Most Cost-Effective and Secure Path Into Major Airlines

Hey, I recently discovered this forum and all the things that come with it, and I’m loving it. I always had this question in mind, what is the “Most Cost-Effective and Secure Path Into Major Airlines?”

There are the flow through options, the cadet options, etc. Envoy to AA first looked appealing but I heard bad things about Envoy. Since this forum consists of many real life pilots, I was wondering if they could give some guidance and opinions.


While I’m glad you’ve found this forum informative I suggest you spend some time reading the FAQ section as that will touch on many of your questions ( Keep in mind the when you start talking about “best” or “most efficient” those can be subjective terms as what’s best for one person may not be for another. Also know there is no such thing as a “secure path” to the Majors. The Majors are the pinnacle of this profession and the majority of people who start flight training never even earn their Private licenses. Making it to a Major requires hard work, time patience and professionalism and frankly not everyone has those qualities.

Nothing wrong with Envoy. You can name ANY airline in the world and you’ll hear pilots who praise and bash every one. This goes back to our “best” conversation. If there was one “best” airline every pilot would be trying to get there. The truth is the best airline is the one that hires you. Now everyone is all excited about flow-thrus but keep in mind a) there’s lots of fine print (ie, mess up at the Regional and no they don’t have to hire you), b) they can be cancelled and c) you have to understand no Major is going to cannibalize their Regional partner. If AA takes EVERY Envoy pilot then they put Envoy out of business so that’s not going to happen which is why many pilots find their way to a Major faster than those waiting for the flow-thru.


So the safest method is just to trust in yourself, don’t borrow money, and slowly work up the ranks. Do you recommend being a CFI to gain flight hours? Is it also a good idea to work for a charter instead of regional?

If you have a casual 80K laying around, then sure, don’t borrow money. Consider yourself significantly more lucky than everyone else lol. You pretty much have to be a CFI to get to 1500 hours is my understanding, after 6-9 month ATP training you’ll be between 2-300 hrs. Instructing is the quickest way to build hours. Personally I’d rather work for a regional but I can’t answer that last question for you, personal preference plays a big part in that answer.

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So once out of flightschool, it’s into the regionals such as PSA, then into majors like Southwest, then finally the legacy airlines like Delta?

The majors and legacies are all on the same level. If somebody gets hired at Southwest, it would be highly unlikely that they would leave for Delta, United, etc.