Husband and wife both pursuing flying career?

Hello all,

My name is Brian. I am 40 years old, a doctor, and have been working in the field of international health for the past 15 years from the Caribbean and Latin America, to Africa and now the Pacific.

I am not new to the ‘dream’ of becoming an airline pilot, and have thought about it for years. In fact, Adam may remember my wife and I from when we met at the Alani resort on Oahu about two years ago. Adam provided some great insight and encouragement which was much appreciated.

After many years, my wife and I are preparing to make the big career change. My wife will go first, since she already has her private, and I will hold down the financial fort. The plan would be that when she gets picked up by a regional (2-2.5 years), we will have enough money saved that I can make the move.

I’ve read the forums, the website, have asked questions in the past, and for the most part understand the process, including the risks; but I do have two questions.

First, is the prospect of having a wife and husband both pursuing aviation, what with the need to sit on reserve and then the prospect of building up seniority, an unrealistic proposition?

Second, how difficult would it be to live on Oahu and commute?

I realize there are a number of factors here, such as seniority, holding a line versus reserve, as well as the airline and base to which we need to commute. However, I was hoping to get some general input. Obviously, if this was the goal we would look at regionals that have bases on the west coast.

The reason I ask, is that we have four kids that have been raised on islands. My wife and the kids are currently in Fiji, where she is working; while I am in Pohnpei (along the famed ‘Island Hopper’ route for Chris; I actually have questions about that and GUM as a base in the longterm, but I’ll save that for later). The kids have not been on the mainland in six years, with the closest being annual trips to Hawaii, and I fear culture shock. We have lots of friends on Oahu, and the kids (and parents) handle the Hawaiian lifestyle quite well.

Many thanks!



Welcome to the new forums. Your situation is unique in that both you and your wife want to enter the field at nearly the same time while having children. I can think of several pilot or flight attendant couples and they do make it work, but entering the field at the same time with children is one that I have not seen before. I am not saying that it is impossible, far from it, but it will take some creative scheduling to do.

I will let Adam speak to the commuting from Ohau to the mainland, but I can tell you that commuting in general can be tough. I find it to be worth it as it allows me to live where I would like.

How old are your children? What are your questions about Guam?

I look forward to working with you.


Hi Chris,

Thank you for the quick reply and the information – it is very much appreciated.

There would be about 24 month lag between my wife starting and me starting. So the hope would be that by the time I followed, that she would have some seniority and would be holding a consistent line. But of course, as you said, it would take quite a bit of coordination. We have four kids: 14 (boy), 12 (boy), 8 (girl), 5 (boy). They’re good kids – very malleable, used to travel, having parents away, etc.

I’m based in PNI, but travel on United between HNL, MAJ, KWA, KSA, TRK, GUM, and even over to SPN and ROR. Not surprisingly, I have thought about attempting to get on with a regional that has a flow-through agreement with United. Most of the UA crews, and I believe they are all former Continental like yourself, seem very happy. There’s even Cape Air, which is the United regional between GUM and SPN, as well as in the Northeast and the Caribbean.

In terms of a base, how popular is GUM? Would it be difficult to get? Or, does it have the appeal of being quasi-international with American amenities and great beaches, and is thus more senior?

Thanks again,

Hi Brian!

Trust all is well. I figured you’d be flying for Air Fiji by now? Listen I’m not going to lie. While your wife may accrue some seniority in a couple of years, both of you at a Regional with 4 kids in going to be quite a challenge. As far as the commute goes there obviously are pilots doing it but from what I understand it’s tough, particularly during holidays and vacation season. The last few times I’ve gone home to NY to visit family I’ve had to take the jumpseat. As a Regional pilot your priority would be behind all the mainline carrier’s pilots and there’s really no Plan B, 2-3 leg option. Is it doable? Anything is but definitely tough. I think a better plan would be for you and your wife to try and get a local gig with Transair or Mokulele. Both will hire you with way less than 1500hrs and you’ll be home every night. Build your time there and then try to make the move to Cape Air etc. The problem is its a very popular option with all the local pilots but definitely worth pursuing.



I think that with children of that age you are likely going to find that your situation isn’t practical. As Adam pointed out you are looking at a very complex and heavily trafficed commute, with no back ups. Your wife will not have hardly any seniority in 2-3 years, so attending flight training during this period will be rough. The only way I see you having any reasonable quality of life is if you all move back to the main land, at least for the next several years.

GUM is a rather easy base to get, it is not very desired amongst the pilot group as it is so far from the US. Many times it has unfilled vacancies and new hire pilots get sent there. I don’t think that you would have any problem getting assigned there. If not at first you would get it rather soon.

You mentioned that you were 40, and going to wait until at least 42 to start training. As I am sure you are aware the FAA mandatory retirement age is 65. With your plan you are looking at entering the industry at 45, leaving you 20 years left to fly. You might find that you have a hard time getting on at a major with that amount of time. I am not saying that it is impossible, it certainly isn’t, but it will be tough. That being said, there is certainly nothing wrong with a career at the regionals, in fact many pilots chose to stay there.

I hope this doesn’t come across as being overly negative, I am not trying to convey that at all. I just want you to have very realistic expectations before you decide to fully change careers and enter aviation.


Hi Chris,

As always, I want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions – very much appreciated.

I also want to thank you for your honesty. It does not come across as ‘negative’ at all; rather, it is good to have the unvarnished opinion of those who understand both the positive and negative aspects of the industry.

As I mentioned, my wife is also a doc, and so I could actually be the one to attend flight school. The only reason we had discussed her going first is that she already has her PPL. That is something we will need to consider, or whether she truly wants to pursue the career as much as I do; or if she would be happy staying in her current career path while I changed.

Thanks for the information on GUM. I am not surprised that it is not popular, being so far away. Of course, that could work in my favor if I am able to make it to a major such as United. As you mentioned though, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a career at the regionals, enjoying the perks of seniority without having to start over at the bottom.

Once again, thanks for the advice.

All the best,

Aloha Adam!

Great to talk to you again. It sounds like things are still great at Hawaiian. As always, thank you for the honest advice; you know I appreciate it.

I wish I was Fiji Airways. Although, they are trying to eliminate all of their non-local flight crews over the next couple of years, so all of the Aussies and the few Americans are starting to look elsewhere.

I figured the commute would be difficult, even with all of the daily flights to the west coast. Mokulele would be an awesome choice – especially with the thought of being home every night. Of course, as with everything else in life, I’ve come to realize the key is being flexible. So if we need to make the move to the mainland to be closer/living in base, then that is what we will have to do.

As I mentioned to Chris, we will need to consider which of us wants the career more, and then focus on that person. We had thought about sending Tami since she already has her PPL. But honestly, she would probably be just as good with staying in her career path, coming back to the States, and letting me chase the dream. I’m the one that constantly reads, and dreams, and comes up with plans involving a flying career.

Anyway, as always, thanks for the help.


My pleasure as always. Keep us posted.



Anytime, I am glad that you are finding this site to be useful.

Having a PPL is only about a two to three month advantage. I say whoever wants it most goes first, and I suspect that is you :slight_smile:


Many thanks to both of you… I’ll keep you in the loop.

Anytime, keep coming back with your questions.


Hello, Firstly I want to thank especially the pilots and everyone who takes the time to provide advice in these forums.

I see this “husband/wife both persuing pilot careers” topic came up 2.5 years ago, so I am continuing on this thread. @Brian1, I wonder where you and your family are now 2.5 years later with your aviation aspirations and family life in the beautiful islands.

I have the same question now in spring 2019, our family situation is a little different.
I am 32 (BA & BS degrees, currently own a swim lessons franchise and free-lance ESL tutor), husband is 27 (BA degree, 1 year military expr 1st Lieutenant in TRNC military, currently working in family olive business) we have a 3 year old daughter, living in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus where my husband is from.

We are considering a move back to Phoenix, AZ, my home city, and pursuing aviation careers. My family is in Phx, father is a senior captain and former line check airman for SWA, he’ll retire in 3 years at 65. One of my younger brothers is currently doing PPL and will continue flight school in Phoenix after graduating high school.

Husband is EU citizen, we are waiting for his green card.

We’re looking at flight schools in Phoenix. What attracts me to ATP in Phx is the location because of my family roots and support we’ll have there, financing options available for ATP’s accelerated program, timeframe of the program, ATP’s airline partnerships and potential for exposure to opportunities, the guaranteed CFI model (which I’ve been assured would not be a problem at the IWA Mesa facility), all of the information ATP makes available to prospective students online is a commendable resource.

If my husband and I did flight school simultaneously looking to start autumn 2019, we would live with my parents for the first 9 months to have grandparent care for our 3yo and minimal living expenses, buy a used car that would get us from A to B, income from my rental property. I have excellent credit (hovers around 800) and a home in downtown Phoenix with a lot of equity that I currently lease out while living abroad.

Dad knows plenty of couples with husband and wife in aviation; lots of au pairs and nannies and marriage counseling, or they never see each other.

I know the first years in aviation would be a grind, we would not have a comfortable budget while repaying loans (not an unfamiliar situation for us). We expect to prioritize my husband’s advancement in airlines as he’s younger. If I can fly at a regional and bid mostly shorter daytime lines or front-load one half of a month with flying, until our daughter is older, fly gigs or flight instruct locally, it looks to me like a worthwhile investment and would lay a good foundation for a future of open doors in the industry at this time, before we can be more flexible over the next ten years.

Most important quality of life standards to me in a career now at 32 and with a young family are financial freedom (I have a history of working overtime in high-stress jobs through my 20s while living pretty stoically and not having much disposable income left over to invest in my many hobbies and traveling, it’s always been tight), having entire days off together and enabling us to visit our growing extended family that is spread all across the USA and around the world. We do not plan to have more kids.

If anyone has feedback on ATP in Mesa, Phoenix as a junior FO crew base, commuting from PHX as junior FO, husband-and-wife pilot families, or financing multiple education loans simultaneously, I appreciate your sharing your knowledge and experience.

Thanks again.


I am not going to sugar coat this, I think your plan to train simultaneously is going to be really difficult on you and your family, to include your parents. You will basically give up the majority of time parenting and leave it to them. It is going to be tough.

Spacing the program out to one person at a time would, in my opinion, make life a lot easier on everybody and lead to higher chances of success.


Thank you @Chris, I appreciate your assessment and thank you for reading through my lengthy post!

Anytime. Let us know what other questions we can answer for you.


@Chris I came across this forum while searching for information. My husband is pursuing getting his pilot’s license currently. I have always also wanted to get into the airline field but as a flight attendant. My question is, is it possible for a husband and wife pilot/flight attendant to fly together? Or is it typically against policy. Regardless we would make it work but if we could fly the same flights and travel together that is ideal.

It can be hard to coordinate schedules, but I have seen it happen many times. I know several pilots that are married to flight attendants.


I know many flying couples, although most met when they were already on the job. The thing is everything at the airlines is based on seniority. When you’re both junior, as Chris said it will be difficult to coordinate your schedules, but as you both gain seniority it will get easier. Funny thing is I know couples who love flying together and others that make certain they don’t!


Hi everyone. I came across this post while looking for advice on the feasibility of my partner and I both pursuing careers as commercial pilots. I see that this came up 3.5 years ago for @Brian1, and then again a year ago with @Hbutler. How are you all doing? Did either of you go for it? :slight_smile: and thank you to all the pilots who have answered!

I wanted to ask separately because my situation is significantly different than both described above. First off, we don’t have any kids! My future husband is not even my husband yet, but will be in a little over 3 (!!) months. We wouldn’t start flight training until after the wedding is over. He is 24 and I am 23, both pretty much fresh out of getting our bachelor’s degrees, so we are also both starting fairly early. I’m actually the one who has always been interested in aviation and traveling and doing something that I actually love for work (vs my 9-5 corporate job now that is going to kill me soon, and I graduated from college less than a year ago). My fiancé, on the other hand, just found out how serious I was about becoming a pilot and how great ATP school looked, so he decided he now wants to do that, too, and is now even further along in the process than I am! He has already been to ATP’s introductory flight and absolutely loved it, and he’s been approved for his loans already through Sallie Mae. So I guess my question now is, how feasible is it going to be for us both to become pilots and still be able to live the first couple of years (would like to add that we are super blessed and currently have no student loan debt from undergrad) and then even after that, are we ever going to be able to see each other? I know it’s all about the marriage and I get that. We are high school sweethearts and have been dating since I was 15 years old (also why we are getting married so young) and did the whole long distance thing already in college as we went to separate universities a couple of hours apart from one another. So we CAN do it, but I’d really like to see my husband now and then. Long distance sucks. THANK YOU in advance for anyone who is still reading this long post, you’re the best.


To be honest I’m not really sure what you’re asking? You’re both young with no children and no student loan debt. The biggest obstacle for many people is the financial aspect. If you’re fiance has already been approved I have to assume at least his finances are pretty solid. If yours are in line with his you should be as well. They’ll be no income for 9 mos of training and it will also be lean after that until you’re hired by a Regional but we obviously have no idea what your bills are or how that would work for you both? Some people have no problems cutting back and sacrificing, others do. I think it would be easier together but agai we don’t know you.

Frankly these are grownup decisions that only you two can make together. Beyond that my only concern during training might be the impact on your relationship if one of you is successful and the other is not.

Once/if you both get to an airline that’s when things could get a little more challenging. Initially you’ll both be new with no seniority and min control over you schedules. The chances of them lining up or you having similar overnights etc are slim. Not going to lie it could be tough but again these are grownup decisions.