How to get MCO as domicile?

Hello all,
I am a military pilot in my first steps toward finding a civilian job and I’d love some advice: For context, I have ~1250TT but I have not flown in several years, and my highest cert is a commercial lic.

My only long term goal is to eventually get to MCO as a home base.

So I’m looking for the path to get there. Spirit, Southwest, and Allegiant all have bases there, but I realize I’ll need to start in a regional first… GoJet has a “pathway program” to Spirit after 2 years which seems like a attractive option, but I don’t know what other choices there are; and I’m willing to accept any job or pay scale in order to get there.

Can anyone tell me if its even realistic to hope to live and work at MCO within a few years of starting at a regional?


Welcome to the forum. Spirit and Allegiant will probably be easer to get to than Southwest. Southwest is one of the premier airlines in the country to fly for and they are very selective in who they hire. They will want to see a significant amount of recent jet time and perhaps even Captain jet time. It could take you several years, if ever, to get to Southwest.

I would caution you against boxing yourself into such a small corner. Airlines sometimes close bases, even bigger ones like MCO. I once worked for an airline that had closed IAD, DEN and LAX, at the time unthinkable closures. IF you did manage to get to SWA, and they then closed MCO, what would you do then?

Just something to think about.


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First off don’t forget Frontier and JetBlue. As I understand it MCO is generally a senior base for most airlines. Can you get there? Sure but it might take a while. How long is really anyone’s guess. This industry is constantly changing and evolving based on any number of factors.

Your best bet is build the rest of your time. Get on with a Regional and then assess who’s got the best chance of you getting your MCO when it’s closer to being a reality.


First off, is your commercial license a AMEL? If not you do need to get that commercial multi first to be eligible for an ATP. You also need to get back to flying soon, build that last 250 hours and get current again because the airlines won’t like the big gap in your flight time.
Theoretically your plan could work flying for a regional with an MCO base and eventually a major or LCC. However, you’re really limiting yourself and it may never work out. Would you happiness in the career be contingent on getting the MCO base? If so, I’d think long and hard about if you really want it. At the regional you may not be awarded MCO out of training (I’m sure it’s fairly senior) and if you eventually could get it, you may sit on reserve for way longer than usual.


Thank you for the replies!
Yes, I realize MCO would be popular, and I would not expect to start there. I am mainly curious if, in general, it would be like a 2 year wait or more like a 10 year wait in line to base there…

And I guess there is no way anyone could know, depending on where I start and who’s hiring in the future. After being in the military for so long, a little more certainty on where I live would have been nice. But it does not change my aspirations, so I guess all I can do is work towards it!


It really comes down to how far you are willing to commute. If you live in MCO but are base out of Atlanta, that isn’t a far flight. Then you just have to bid on MCO every chance you get. When I was a mechanic in the Air Force Reserves, one of the pilots lived in Miami, flew A-10’s in Louisiana, and flew international out of New York. He seemed pretty happy with his choices. The good thing is you aren’t way from home for months at a time.


I think the idea is Dan doesn’t want to commute. While he may have to and it’s certainly not the end of the world, pilots who commute have a very different job than those who don’t and if it can be avoided it should.

While your friend may indeed have been happy, I promise you he would have been happiER not commuting from MIA to NY.