Will starting later affect making captain?

So currently I feel as though I am stuck finishing a master’s degree (which I started shortly after graduating, 2016) before I can move forward with any career plans. My undergrad degree is in UAS and I may have opportunities to work in the private sector and make very good money. In my mind, I truly am at a loss as to what I should commit to, whether it be ATP or Unmanned. One of the biggest intensives to work in the private sector for a few years is financial stability. I have an unhealthy fear of debt haha. I suppose my question is how much of an affect will starting as a first officer later in life affect seniority and long term pay? Or is that irrelevant? I realize that I sound like a broken record sometimes but I don’t take ATP lightly considering how much debt is acquired and the considerable intensity and commitment of the program. I just turned 23 and although some people that know me may think I have life figured out, it’s truly quite the opposite! Any advice helps!


  • Louis


Obviously it’s up to you what you do. There’s a huge difference between unmanned and actually flying yourself. I will say if financial stability is your #1 concern and you have opportunities then that’s probably the way to go. No sense causing yourself stress and anxiety for something you don’t have a passion for. Anyway to your question.

Of course delaying will affect your seniority and long term pay! The question regards SENIORITY and there’s only one way to accrue it. By getting hired. Seniority by definition means you started sooner than someone else. I could have no degree and be a single engine flight instructor while you have a Masters, flew F-22s, your last name is Boeing and your dad is CEO of Delta, if I get hired 1 day before you I’m SENIOR and will be FOREVER at that airline. That and the fact that pilots have a finite and definite self-life of 65. I started later in life. I have a great job and have done well BUT I will NEVER be in the upper seniority (top 10%) at my airline. I will NEVER have the schedules they have nor have made the money. These are life decisions and that’s the reality.


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As always, thank you for the honest advice! Are you sure you don’t know my dad? Because he literally said the same thing as far as seniority and waiting to start a little later! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: