I am 18 about to finish my first year of college in May. As of right now I am not in an aviation school and don’t see myself going to one due to money. Was wondering if you suggest me finish my four years of college with a bachelors in any other type of field as backup, and then apply to ATP? Or ATP first to get it over with. I know there many approaches but I am not sure how to proceed not knowing if I should finish my four years of college or take a break to do ATP. What was your approach to work for a big company and what do you wish you did differently?
Welcome to the forums. Most of us will recommend against going to an aviation school, they are so expensive and really do not offer any additional return on your investment. I personally recommend finishing your four year degree, then going to ATP. Sure, you could go get your ratings sooner, but there is a maturity aspect that comes with age and it usually leads to better results in flight training. Also, you will need the four year degree at some point anyways, so you might as well finish it up now while you are still in school mode. Check out the FAQ section as there is a detailed post on this topic.
As for getting to the majors, I worked the connections that I had, tried to make myself stand out as a pilot and decent person, then applied.
I would not do anything differently, I have been very fortunate to have a rather straight forward path through the airlines and am thankful for that.