Which major airline to target

Hey all. New CFI here. Hypothetical/actual situation here. I’ve been studying the numbers on the mandatory retirements that are quickly approaching and I have a predicament that I’m curious to hear opinions on. The majors all seem to reach their mandatory retirement peaks in different years over the next decade. Let’s say I live in a city that is a major hub for airline A. However, the retirements will reach their peak several years before I could ever realistically get to that airline and I would be on the backside of the hiring surge as they begin to taper off. Airline B however, does not peak until a few years after I could get there and I could potentially experience a good increase in seniority early on due to being on the front side of the retirements, which could give me more control over my schedule as opposed to airline A. However, I would probably be commuting about and hour and a half flight to the nearest bases for the rest of my career. I’m 28 years old, so not old, but not the youngest. Which airline would you pilots position yourselves for if you could have it your way? I’d say family life is most important to me down the road, followed by earnings potential. I’m not really sure at my age what my potential ceiling could be at any given airline (narrow body captain, wide body captain, etc…). I am also not open to moving

If you are not open to moving, I would focus on the airline that is in your hometown. I would really recommend commuting at all costs, it just takes too much time and energy, plus it has a financial cost as well.



You say you’re not open to moving and your top priority is family so commuting is out. Commuters ALWAYS have less days home and while a 1.5hr flight might not sound bad that’s not like a 1.5hr drive. Flights cancel, they fill up, they’re are weather delays, etc. etc. and you will find yourself leaving a day before (or 2) and getting home a day late more often than you expect.

That all said you can target whichever airline you like but that doesn’t mean you’re getting there. Flying for a Major is the pinnacle of this profession and regardless of retirements you may or may not get the nod from your first choice. That’s where the old saying “the best airline is the one that hires you” came from.


Awesome, thanks guys!