United Aviate or ATP?

I plan on going to university to pursue a bachelor’s in Arizona which just so happens to be where United Aviate is located, but also ATP.

  1. I heard that United Aviate is exceptionally selective to get into whereas all you have to do for ATP is secure yourself for the finances and such. True or false?
  2. I also heard that United Aviate’s program covers the cost for the PPL if you already don’t have one. True?
  3. In the future, United will be a fallback for me just incase I don’t get to my dream airline, but isn’t my #1 choice. Would it still be smart for United Aviate?

My home financial situation isn’t great so I feel like having the cost of the PPL covered would be of great help, but United isn’t my airline of choice straight off the bat. (That would be the regional Endeavor Air then flow to Delta.)
What do you think? for now though, I’ll just continue focusing on my high school studies and worry more on this later. Just curious.


United Aviate is very selective and it was created as a pathway to United. If you’re only going there to possibly get a free PPL that’s not a great reason. Further if Delta sees you went to a United pathway I’m thinking you wouldn’t be their first choice.

With all that in mind you should focus on doing well in HS. Things can and do change.


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First things first, focus on getting a good grades and finish high school with a strong GPA. Future airlines will ask for your high school transcripts. After that, consider continuing your education with at least an associates degree. A bachelors would be better because you will still need it if you plan on pursuing a legacy like United or Delta. If you have the discipline to return to it later, you could do 2 years and finish your associates then pursue flight training. Once at a regional, finish those last 2 years in an online program.

As for the pathway, United Aviate is incredibly selective. If you don’t want to end up at United, don’t go this route. There are plenty of airlines to choose from and best to keep your options open. The only time this kind of program makes sense is for those that want to end up at United and want the guaranteed path to get there.


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Thank you, Adam.

Thank you Hannah, will do.

Welcome to the forum, let’s get to your questions/

  1. I would strongly disagree that all you have to do for aTP is to secure financing. ATP has had record applications the past few years and has a rather stringent set of admissions criteria.

  2. For specific on aviate, you will need to check with them.

  3. If United is a “fallback” for you, then Aviate is the absolute last place you should be looking. Aviate is designed for pilots who specifically desire to go to United.

If my goal was to work at a major airline other than United, I personally would not apply to a United owned program. I think you are better off getting your flying education outside of any one airline program and instead remain a “free agent” who is able to apply to any and all airlines.



Thank you Chris!

Also, I saw a post on Reddit about someone who’s been accepted into Aviate Academy that’s been waiting a year and still doesn’t have a class date.

There’s currently a pilot shortage and flight training demand is at an all time high…


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