Balancing Family and Flight School

Hi Everyone! I’m considering a career change and enrolling at ATP. I’m married and have three young kids. One of my biggest concerns is the strain it will cause on my relationship with my wife and kids.

For those that went through ATP with families, how did it impact your relationships?

In addition, what was the impact on your family when you got to the regionals?


This is one of the most common and popular subjects in this forum. I would encourage you to search and read through the countless threads there are on the subject.

Short answer is it will definitely require sacrifice on not just your part, but on your family’s as well. During training your family will need to take a backseat or you could very well be unsuccessful. Once you’re hired at a Regional you’ll have no seniority and little control over you schedule. That’ll mean missed birthdays, anniversaries, little games etc etc etc.

Bottomline is if you’ve got a strong and supportive relationship you’ll be fine, if you don’t it could very well result in AIDS (Airline Induced Divorce Syndrome).


Thank you, Adam!


I did not have a family when I went through ATP, but I have been around long enough to see how it can affect families. The most important thing is to make sure that your spouse and children are firmly on board with your decision and know that you will essentially be checking out for seven months. Your wife will be a single mother for those seven months. Beyond that, she will have to be able to hold down the fort when you are gone for long periods of time in the airlines. Training takes several months and even just a normal schedule means a fair amount of time on the road. I strongly suggest looking at our schedules section with your wife and having a discussion as to whether or not she is really onboard with your decision.


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Flight training is tough. It’s 7 months fully devoted to training with little time for anything else. Once you complete that, it’s no cake walk building time. If you instruct for ATP, you’ll be given students with the same regimented timeline you had and tasked to get everything done safely and on time. Once you make it to the regionals, you’ll feel like you made it but really, you’re just starting a new challenge: three months of initial training, kicked out to reserve life and eventually a junior line holder with a bad schedule.

I don’t say all this to deter you from pursuing this career. I just want you (and your wife) to have realistic expectations on what the next few years of your life will look like. It’s tough. You have little free time, lots of stress, are stretched financially and have little control over your schedule. However, it’s temporary. You can get through it with the support of your family if they are onboard. It’s a time of sacrifice with the vision that it will pay off. And it does.