Undergrad loans and Maternity Leave


My name is Caitlyn and like most of you on here, my dream job has always been to fly! I had the bug the first time my dad took me to see the Blue Angels when I was 11. I was hooked… A few weeks ago I was complaining about how unhappy I am at my current job when my boyfriend looked at me and said “Why don’t you fly? You’ve always wanted to.” I had never even considered it after being told my eyesight wasn’t good enough to fly for the Navy (I don’t know if this is still the case as it was years ago that I spoke to a recruiter). And so here I am after weeks of reading every pilot blog I could get my hands on.

I am both excited to fly and petrified about two main things: finance and family. I already have considerable loans from my undergrad degree… Has anyone had success in deferring their non-flight related loan payments while in flight school? And what about when I want to have a family? I have not read great reviews regarding the majors maternity leave policies… If I take a leave of absence when I have kids, do I start back at the “bottom” so-to-speak? Meaning will I lose seniority?

Appreciate any insight!


Welcome to the forum and thanks for your questions.

I am by no means a financial expert. I hate to push your question off to somebody else, but I would call the admissions counselors at ATP and ask them your question about deferring loan payments, they should know the answer to that question. 800-255-2877

As to maternity leave, you will not start back at the bottom upon returning from maternity leave, you will resume your original place on the seniority list. The bigger issue in regards to having a family is the time spent on the road. Take a look at my schedule and see if you would be okay with the number of days spent traveling and thus being away from home. It is certainly doable, it just requires you to know that you will be gone quite a bit and make arrangements for child care during that time.

In regards to vision. You will need to have 20/20, but you can wear corrective lenses (I do).

I hope this helps answer your questions. Let us know what other ones you have.


Hey Caitlyn,

As Chris said I’d def check with ATP, BUT, while not the best idea fiscally, virtually every financial institution in the world will be happy to let you defer your loan. Why? Because it keeps building interest on that BIG untouched balance. When I finished training at ATP I had a number of things going on and didn’t want to start making payments quite yet. I contacted the lender and I received a gleeful “NO PROBLEM”. In fact they let me defer it until I was actually flying for a Regional and even then would’ve allowed me to make small interest only payments. Fortunately shortly after I sold my business and was able to pay everything off. Again not the best plan as you’ll end up paying more but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Again I agree with Chris on the maternity issue. Most airlines are very maternity leave friendly and again you won’t lose your seniority. It’s the after I’d be more concerned with. That’s actually one of the reasons Hawaiian has so many female pilots. We have our Interisland operation where you’re home every night and usually only work half days. Very mommy friendly :slight_smile:

Fortunately the FAA’s vision requirements aren’t as strict as the Navy.


Thank you guys so much for your input! It’s a lot to think about.

It sure is a lot to think about. Keep doing your research and keep asking us questions.