Too good to be true?

While visiting family in Pennsylvania I went to check out a flight school located in Beaver County. The school works with the community college to provide VERY affordable tuition. I can’t recall the exact numbers but I know it was very doable. One of the counselors described to me a program they had with American Airlines and in conjunction with another university. Through the program, in addition to earning your AA and all flight ratings through the school, you also earn a BA in Aviation Management and upon graduating are eligible to be hired immediately with American Airlines and get a $50,000 sign on bonus with a starting salary of $100k!
Now in my research, I’ve found the median starting pay for an airline pilot to be in the $40,000 range for the first few years before you can get close to the 100k mark. Am I correct in thinking this too good to be true?

Ingrid,

I think you misunderstood what the school was telling you. The path to American Airlines is through Piedmont Airlines (a wholly owned subsidiary of AA). The sign on bonus is $15k and first year pay is roughly $39 per hour on the ERJ. Under this program it will take several years to get to AA. Their program is no better than any of the other flight schools out there. Here is a link to what their website actually says: http://www.ccbc.edu/piedmont

Read this well, because it is very different than what you are thinking.

Chris

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Oh, thank you Chris, that makes a lot more sense. I don’t know how I didn’t manage to find that myself. Too bad. Thank you for clearing that up.

Is the career path outlined there pretty typical for an airline pilot?

Ingrid,

I took a quick look and yes it sounds about right. The only thing I would point out is where they say they have a 10yr contract for the flow-thru and (of course) the flow-thru will be based on seniority. This means it could take a while to get to AA.

Adam

Ingrid,

I would agree that the career path they are advertising seems pretty accurate, as long as things stay the way they are. I would point out though that what they advertise is true of any pilot joining Piedmont Airlines and has nothing to do with whether the pilot went to Beaver Community College or not.

Chris