If I could jump in here a bit. Let’s say you start training at age 47. Training takes you six months and then it takes another year and a half for you to get your 1,500 hours, thus making you 49. At that age a regional will most certainly hire you. This is where the math gets a little fuzzier. Major airlines want to see jet Captain time and it usually takes a few years at a regional to upgrade. I can’t give you an exact number on this because every airline is different and it is constantly changing, but let’s say 3-5 years to upgrade, thus making you 54. After flying as a Captain for about two years you are probably now becoming marketable to a major airline, so 56. As you know airline pilots must retire before they turn 65, so essentially you have eight years left to offer a major.
I have heard stories of people being hired at that age, but I will be honest, they are very few and far between. Airlines spend a lot of money training a new pilot and they want to make sure that they can get a return on their investment.
If you decide to enter this field I would plan on making a career at a regional airline, that way if you do get hired at a major it is just an unexpected surprise and if you don’t get hired by a major then you still met your goal of being an airline pilot.
All of this being said, the regionals can be a great place to work and there is certainly nothing wrong with finishing out a career there. You could enjoy some nice seniority and make a pretty decent income.