The steps I would have to take and what I would have to look forward to

To become a airline pilot for either delta or emirates, is it that I would need a 4 year degree and the minimum of 1500 flight hours…can someone help me with the steps on what I would have to look forward to facing in this path


A job with a major airline is very competitive and can be hard to get. Yes, you will need a four year degree. You will need a lot more than 1,500 hours of flight time though, that is the minimum just to get hired at a regional. You will need thousands of hours of flight time, with a good chuck of it being as a regional jet Captain.

This means that you need to go to flight school, then flight instruct to build your time to 1,500 hours, then get hired by a regional airline where you will spend several years before you are eligible to be hired by a major airline.

It is a long process, but it is worth it.



Clearly there’s a bit more to it otherwise everyone would be at either Delta or Emirates right now. Let’s give you an idea of the steps.

  1. 4yr Degree. While not a rule written in stone, to fly for most Majors around the world you need to have a 4yr degree. It’s one of the questions asked on the applications and if you answer “No” there’s a good chance yours will end up in the trash.

  2. Earn the required licenses and ratings. At a minimum you’ll need your Private and Commercial licenses, and your Multi, Instrument ratings.

  3. Build Time. To fly as a pilot for ANY airline in the US (incl Regionals) you must have 1500hrs of flight time. That’s the min to get your ATP license which is required to fly for an airline. The most common way to build that time is by flight instructing which means you’d also need to get your CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) rating. There are also Multi-engine and Instrument time requirements. If you plan on building those minimums instructing that also means your MEI and CFII ratings (Multi and Instrument Instructor).

Now while all the above would technically make you “legal” to fly for a Major BUT if you think you’re getting hired by one with the bare minimums you’ll be very disappointed. Delta also requires 1000hrs of Turbine time and Emirates requires a min of 2000hrs in an airplane over 40,000lbs (or 3000hrs in one over 20,000lbs). What that means is at least a few years at a Regional airline. So you do and now you’ve reached their mins congrats! Think you’re getting a call? Sorry, not quite yet. What you need to understand is these are Major airlines, they’re the BIG LEAGUE and where most pilots aspire to fly. There are Regional, Cargo and National airline Capts with thousands of hours of Turbine PIC (Pilot in Command) time applying daily and they’re you’re competition.

This is not meant to discourage you in any way, quite the opposite. Work hard and in time you have a very good chance of reaching your goals BUT if you think you can sneak into one of the best flying gigs on the planet with the bare minimums that simply ain’t so. It takes, hard work, dedication and some time.



Thank you so much Adam this really helped me out…sounds like a ton of work but I’m up for it…