Pathway programs Vs Alternatives

Hey everyone,

So I plan on attending ATP in the near future and the airlines is my end goal. I would like to know more about the pathway programs offered by companies like United with Aviated versus other jobs once we build our hours.

I was speaking to a pilot in person and he said that it would be faster to get a job once I have the hours and then do the required 1000 hours in both the left and right seat and then upgrade to an airline from there. Is this true? Or is it more beneficial/faster to do one of these pathway programs through ATP’s partnerships?



You’re asking the same question every pilot in the World asks everyday. What’s the best route to the airlines? The answer is it depends on so many factors there isn’t one. Pathways and flows are great when the Major airline is doing well and it’s Regional partners are strong. When they’re not you’re better off going elsewhere. What will it be when you’re ready? The odds of you knowing that are as good as you picking all the 6 of the next PowerBall numbers.

You say you’re thinking of starting ATP in the “near future”. Even if that near future were tomorrow you’d still be 2-3yrs from an airline and 2-3yrs in this industry, with this economy and this pandemic is a lifetime away and literally everything can change.

What won’t change is the fact that regardless of of the path you choose you’ll first need to learn to fly an airplane, do well and create as many opportunities as you can for yourself. No point making up your mind on a program that might not even exist in 2yrs or your won’t qualify or be accepted into. Once you do that you’ll be much closer to your goal and be in a position to make an educated assessment based on what’s going on at the time vs now trying to use a crystal ball. Ultimately the best route will be the one you choose and the one that accepts you.


Hey Adam and thank you for your response.

To clarify, I’m already a private pilot so I should have the rest of my ratings in 5-6 months through ATP as I plan to start this month in February.

I know no one can tell the future but more so I’m asking from experience and what you guys have seen, what you would do in my position?

Do I sign up for the pathway regardless and then decide later if that’s an option?

Just looking for some guidance on what to plan for the coming months once I start ATP


Most of the pathways are relatively new so we really haven’t seen the results. What I can tell you is in the past some pilots have done well with the flows and gotten to where they want to quick and others have stalled and have seen their peers pass them by.

Again the landscape changes daily and if it were me I’d read what everyone is offering and maybe even apply to one of it looks good but I’d be reluctant to lock myself into anything until I was considerably closer. Even with your PPL you’re more than 2yrs away and alot can change plus there may be some new and better programs.

If you’re starting in Feb your time would be better spent working on your writtens.


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If United is your end goal, then sure, go ahead and sign up now. There is also nothing stopping you from also signing up for another pathway program. Once you start accepting money from an airline, whether that be in bonuses or with Tuition Reimbursement, that is a different scenario and you will need to commit at that time.


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So far you’re on the most efficient path to becoming an airline pilot… the fast track ACPP. Once you graduate and if given a CFI position you have a decision to make. There are other ways to build time but CFI time is highly preferred when you apply to regionals. Being an ATP CFI, you’re awarded dozens of pathway programs that aren’t available to pilots outside of atp.

This is the time to talk to pilots ahead of you, research on your own and decide what priorities matter to you. From there, you will get a clearer picture of what path to take… your priorities vs opportunities provided at X airline. If you’re certain on one airline then a flow program makes sense. If you have your sights set on a few different majors, apply to regionals with cadet programs to both. Once you make a decision what is best for you, you can commit to tuition reimbursement and other benefits.

Basically, we can’t tell you the best path to take because there isn’t one! You’re on the best most efficient path to getting your ratings and an opportunity for time building. After that, it’s up to you and what you want to decide what’s the next step!


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