Career at Southwest Airlines

Hi everyone,

I am curious about a pathway to Southwest Airlines as an up and coming pilot. I know a lot of majors partner with regional airlines that are flow through to the majors themselves but I haven’t seen much about a flow through to Southwest? Have I overlooked a pathway? Is there one? If so what is the best path? Thank you for the help in advance!


Not that I know of, but as far as I know there is no such thing as “best.” Flows and Pathway programs are not a for sure thing. Never were. The best thing to focus on is your flight training. Don’t fail any check rides. Aim to score high on the written tests. When it comes time to choosing an airline, it usually boils down to the one that hires you or the ones with bases either nearest you or close enough. Personal preference.


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This is a new pathway to southwest that came out sometime last year. It’s the only one I’m aware of…



Thank you Tory for the valuable information. I appreciate the response!

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Thank you Marcus for the link. I will definitely check it out. I’ve heard great things about flying for Southwest!

Hi Isaac,

I am currently a pilot for Southwest Airlines. As Marcus pointed out, we do have a new program that is a flow setup to get to SWA in 4-5 years (Destination 225). It is extremely competitive and there are many pathways within that program. Direct civilian start (assuming you have a 4 year degree), university pathways, military, internal employees. At the moment we do not partner with any regionals, although we do tend to hire a significantly high amount from SkyWest. Let me know if you have any specific questions.



Hi Jordan,

Thank you for reaching out with your response. I currently do hold a bachelors degree from Indiana University. I have no prior flight experience or hours logged and would be starting from zero time. The direct civilian start would probably be the program I would qualify for. What are the requirements for the direct civilian start program? Thanks again for the help.

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Do you know if the program has been affected by COVID at all? It doesn’t say anything on that webpage

Hi there!

I got accepted into the program last month. The program is still open and taking applications. My interviews were delayed from March until July because of the pandemic. I am hoping to start on the January intake.