What age is too old to start a commercial flight career if the goal is the major airlines?

So I’d like to apologize if this has already been discussed in another posting but this is my first post and I’m not familiar how to specifically search for this question. A little back story, I’m currently a 10
year career paramedic/firefighter and am in the process of training for my PPL in a part 61 school (due to the inability to keep a normal schedule with work). I would love to one day fly commercially for a major airline but can’t retire from the fire service with a full pension for 10 more years. At that point, I will be 41 years old and I hope to have all of the prerequisites to apply for a full time commerical pilot job. This being said, is flying for the major airlines out of the question starting at 40+? And is there anything that would make me a better candidate at that age? And will a part 61 school set me back vs a part 141? Anyone have a similar experience. Thanks in advance!

John

John,

Not only has this question been asked, it gets asked daily and is also included in our FAQ section but regardless here goes.

41 is far from too old (right now) but 31 is MUCH better. While I appreciate your desire to earn your pension, airline pilots have a self-life which expires at 65. Senior airline Capts earn over $400k which if you wait 10yrs you’ll never reach. You’re talking about forfeiting $4 million in potential earning (not to mention 401k contributions and many other benefits of seniority).

More important the world is currently in the middle of the biggest pilot shortage in history. While it’s projected to last a while my thoughts are the airlines will catch up within the next 10yrs putting you on the wrong side of the wave with 10yrs less to catch up.

Long short if you want to fly now is the time. 10yrs from now is anybody’s guess and yes things could slow to the point where you’ll never get to a Major. None of us have crystal balls.

Adam

Thankyou for the speedy response and I apologize for posting a common topic. I obviously need to learn how to search the site for similar discussions. Everything you’ve said makes perfect sense and I appreciate the direct answer. Will getting my training from a part 61 school make me a less sought after candidate? The part 141 school would be an extremely difficult journey at this point in my life.

Thanks again
John

John,

No apology necessary. Just saying.

The airlines will neither ask, know or care what Part training you did.

Adam

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John,

I did training both part 61 and 141, nobody ever asked and wouldn’t care if they did. Regardless of which path you take, we all take the exact same FAA check rides.

41 is nowhere near too old, but I would try to be ready to delve full time into training at that point. I also would encourage you to really to take a long hard look at the value of that Firefighter pension versus what an airline pilot earns. There is a detailed post in our FAQ section that talks about pilot earnings.

Chris

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Thank you both for taking the time to apply! There is much to think long and hard about!

Thanks again
John