Flying for majors

Hey, I’ve been reading a lot of questions about flying for majors and what it takes to achieve this goal. Some of the questions I’ve read involved having a four year degree to be able to fly for the major airlines. I was just wondering (for someone with zero flight experience and just an associates degree in business management) is it achievable to be able to fly for a major airline. Furthermore, what is the average number of years flying regional before you are qualified for a career in the majors.


While not required, a 4yr degree is preferred and will make you much more competitive if your goal is to fly did a Major. Provided you meet the minimums and have a clean record, this is a very obtainable goal.

The time to get there can vary considerably. I know pilots who’ve gotten there after 2yrs at a Regional, and others who have taken 10+, while others never get the call. That said the ongoing pilot shortage has increased the chances dramatically.

I recommend you visit our FAQ section and the ATP website site for more info on the process.



As Adam mentioned, the Majors will prefer a 4-year degree. The best person of contact to figure out if your interested airline (i.e., American, Southwest, Spirit) is to either get ahold of a recruiting representative or go directly to their careers page. Every airline that I’ve gone to do short research has requisites and requirements to apply and be considered for interview.

Please spend some time reading through the FAQs and forum threads as there is tons of valuable information across the domain. A lot of time I can go to the magnifier in the top right and type keywords to find old threads and information to relate during recent posts.



While technically not required, the vast majority of pilots hired at the majors will have a college degree. I would recommend finishing a degree while you are at the regionals. Check out this link:


Time can vary greatly. Generally any major wants to see a minimum of 1000 turbine time. That takes between a year and a year and a half to build. After that, airline apps are scored. If you have a CFI, that’s a certain number of points. A college degree, that’s another lot of points. If you’re a legacy applicant (meaning you have family active at the airline) that’s some more points. The game is to get as many points as you can to get your app pulled. Then you need to interview well.