Seniority etc

I am looking into the possibility of becoming a cadet for an airline. What is the average amount of seniority I would gain by doing this? Are gaining seniority from the day you become a cadet just as though you were working for the airline?



Many of the cadet programs vary but as far as seniority goes the answer is no, you will not accrue any seniority until you’re actually hired. While it may however give you some grain of seniority within your newhire class or something like that it will not go any further. The union would shut that down immediately.



Your seniority with an airline begins the day you begin actual pilot training at the airline. At many airlines your pass travel seniority will start when you enter the cadet program, but not your pilot seniority.

The advantage of the cadet programs is for pass travel, potential tuition reimbursement and health care benefits (depending on the airline).


Thanks. I guess when they mention, and I quote, “Company seniority for benefits eligibility activates as soon as you’re a cadet.” From Southwest Airlines only refer to the benefits you mentioned and not something such as schedule preference. Correct?

Also, one more question. If I bid for let’s say a specific schedule but not any of the other parameters, are my chances of getting they schedule improved? If so, by how much?

Southwest has a cadet program? Can you post the link I’d like to check that out. Thanks

Or did you mean Skywest?

My apologies, Skywest.


As you just quoted “seniority for benefits ELEGIBILITY”. What their saying you would be eligible for company benefits (medical, travel, etc) as soon as you’re cadet. They’re not saying when you’re actually hired and put on the line you’ll have a higher seniority than another pilot who’s actually senior to you but wasn’t a cadet. Again it would cause a revolt.

There are countless parameters that determine what schedule you can hold and when. That said sure, the more flexible you are the better your chances are of getting what you want, but it still won’t be Christmas.


Some of the cadet programs are offering training class “seniority” as a perk.

I know for Envoy, within your new hire training class your bid for base and aircraft traditionally was ranked by your age, with the oldest getting first pick.

With the cadet program seniority, the most “senior” (by hire date) cadets get first pick, then non-cadets by age with the oldest going first.

Also, your benefits eligibility puts you ahead of peers—which I think just works out to an extra week of vacation.