Flow-Through Program


I was inquiring about the flow through program with American Airlines. Currently, I’m a college student. With the way covid has been going college seems less and less for me with each day. I saw that if I were to do the flow-through program with AA, I wouldn’t need a bachelors degree to fly for AA, and this is the only airline to do so. Can anyone testify to how correct this is?

Welcome to the forum, Sam!

From my understanding many of the major airlines have their own variation of a “flow-thru”. AAL has the cadet flow, UAL has Aviate, and Delta has their propel program(if you are currently employed by Delta). You can find more information on ATP’s and each individual airline’s websites.

I understand that the flow through program sounds appealing, but on the flip side many of them have major stipulations, flow in both directions, can get cancelled, and even worse (in my opinion) longer transition time to a major (not to mention that most of them are currently suspended). I’m sure that the mentors will elaborate on this more.

I believe the best thing about a flow is that you are “guaranteed” a first officer position at a major. It’s a great option to have in your back pocket. I personally would suggest to finish your education. It will benefit you greatly in the world of aviation.



Actually none of the regional airlines require a 4-yr degree. However, it is still in your best interest to obtain a 4-yr degree at some point before you apply to the majors. Even as COVID has pushed the higher education system to the online learning platform, you shouldn’t pass on earning your degree altogether. Even if you were enrolled in the AA cadet program without a degree, you’re really putting all of your eggs in one basket. I would encourage you to widen your possibilities for argument’s sake.

If you’re enrolled in college already I would finish. Despite your feelings about college right now, trying to finish later is usually harder for most people.


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First, welcome to the forum! So you are correct. You can get hired to an American cadet program, fly for one of their regional carriers like Envoy and flow through to American without your degree, in theory. However right now the cadet programs are shut down. You could still get hired with a regional carrier, all of which don’t require degrees but then you are severely limited to making it to a major. Your only option at that point would be a flow, and as many others will chime in on, flows are unpredictable. Your aviation future would be teetering on whether or not you get a job with a carrier with a flow, and if the flow works in your favor. Seems like way too big of a risk and limits your career incredibly. If you’re in college now, stick it out. You’ll thank yourself later.


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You are correct in that the AA Cadet Program does not require a degree to flow to American. A couple of things to think about with that though:

  1. Flow throughs are not guaranteed, they come and go at thew discretion of the major airline and a promise of a flow is not a 100% guarantee that it will happen.

  2. You would be putting all of your eggs in one basket. Sure, AA sounds great now, but what if they stop hiring for a few years? What if you decide that United, Alaska, FedEx, etc would be a better fit for you? All of those airlines require college degrees and you would not be eligible to be hired there.

Just some things to think about.


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My question for you is have any flight experience or know if you have any aptitude for it? I’m asking because by leaving school for this AA flow, not only are you putting all your eggs in a very small basket as the others have said, but if the answer is no, you’re doing it based on the fact you believe you’ll be successful. While flying airplanes isn’t brain surgery, it does require a fair amount of skill and intelligence. What happens if you start training and discover you don’t really like it or aren’t any good at it? Bust a few checkrides and you can kiss that flow goodbye. Even if you have its always a good idea to have a backup and I’d think long and hard before stopping your education.