Realistic expectations and major change

Hello. My name is Cherine. I’ve been lurking on these forums off and on for a long time . Even dropped into an ATP location in Atlanta a few years back to see what options were available to me. I Moved to the united states with the sole intent of flying for the air force when I was 21. I passed the asvap top 2% in the nation but sadly couldn’t meet certain other mandatory requirements to enlist and so that dream fizzled away for me with no backup plan. I am 37 today. Have spent the better part of my life making unwise choices in pursuit of all that is rewarding and thrilling about being alive. Needless to say… I am a very driven thrill seeker at heart. A bit about me, I am the eldest of 3 children born to a wonderful mother and an airline captain who flew for Middle East Airlines for over 45 years. My uncle worked for MEA as well and so I spent most of my childhood playing around airport grounds. Flying was my very first passion in life and through a series of rather unfortunate circumstances I was never afforded the opportunity to follow that dream. So having had to abandon ship on that pursuit, I ended up working in the field i had settled for as an area of study, which was graphic design. I earned a BS in the field before i moved to America, and hopped around as an art director/consultant in the marketing departments Of various commercial real estate companies for a few years. Fast forward… I managed to stay very active in various circles in my community post air force training. An opportunity presented itself for me to pursue a sport I was heavily involved in at a more prestigious, Professional level and so I Quit corporate america to work part time in the entertainment business while i trained fulltime and dedicated myself to achieving something important to me. I received a sponsorship to dedicate my time fully to my sport and i did so without hesitation.

And here I am today. Highly decorated in the art of Brazilian Jiujitsu. One of 2 women to go from white belt to black belt under a red and white belt Grand Master, The only master of non Gracie lineage to get inducted into the Hall of Fame. Today, I hold several golds in internationally recognized tournaments and 3 world champion titles under my belt… It was such a good run… But my time has come To pass. Much like everything in life, change Is a constant. My best days are behind me and I’ve been trying to squeeze one more glorious win since I hit 30. Took a bronze at Master Worlds in 2017 and realized it was time to hang it up.

Very lost… And sad. And amidst my despair I couldn’t help but look back with pride rather than regret over the Decisions I had made. And so i have a renewed spark and a desire for growth and change.

Some minor details that I couldn’t find reading material on, is heavy ink…does an unconventional appeal affect my eligibility to work for a major airline? The ink is visible in a couple of areas (left hand and throat).

I have read many threads… Some say it Would be possible to work for a major Airline still if I get the ball rolling now, and some say regionals might be the only route if i am willing to settle for less pay at this juncture. I know I need an undergrad to work for a major and I am looking at embry riddle as an option. I never been to a school in the US but attended a fully accredited American university overseas. So I am not sure if anything carries over after all these years. I’m pretty rusty.

Should getting my PPL at ATP be a first step? Does That improve my chances of getting into embry riddle to pursue an undergrad? Should I just try getting right into embry riddle and skip the PPL? How Does having a PPL from ATP as a preliminary step help me? All factors considered, what are my Chances of Landing a job with a major airline, which is ultimately what I am Shooting for? Would major airlines Frown upon body ink that is visible in some places? Medical history? Credit history? Driving history? Looking at Investment and return as Well considering the financial strains of this education.

Any advice or guidance at all from the resident vets on here would be much appreciated.

Happy new year to all.



A lot of your future depends on what the nature of your “unwise choices” were. If they were criminal or involved multiple DUIs or suspended licenses, you can pretty much tap out right now. As to your tattoos, they will affect you at the regional level and the majors. Airline pilots are expected to present a professional appearance, the vast majority of airlines will consider hand and neck tattoos to be unprofessional and as such will probably not hire you.

ATP does not offer a PPL as a stand alone option, they are an all or nothing school. I would never recommend going through flight training at Embry Riddle as they are incredibly expensive.

Yes, all of the things that you mentioned will be up for review in your application for any airline. I am in no way saying that you will not be able to make it to the airlines, but the tattoos will need to go and it will depend on the nature of those unwise choices.


No sir. Absolutely no criminal record whatsoever. A wreckless driving charge a few years back. That’s about it. Unwise choices… Tattoos. Though tasteful, I was afraid would pose a problem.

Here’s a follow up to Cherine’s question on tattoos: do any of you know if cargo operators have the same standards for personal appearance as airlines?
Just curious if anyone knows…


Yes, the major cargo carriers have very similar standards to the passenger airlines.



In many states, reckless driving is considered to be a misdemeanor, which is a criminal charge. Even if it is considered a traffic incident, it could pose serious problems for you if coupled with a bad driving record.

I am not trying to be difficult or insulting here, but the airlines will never consider a throat tattoo to be tasteful. I would suggest that you speak with a tattoo removal specialist if you want to pursue a career in the airlines.


Well in that case, it appears the wreckless driving charge is going to be a bigger hindrance than the ink. I’m afraid I might have painted a rather unsettling image of myself in my initial post when the objective was to portray myself as driven, motivated, multifaceted and successful. I am certainly not a washed out convict with illusions of grandeur just because I have some ink in unfavorable places.


I second all that Chris has said BUT tattoos can be removed or covered. Personally I think you have much bigger issues. I’m actually a fan of the martial arts and after reading your impressive resume I did a very quick Google search of your name. On the very first page were some disturbing references to quotes from your FB page. This is something an airline can and would do and after reading it you’d be dead in the water. Now I don’t know if this is legit or not but it’s definitely a problem. If it’s true than you’re not being honest, if it’s not you MUST address it if you ever want a career in aviation.


I pride myself in my integrity and my honesty as a human being so I don’t know exactly what I am being accused of being dishonest about. That statement might seem outrageous but I do believe I’ve had ample opportunity to find contentment in who I am and the choices I’ve made over the years. If my morality and character are currently in question based on your opinions of some uncensored contributions submitted by an online persona via various social media platforms with a select crowd of followers in mind, (which, I might add, was solely for entertainment purposes) , then I suppose my expectations were unrealistic and we can leave it at that without further scrutiny. I am unsure of what quotes in particular you are referring to, but I am certainly not going to deny the fact that I have engaged in a plethora of exchanges online that paint a rather unsettling image to someone looking from the outside in. I did mention my involvement in the entertainment business in passing. I didn’t see a need to expand on the personal nature of that statement because I did not see its relevance to the current concerns.


If you read my post I clearly said the word “IF”. I don’t know you nor do I want to question your honesty or integrity. Without going into detail there’s a reference to YOUR FaceBook page where you talk about an arrest for assault. This is not a scrutiny or judgement. I’ve participated in hiring at 2 airlines and I can tell you it’s common practice to check someone’s social media. If this was “for entertainment” and false you need you address it before you spend a ton of money, time and energy on a career where yes a somewhat conventional and conservative view is prevalent.



You came on here asking about a career in aviation. Adam simply pointed out issues that an employer will take exception to. He wasn’t trying to be mean or accuse you of not having integrity or good character. We are both trying to tell you that you have significant obstacles in your way.

The last thing that any of us want is for you to spend a significant amount of money on flight training and then find yourself unable to find employment. We are helping you out here.


Yes, you are correct. There is a thread somewhere on one of the forums that says I was locked up for assaulting someone. It was brought to my attention a while ago along with people impersonating me and using my pictures etc. People can be hateful and that isn’t really the worst slanderous attack on my character that you’ll come across online. If i am not mistaken, arrests are a public records?

So, no sir. Those accusations are certainly unfounded and untrue.

I have an infinite amount of respect for you, gentlemen. I did not take anything either one of you gentlemen said personally. I might have come off as defensive for obvious reasons. Here i am trying to make some changes to my life and instead, I find myself trying to bury some things that realistically I may never be able to escape. So perhaps I needed that reality check from someone of your stature. So I am very thankful for your time and contributions towards this forum and this thread in particular.


Anytime, let us know how else we can help you.