Time Off As CFI

Hey everyone!

I looked around a little to see if someone had already answered this question, but I did not find anything.

Aside from Christmas and Thanksgiving, can a CFI at ATP expect any vacation time? I read that instructors are considered contractors, so I guess that kind of complicates the policy. Is it just something you have to work out with your students, or do you go through management to get time off?

Thanks for your time and attention!


The only official days that we get off are for thanksgiving break and Christmas break, as you mentioned. As a CFI we can request days off whenever necessary, but ATP expects that we are reasonable and our students and events are covered. If you get your students required weekly events in, then you could have some weekends off, but I find this is pretty rare. If you want to take the occasional three day weekend off every month or two, then that would be fine, but excessive time off would raise some concerns. I took a week and a half off in August to visit my family in England and no questions were asked, I just made sure that all of my events were covered by other instructors! The time off requests are reviewed by your lead instructor/TSS for approval, but I’ve found that most instructors are reasonable and don’t get denied.

Hope this helps,



Let me ask you a question? You just invested $90k in your future career, you’re in the middle of training, things are going reasonably well, but there are some tough patches you and your instructor are working on. They then inform you they’re taking vacation but don’t worry, they’ve told some other instructor (you’ve never flown with) what’s going on and you’ll be fine. Oh and your checkride is 3 days away. You’re cool with that right?




While instructing at ATP, you are considered an independent contracted CFI and make your own schedule. I’ve always questioned myself why instructors want to take an extended period of time off consecutively when they have students. I understand the rest period and seeing family or attending events, but that could cause problems with your students or your own goals. There are a lot of sacrifices that you already take when attending ATP and furthermore as you reach the airlines (or where you desire) you will have more sacrifices.

I always worked my schedule around the workload, if I could fit 3 or 4 flights in a day where it’s sunny great, if I had students that needed sims and the weather was poor, I would use weather days that I could not safely conduct a flight event. If you do it right, you may have weekends off, but shouldn’t count on that due to weather and plane availability.

The last thing I have to say is don’t let a student hang. When I was interviewing for the airlines, I had 4 students in checkride prep, and I was still conducting virtual ground with all 4 at one time while in a hotel room.


Thanks everyone. Adam and Brady, I definitely see where you’re coming from, as far as having students who depend on you. I wouldn’t want to strand a student with a bad instructor any more than I’d want it to happen to me as a student.