Path to Airlines


My end goal in my aviation career is to hopefully fly for Delta or American Air one day, However I want to know if that means I have to take a specific path to reach that.

For example, Deltas regional carrier is Endeavor and Americans is Envoy. Do I have to go to Endeavor before getting into Delta and do I have to go to Envoy to get into American?

Or could i go to Frontier immediately after ATP and fly there for a couple years and then apply to Delta/American?

Thank you, Androu


There is no requirement to go through the major airlines own regional, i.e. Envoy to American. In fact, going to Frontier would be a great way to go about building your flight time and being competitive for the various majors.


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My understanding though is it would help your seniority within the airline if you were building time at one of their regionals. So take that into account.

Sorry, I was incorrect about this. So the main advantage would just be the flow through programs that some of the regionals have with the Majors.

Good luck with your journey!


I’ve never heard of such a thing ever. All the Major airlines in the US are union shops and are governed by the rules of seniority and that means date of hire. The Majors would be severely shooting themselves in the foot if they even tried.


I guess I misunderstood the wording of the cadet programs then. So as a CFI if you join like Envoy cadet you would start building seniority for Envoy but not American?



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Your regional choice has nothing to do with the major you want to fly for unless you plan on participating in any of the flow programs:
Aviate- Mesa, CommutAir, AirWisconsin and GoJet to United
Endeavor- Delta (I believe just a guaranteed interview)
Envoy, PSA, Piedmont- American


  1. As a Envoy cadet(CFI) you can start building (Pilot) seniority? So whenever you start as a FO you already have several months seniority over new hires?


My understanding is as an Envoy cadet you would have seniority over other newhires in your class vs how they traditionally do it by age.



Adam’s understanding of this is correct.


Thanks for clearing that up for me!



That seniority comes in to play in new hire class. All the cadets will be at the top end of the seniority list which means you get first dibs at sim partners, your sim schedule, base bidding, etc.

Sometimes it initiates company benefits too like performance bonuses and uniform allotments. Your cadet dates counts as a your hire date for those benefits.