Hello everyone, I have a tough decision to make when it comes to starting at ATP. I really want to fly for Spirit Airlines because they have the straight to A320 which is the jet that I would love to fly but I’m at a loss on what to do when it comes to my education and timing.
I’m 34 years old and by the time I start ATP I will be 35. I’m currently taking a break from my online degree which I can start back up at anytime and I can finish it within 6 months to 1 year. Do you think I should focus on my studies for ATP (ground stuff) and then finish out my degree when I become a CFI? Would not having my degree by the time I interview with Spirit at 500 hours cause any issues? Or do you think I should just aim to go for the regional airlines and work on finishing my degree at that time and just skip out on Spirit and go for a different airline? This is a really tough decision for me.
Frankly I don’t think that’s a tough decision at all. You’re 34. While that’s far from old, you’re not young either. More important neither the Regionals nor Spirit require a degree.
I’d start ATP asap. Then finish your degree while you’re building time. During that time I’d apply to Spirit’s Direct Entry but know it’s competitive and be prepared to fly for a Regional unless you don’t get the nod. Easy.
Btw, I’m curious. What makes you think you’d “love” to fly an A320?
I’m planning to start ATP by the end of this year and it’s within driving distance from me so that saves me some money. Since the Spirit direct program is competitive do you think it would be a wiser choice to just go with the regionals?
Also I’ve been in love with the A320 since I first seen it. I’ve kind of studied into it and it seems like a very nice aircraft.
Why wouldn’t you try? Worst they can say is no.
That is true. Thanks so much for the advice, you have put my mind at ease lol.
Generally we recommend college first, but at 35, Would say flight training, then college. Spirit does not require a degree and hires many pilots without one. If your goal truly is Spirit, then I would focus on the flight training now and not worry about the degree. If you want to have other options open to you as well, I would still focus on the flight training, but get your degree after you have completed all of your pilot training.
I would caution you not to set your sights on some preconceived airline or aircraft type. As you become more exposed to the industry, you will learn that the job is about a lot more than which shiny bird you fly.
Do you think it would be the wiser choice to just focus fully on flight training and go with the regionals and then earn the degree while in the regionals?
I agree with what the others said. At 35, you need to get going. Start ATP as soon as possible. Once you complete the program, apply to the Spirit Direct entry program. You may get it, you may not but go ahead and try. If you don’t, keep working on your degree while building time and apply to cadet programs as various regional airlines. This doesn’t mean your dream to fly an A320 is dead, you just might have to go to a regional first.