What type of background checks do airlines use when hiring a candidate to become a pilot for their company?

I am just wondering how airlines check to make sure, you as a pilot, hold all the qualities to become a pilot. What type of background checks do they do?

Hello Nathan and Welcome,

Why? What you do? :slight_smile:

Ok first, before you ever get near an airline when applying for your FAA Medical they will ask about ANY arrests and/or convictions. They ask this as a courtesy because, as I’m sure you’re aware, we live in the information age and NOTHING is a secret. If you’re less than honest and something does come up you’re done since lying on a the application is a federal offense. Once you get to the airlines the background process can vary but by federal law all airline pilot applicants go through a 10 yr FBI background check and a driver’s license check (DUI/DWI’s are bad). Many will also do a psych eval and internet search including social media. Then of course there’s the interview which often is a good cop/badcop set up to test your disposition. Obviously errors can be made and someone slips through the cracks but overall they do a pretty good job.


So what kind of search do they do on social media? Can they just see what
the public can access or can they see beyond that and see your account and
private things such as messages and such?

They can only see what is public, no company can compel you to provide passwords to them or access to your accounts.

oPublic only but trust me their good.

I put what I thought was a fairly innocuous comment on FB last year. Within 20 minutes I got a call from my Chief Pilot asking me to remove it.

Big Brother is watching!



I’m currently 19 years old , when I was 16 I had a twitter account and I retweeted some stuff I thought was funny at the time , I wouldn’t say it’s inappropriate but definitely immature. Hopefully planning to be applying at a regional in 3-4 years. Would they look into that account even tho I have a new account now ? Would they hold it against me ?

I would recommend accessing the old account and officially deactivating it. Zero reason to even risk that info being available, in my opinion.

That’s where the biggest problem lies , I don’t have access to that account anymore. Forgot password and got a new number. It’s nothing out of this world , it’s just something I told my very close friend joking around. But maybe someone finds it inappropriate.


You were 16. As long as it wasn’t anything advocating violent, racist, sexist, security threats etc. you should be fine. If it was you could have an issue. Know that not only will the airline do a very thorough background check but airport security will do an even deeper one.


Thank you sir. I really appreciate the help !


I might try calling Twitter, explain your situation and ask to have it removed. I bet they can help you.



Regarding the background checks, my first two jobs were 15+ years ago and I worked for a mom-and-pop shop that weren’t using any technology we use today. How would they verify that I worked there? I heard the airlines use 3rd party companies to verify via websites but they probably would only be able to verify via phone or mail haha. I have no idea what the business is doing today but when I was there, it was all old school. Would I have to verify myself by showing bank statements that show I deposited checks from them or would these 3rd party verification companies just need to make a phone call to verify?

I hope I am making sense with my question regarding employment verification.


All of my background checks went 10 years back on things like residential addresses and employment. As long as you have a valid explanation for those two jobs, I think it’s not an issue. The 3rd party companies that some airlines retain are pretty thorough and can pull things from your tax records I believe to verify employment.


Do your best to provide the most accurate contact information. If they have issues verifying they will contact you for more details if necessary. I wouldn’t worry about it.



You’d be surprised what comes up in a background check, especially if you opened any accounts like banking, credit card, utility bills, etc., it’ll show on a background check. :slight_smile:

I’m sure if the company you are applying for has any questions, they will reach out for further details.