Getting Recruited at Hawaiian Airlines


I have always wanted to fly and ATP flight school looks a great choice. I would really love to fly for Hawaiian Airlines, thanks to you for sharing your awesome experiences!!! I have a few questions. I would be truly glad if you could answer.

  1. Firstly, is HAL is a regional or global airline ? I am confused.
    Secondly, I would like to know whether it is possible to get recruited as a First Officer at HAL after completing the two-year period Airline Career Pilot Program in ATP flight school.

“If yes,” how easy or difficult is it and how often do you see graduates from ATP flight school directly landing to Hawaiian Airlines? (Point to be noted, I read in HAL website that the minimum requirement is 2000 hrs but with ATP flight school’s Airline Career Pilot Program, I get 1500 hrs. So could I stay and instruct for a few more months beyond the usual two-year period at ATP flight school to make up the remaining 500 hrs and then apply to HAL?)

If no, what’s the QUICKEST route to successfully land in HAL as a FO from zero flying experience?

  1. It is recommended to hold an undergraduate degree to work in a major airline. Does an international undergraduate degree from a not-so-well-known Asian university work? Do HAL require/prefer an undergraduate degree in the first place?

  2. Can you first test whether you qualify for a First Class medical certification before enrolling into a flight school so that your dreams are not shattered due to medical conditions after 2 years of training?

Thanking you in advance!


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Hawaiian is really a great place to work with a fantastic corporate culture. With that in mind let’s answer your questions:

  1. While smaller than the “big 3” (and many Regionals), Hawaiian is actually the oldest Major airline in the US. We fly from as far East as JFK, West to PEK and South to AKL. One of the neat things is Hawaiian also flies Interisland in Hawaii offering it’s pilots the opportunity to not fly long distance and be home every night if they chose. As a Major, Hawaiian is definitely not an "entry level’ position and therefore there’s no way you could go straight from ATP to HAL (it’s actually one of the more difficult airlines to get into). Again Hawaiian is small and whenever we open the hiring window we’re literally flooded with applicants, many of whom have considerable experience with other Majors and the military. While the Regionals are short on pilots and are grabbing applicants at the bare minimums, Majors are not. Best route would be ATP-Regional pilot (including upgrade)-HAL.

  2. While a degree is not a requirement at HAL, it is “preferred” (as it is with ALL MAJOR airlines). Again HAL is a VERY difficult airline to get into and you really want to be looking at being as competitive as possible vs meeting the min requirements. If your degree can be verified it will be accepted.

  3. Not only can you test, ATP REQUIRES you to get a First Class medical before attending specifically so you don’t waste your time and money.




Thanks a lot for your informed reply! Needed a few clarifications, please. If I want to take the ATP-Regional pilot-HAL route, how long might I need to be a regional pilot before I get to apply to HAL with a good chance of acceptance? As you mentioned about upgrade, you mean an upgrade from a regional FO to a regional Captain, right ? -so 3-5 years at least before I should apply for HAL? Also, if I take ATP-Regional airline-Major airline route and then apply to HAL, I should have a better chance to get accepted but a longer time, isn’t it? But I can try the former, shorter approach and if rejected, hope not, go to some other major airline and then reapply to HAL after some years, right?

Also, although salary is my last concern since I have got the yearning for flying, could you still tell me how much do you earn in your first and subsequent years at HAL and what is the average time to upgrade from an FO to a Captain at HAL?

Again, thanks a lot!



Hawaiian likes to see that people are interested from the get go so you really should start applying as soon as you meet the mins. While you won’t get a call, it does show desire. As for salary, unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your take) Hawaiian still has the lowest first year pay of virtually any airline (incl the Regionals) at $36hr. The good news is it jumps after that (depending on the aircraft your on) and tops out at $337hr for the A330. I’m currently holding the most junior Capt slot and I’ve been here 4.5yrs. Not too bad.



Thank you so very much Adam!!!

Aloha Adam,

I always look forward in hearing your responses, as I too, would love to fly for my own airlines! Hope I get there soon!

Hey they hired me and my name isn’t even Kekoa! :slight_smile:

You’re a shoe in! Just work hard and keep a good attitude and we’ll be flying together soon.



Thanks for all the great info about Hawaiian. I just started working for them in another department and was doing some research online to see if I had what it takes to become a pilot for them. Looks like a tough road if I want to pursue it. Also what flight school and location would you recommend for somebody living in Honolulu(I was thinking PHX? I also have a wife and kids would have to make this journey with me). Thanks!


This is ATPs site and we’re all successful alumni so obviously we’re partial. The fact is seniority is everything and the sooner you get trained and building time the better and there’s no better training or efficient route than ATP. As far as location goes, ATP has locations across the mainland so it’s really a matter of picking one that works best for you. PHX is fine as are all the others.


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Hey Adam, you say that HAL is the oldest However, I must challenge what you said. After a quick Google search I found this:

And United and Delta appear to be older.


Let’s clarify, first United can trace it’s roots to Varney in 1930 and Delta to back to 1929 which is the same as Hawaiian, HOWEVER, Hawaiian is the only one of the 3 that still operates under their original operating certificate hence the “oldest in the US” status.

That aside it’s their a point?


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No was just correcting cause that what I saw on Google. 9/10 Google don’t lie

They generally don’t. It really depends on what you’re using to define “oldest”. It’s all good.


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@Adam, did you attend a job fair before getting recruited at Hawaiian? How important do you think job fairs are?
I’m thinking about attending WAI in March 2019. I’ll be traveling from Asia. Hawaiian is the only airline I’m interested in.


I did not. When I got hired Hawaiian didn’t participate in job fairs and only started a few years ago. They can definitely be helpful as it gives the recruiters the opportunity to put the face with a name. I’m actually sitting next to a friend of mine who participates in the process and in all likelihood will probably be at the WAI next year. She said it’s a great opportunity BUT she wouldn’t make the trip UNLESS you’re certain Hawaiian’s hiring window is open (which it may or may not be?).


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Thank you, Adam! I hope the window will be open. What’s the best way to get information about the window opening? I’ve been checking Hawaiian’s website every two weeks.

That’s the best way but I’ve been told it won’t be open for the rest of the year.


Thank you!

Hey Adam,

I was wondering if you could provide some information on Hawaiian Airlines police for tattoos for pilots. Hawaiian is my dream job and I already have a full sleeve. I know they would have to be covered but could I still get in while having a sleeve?
Do you fly with any pilots that have sleeves?
Finally, if it is ok just covered would I be able to wear a long sleeve under armor or something similar under the short sleeve uniform or would it have to be the full long sleeve uniform at all times?

Thanks for any info!


I will let Adam chime in on the specifics for Hawaiian, but I can tell you that at any airline I am familiar with, every bit of your tattoos will need to be covered. By “covered” they mean with a full length dress shirt, regardless of the temperature. An under armor will not be allowed. At most airlines this also means that while wearing your long sleeve shirt, you will also be wearing the jacket and hat, year-round.