Real Answers from Real Pilots

Attending weddings as an ATP student

Hi, Everyone.

Excited to start ATP in July but a little worried because I will have a few weddings to attend out-of-state during the time I’ll be in training. At least two and maybe three weddings. Is it possible to guarantee a weekend off here and there or will I need to be ready to fly every weekend no matter what? What about once I’m an instructor (should I be so lucky)? Can anyone shed some light in this for me?

I understand ATP is a full-time commitment and that sacrifices must be made, but I didn’t know if there was any leeway for these kinds of life events.

Thanks in advance for your insight.

-Noah

Hi Noah,

Unfortunately, we do not guarantee every weekend off if you are enrolled in the Fast Track Program, so you will want to be prepared to fly. As far as the weddings and specific time off, I would highly recommend putting in those requests on your student extranet once you secure a start date with us. If we see the request early on, we are more likely to be able to accommodate and approve the specific time off.

Hope this helps!

Addison

Noah,

Not sure you do understand ATP is a full time commitment? While they understand people have lives your training really needs to be your top priority. Training is planned out and as Addison said with advanced notice you may be able to block some days. That said if a checkride need to be rescheduled and it’s on the same day as a friend’s wedding, I’d think long and hard about which would be a priority.

Further this won’t end with your training. As a new FO you’ll be missing many many weddings, holidays, and family events. That’s one of the downsides of the job but it is part of the job.

Adam

Thank you both for the replies.

-Noah

Noah,

You will probably be able to get a few weekends off, but I would think that three out of state weddings would be a lot to ask. The program is highly condensed as is and is not meant to accommodate large gaps. Same for being an instructor, you have to fly when the weather is good and quite often, that is on a weekend.

The same will be true for your airline career. In my first few years, I missed many a wedding, holiday, etc. It is just part of the job, but it does get better with time.

Chris

Thank you, Chris.

I did not mean to seem like the kind of person who expects to be able to fly jets for a living without making sacrifices. I will be quitting a career of 10 years to pursue this dream.

It’s a bummer that several of my friends have chosen to get married during a time in my life when I might not have the flexibility to attend, but if I can’t make it then I will accept it. They all know what this means to me and they will understand.

Quick follow-up question. One of the weddings is over Thanksgiving weekend. Am I correct in my understanding that ATP students typically have a break over Thanksgiving? In this particular wedding I’ve actually been asked to officiate, so it’s the one I really need to know if I’ll be able to attend well in advance.

Again, I know that I’ll probably have to fly on a lot of holidays throughout my career, but thankfully I don’t anticipate having to miss too many more weddings. It’s one of the advantages of not having that many friends!

Thanks again, as always, for your responses.

-Noah

Noah,

I did not think that you sounded like that kind of person at all, I just wanted to make sure that you had realistic expectations.

I believe ATP does take several days off for Thanksgiving, but I am not sure. I am sure that Addison will be able to answer this.

Chris

Hi Noah,

ATP students and instructors do get time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You’ll have 4-5 days off for Thanksgiving and about a week and a half off for Christmas!

Addison

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Awesome! Looks like I’ll be able to do the wedding. Thank you, Addison.

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Noah,
As Addison said, you’re covered with time off for the thanksgiving and Christmas holiday that all students are given. Any other time you’re away and unable to train you’d have to submit a time off request. The earlier the better. Plus it’s in your best interest to be ahead of your scheduled pace and successful in the program this far. It’s a time off request, meaning atp has the right to grant or deny your request based on your performance so far. As a former lead, students behind or struggling in the program in any way were rarely granted time off requests because time off is the last thing a struggling student needs. Remember the program is there to get you through as efficiently and successfully as possible.

-Hannah