Looking for training advice

My son wants to be an airline pilot and has asked me for some advice so I figured I’d ask you all! He’s a senior in college and was planning on enrolling in ATP after he graduates (summer 2023) but his girlfriend is a junior and he doesn’t really want to move back home until she is able to join him. Then he would start ATP in summer 2024. He’s thinking about getting his private license during the gap year, then starting at ATP in the summer of 2024. Thoughts?


While it’s wonderful (romantic, sweet, etc) your son wants to accommodate his gf, if he aspires to be an airline pilot they both need to understand the concept of sacrifice. During training your son will be a ghost and during his first few years at the Regionals he’ll be gone ALOT. We’re currently in the middle of the greatest pilot shortage in history which translates to rapid advancement. While it’s forecast to continue for a while the airlines will catch up and things will slow. EVERYTHING at the airlines is dependent on seniority and now is not the time for “gap years”. Airline pilots have a finite number of years they can fly and every year he waits will push him back. Further senior Capts earn $400k+ a year. That’s money he’ll be forfeiting not to mention the cumulative benefits, 401k contributions, pass travel seniority, upgrade opportunities, etc etc.

As for getting his PPL locally I don’t recommend it. Many people who try end up spending way too much time and money and some actually get frustrated and quit altogether. More important I’m going to assume you and your son like ATP for their reputation, success in the industry and the high level of training. If that’s the case then why would your son want to start the foundation of ALL his training at some local flight school? That’s literally like saying you’re going to build your dream house but you’ll have the local handy man pour the foundation because you’re not ready to build the rest. Might be ok but then again…


Yeah, I gotta agree. Thanks for the great advice, Adam!


I strongly recommend against "gap years of any sort. A gap year in the airlines simply means a year of not progressing, not making money and instead just getting further behind on the seniority list. If this is truly love, they should both see that beginning his flight training as soon as possible is by far the best thing that they could do for their future selves.

I would also recommend against getting a private outside of ATP. Honestly, this just sounds like an excuse to stay around the girlfriend. He will do much better completing all of his training in one place and in one training program.



Something else to consider is ATP’s enrollment requirements:

Unless Admin is willing to make an exception, he will need 2yrs of college or equivalent work exp.


Just want to thank you guys for the great advice. Sounds like he will be jumping into training this spring right after college!

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