Real Answers from Real Pilots

Questions on becoming a commercial airline pilot

I have 0 flying experience and a high school diploma. I have read that education does matter at the major airline companies when thinning out applicants. Can you do the 1500 hours as a flight instructor in a 2 year time period? What is the best type of flight school to attend in the USA? Do certain schools have a recommendation system to major airlines like I have read some UK schools do?

Basically I am asking the fastest step by step, even if difficult, way to work for a major airline company starting from scratch?


Yes, education matters when applying to the US major airlines. Most major airlines will not even look at an applicant that does not have a four year college degree, so if the majors are your goal, I would plan on getting a degree.

Yes, it is possible to (and many people do) complete the 1,500 hours in a two year time period, as long as you are working for a flight school that is busy and has a fair number of students.

Flight schools do not generally recommend students to major airlines as by the time a pilot is applying to the majors, flight school is a distant memory. The majors want to see thousands of hours of flight time and most people build that time at the regionals.

You barely gave any information about yourself, but I would surmise that the fastest path to a major for you would be to attend a fast track school and get all of your ratings, then instruct to build your 1,500 hours. After you get hired at a regional, you could start work on your college degree online. Overall, you are looking at 6-10 years until you get to a major, but that is just a rough estimate and is subject to change widely.


Thanks for your reply. I am 25 so 6-10 years does not seem to be a problem. The hardest part is the financial part. Do majors care where you went to flight school or where you got a degree at?

No, as long as your degree is from an accredited and reputable university, the field on study and the school name do not really matter.