Felony in 2005

Hi There,

I got a Burglary charge 16 years ago when I was 21. I’ve tried and cannot get it expunged. I am 37 now and I have never gotten into any trouble since then. I would really love to be a Pilot but I wanted to know if this charge will keep me from my dream of working at a major Airline. Any help or advice is appreciated.




First off when it comes to Federal background checks this is no “expunged”. Second, making it to a Major airline is the pinnacle of our profession and criminal record or not many never get the call.

That said IF you are in fact completely clean otherwise (incl other expunges), have a 4yr degree, and do well in training, I do belief you have a chance but there are zero guarantees. This is why I always recommend every one who goes into this industry does so with the understanding they could spend much more time than they planned to (incl forever) at the Regionals because it does happen.


Since it’s been 16 years since the occurrence and if you’ve been completely clean since, you may be fine. It will be a flag on your applications so it will put a lot of pressure on you to have the rest of your application as strong as possible. No checkride busts, no speeding tickets, interview well, etc. You can call the recruiting departments of a few majors and see what they say… but I wouldn’t enter this career unless you can say you would still be happy flying for a regional until retirement. If not, maybe you should rethink the career.


Getting a record expunged will do you no good at all in the eyes of the federal government. They ask “have you ever…” and they have the ability to see past expungements. Like it or not, our past follows us everywhere we go.

If you have an otherwise perfectly clean record, do well in training and have a college degree, you might have a shot at the majors. Then again you might not, this is a tough one and it is difficult to predict how an airline will look at this.