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Getting Hired at a Major Airline: Part 1

Getting hired at a regional or major airline is not something that just happens over night. The application alone takes some time to fill out, but networking is a big chunk of it- and that takes years. As you go through your flight training, make sure you are a kind person, make sure you are doing your best, if you are weak on a subject area spend extra time studying that, if you become a CFI, give great instruction- so great that the examiners will notice it in your students. This is my story on how I got hired at a major airline, my dream airline, and it's certainly not something that just happened overnight.

Seven years ago I was flying a Brasilia as a first officer based in Palm Springs, California.  One of my first trips ended in LAX, so instead of flying back to Palm Springs, and then up to Salt Lake City (where I lived at the time), I decided to try to catch a flight directly from LAX-SLC.  I managed to get the very last available seat- the jumpseat- on a 757.  I'd never jumpseated on a major airline flight, and I was so excited I could hardly stand it.

Me and my crew saying goodbye to our beloved Brasilia in 2015

When I walked into the flight deck, I was impressed!  The cockpit was incredible and super spacious, and the pilots were awesome.  I'd already wanted to work for this major airline, but now my mind was set.  When I had my hours I would be working for them, and that was that.  Though my feet didn't touch the ground from that jumpseat, and I had to sit sideways so the captain could push his seat back, that flight was a dream for me.  I was like a kid the day before Christmas the entire time, and I bragged about that flight to family members and friends for quite a while afterwards (which makes it that much more amazing that I am flying that plane today... it's so cool).

A couple of years after that flight, I again found myself in another one of their jumpseats, with, once again, super friendly pilots.  The first officer told me of his friend who was hired there, straight from the right seat at a regional carrier.  He told me that if this is where I wanted to work, I should just put my application in and update it every month.  "You never know what will happen," he told me.  I took his advice and did just that.

Filling out an airline application is no easy task!  It took me days to fill that thing out and then quite a bit more time to get all of my letters of recommendation.  But, since I was still a ways out from that dream job, I was able to take my time and make sure everything was completed just the way I wanted it.

A few months after filling out my application, I ran into one of my old friends from flight training who was now a pilot for my dream airline.  He was in a rush and only had time to say hello, but I was glad I was able to run into him- it's always fun seeing old pilot friends in the airport; especially since we're all grown up now.  However, minutes later he came running back and asked me if I was looking at getting hired there.  Um...YES!  He asked if he could write me a letter of recommendation (again... YES, please), and gave me his contact information.  I wasted no time emailing him and gave him an update on what I was doing with my life since we'd last seen each other.  He wrote me a spectacular letter, which sat with my application until that amazing day my application was finally looked at.

This is just part 1 of my story- a story that is far too long to put into one blog post.  Stay tuned for the rest.  I'm going to leave you on pins and needles for now.  :)  Until next time, Happy Flying!

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