an airplane and doing well in training is FAR more important than trying to decide which color epaulets you want to wear at this stage. Know why? Because if you don’t it won’t matter.


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Thanks for the advice! Not meaning to sound like I wasn’t focused or “cared”! Finished the pre-reqs for ATP a couple weeks ago despite still being AD military day in and out with two kiddos too haha!

Now just super focused and engraining as much as I can before my test and start date. Just needed to clear my head of that question as it keeps popping up.


I once was caught in the moment of “where do I want to go” when I was in my instrument training, and I realized I needed to step back and focus on the present. A lot can change from now until you complete your training and the last thing you want is to be blind-sided by the pathways right now. Even though I don’t see things going south, but who knows - a new pandemic could come out any day just like it did years ago, and lives were changed for many. You have a written to tackle and score well on and that should be the focus alongside of day 1 material. Make sure you have completed the ATP Orientation modules before your start date, in order to get an endorsement from Training Support or an instructor, they will require those and practice test scores.

After you complete your PAR, it sounds like you have plenty of time and enthusiasm that you could complete a few more writtens which would really benefit you in the long run; even though that isn’t required, we recommend if you have time to complete as many as feasible.

None of the mentors fly for either Envoy or PSA nor American so you won’t get ‘insider’ information if that is what you’re seeking. Media always deters our minds to thinking what they want to produce, it sounds like you have better resources such as your seniors in your life to give more detail about those airline specifics. Another source of information is AirlinePilotCentral: Home | which is updated from current staff.


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Including the FAA Writtens? While not required, it’s highly recommended you do.


My PAR exam is scheduled for this coming Monday (10th). Depending on workload and moving back to California (in Idaho) I have a goal to get through IRA and CAX.


Everyone will have an opinion about which airlines are worth or not worth considering, but at the end of the day the only opinion that matters is yours. If you think a pathways to American is the right fit for you then stay true to yourself.



I grew up in the US Airways system, so I always envisioned myself going there. I ended up going to Continental instead and it was one of the best things that could have possibly happened to me. DO not let yourself get locked into AA just because your family was associated with them, make your own path that works best for you.

I would not be remotely focused on pathway programs right now. While they encourage you to sign up at the PPL stage, there is really no reason at all to do so. Focus on your writtens and then your flight training. I would not even consider the pathways until you are approaching 500 hours.


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Keep your options open until you finish the program. One, because you need to just focus on your training. And two, because your mind might change a few times. Talk to other instructors, do some research on your own and just think about all your options. Then when you’ve successfully completed the program and finished Indoc, take care of your students (first and foremost) and the. you can start thinking about the best pathway program and start applying.