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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Want to Fly for DELTA?

"Inspiration Strikes!" 

I had a great idea for all the future airline pilots. Specifically for those who would like to fly for Delta.  Inspired by a comment from Craig about "finding, yet, another one,"... in relation to the superstar Friday Flyers, and those wonderful essay contestants... I thought, "Wouldn't it be a great to provide these enthusiastic, motivated young people a guaranteed interview at Delta?"


The industry is going to have a pilot shortage. We should reward these outstanding superstars for their early achievements and focus, by putting them on a list to call when they have the minimum requirements.  A superstar database, so to speak. Let Delta have first access to the best of the best.

Plan in Motion...

I emailed a senior chief pilot to see "how to" formally make this employee suggestion. Shortly thereafter, I received a call from, and spoke to, one of our pilots who happens to be an assistant to that senior chief pilot, asking, "What's your idea?"

We had quite a talk and she told me "how to" get hired by Delta Air Lines. Better yet, she told me how to get on the "fast track" to Delta. And... she told me that I can blog about it, too! 

So... next week, future Delta Pilots,
I'm going to give you all the answers! 

  • What are the minimums, and is that enough?
  • Perspective on school... how important are grades?
  • How important is the college you attend?
  • Is pilot in command time essential?
  • How should I build my hours?
  • Does knowing someone make a difference? 
  • Diversity, does it matter? 
  • What does diversity mean anyway? 
  • Does failing a checkride matter? 

If you want to fly for Delta, take a stab at these questions above. Then the answers will come next week.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene


  1. What a fantastic idea Karlene! You never cease to amaze me with your wonderful spirit and imagination.

  2. Fantastic, Karlene. This could be great for aspiring pilots AND for Delta! Cool.

  3. That is a GREAT idea! Looking forward to hearing about it!

  4. Great idea. As a student pilot about to get my PPL, and wanting to fly professionally, these are the exact questions I want to known about.

  5. I'm on day 4 of a 4-day Delta Connection trip today. The first 3 days were Delta Shuttle. We fly the LGA-DCA shuttle and LGA-ORD. Delta does LGA-BOS on weekdays and we do it on weekends. I did 3 days of LGA-DCA ending with one leg of the ORD shuttle. Now the trip turns into a bit more normal trip with ORD-MSP-IND-DTW-IND today. I am continually impressed with Delta. I have yet to wait for rampers. Catering is always there and ready, the airplanes are cleaned very well between every leg (United does not do this, they clean poorly once a day). Even on shorter flights, the amenities provided for passengers are excellent. I do wish that more of this flying was done by Delta mainline because I think that the mainline employees can do more justice to the product, but I very much enjoy flying it. It makes me want to be a part of what I believe is the world's best airline even more so!

  6. 1.When you receive a reroute, how do you know what the wind direction/speed and temperature is at all of the new waypoints?
    2.When you receive an oceanic clearance, do you send a copy of the clearance to dispatch?

  7. -Minimums... posted on the website. I'm not sure what to think. They seem focused on non-flying items more than flying. Maybe some PIC required would be of value? And maybe the schooling requirements should be toned down.
    -Grades are likely important because it demonstrates you can do well in a training environment and are motivated.
    -What individual college you attend is probably not very important.
    -PIC time... 1000 turbine PIC is not essential, but any PIC (more than 100 hours) would be good.
    -Building hours - Delta seems to like military and regional captains.
    -I'm not sure if knowing someone makes a difference. I would sincerely hope it helps because if I was hiring I would highly value a recommendation from an employee.
    -Diversity is very important! It's great to have pilots with different backgrounds.
    -Actually defining diversity: different backgrounds?
    -I think failing a checkride makes a difference, but if it was early on and you've passed all since then, or something along those lines... probably not so much.

  8. Thanks for your comments Daniel! I'm glad you're continually impressed with Delta. That's great that we're getting it right on the connection status.

    Excellent answers! I'm excited to share with all the future pilots how the path to make their airline job a reality.

    Thanks so much for your comments!

  9. Anonymous, if the reroute is so far off our old route and would impact our flight, yes, we will tell them and Dispatch will send us an updated flight plan taking into account those items.

    However.. how do we know wind and temp? Our plane knows. We can read the wind and the temp on board.

    No... we don't send our clearance to Dispatch. They already know where we're going... they filed the flight plan. We do print and save.

    Also... I love your questions. But...if they don't apply to the particular blog, please email them to me and I can answer that way.

    Also... time for you to have a real name and register as a follower so I know who I'm writing to, and that you are sincere with your comments. Do that... and I'll continue to answer your many questions. Thank you.

  10. Karlene san!!
    I am really really looking forward to knowing these answers:)I think that the more I have opportunity to fly with passengers,the more I have chance to deliver passengers what I always feel when I go on board airplane.Also Delta airline has connection route to all over the world.So I have dreamed of becoming airline company such a big company which has both domestic and international routes .Anyway first thing first,and still need to study English language.Thank you very much.
    Have a wonderful day.
    I won't miss next week answer:)

  11. What are the minimums, and is that enough?- I have been told to apply even before you meet mins...also depends on the economy/hiring at the time
    Perspective on school... how important are grades?- I agree with Daniel on this one- Delta told us GPA is one of the first things they look at- higher GPA=more likely to make it through initial training
    How important is the college you attend?- I think this depends on who you talk to- I would like to think big aviation schools are looked at favorably, since the airline knows what kind of training you recieved versus part 61. As far as the actual degree goes it doesn't matter
    Is pilot in command time essential?-Yes and no-they would prefer it, however it isnt essential- The head of hiring for Delta was at my school a few weeks ago- he said they hire plenty of regional f/os, however having PIC turbine doesn't hurt obviously
    How should I build my hours? I would say CFI for a bit, then regional...if you can't make it to a regional, do some freight or charter
    Does knowing someone make a difference? I believe so...after all, the common theme in aviation is it isn't what you know its who you know!
    Diversity, does it matter? I think it does
    What does diversity mean anyway? Same as Daniel-different backgrounds
    Does failing a checkride matter- yes and no- again, the head of Delta hiring said a string of failures attracts attention...if it is one or two, it isn't the end of the world, but obviously one should try not to fail.
    Looking forward to the answers!

  12. My comment is gone! Darn blogger gremlins! I think this is a fantastic idea Karlene and I'm excited to see the outcome! You are the best. :)

  13. Jun, Thank you for the comment. You will do whatever you want because you have passion, and aren't afraid of hard work! I hope that one day you'll come and fly with Delta too! They will be lucky to have you as one of our pilots.

  14. Dan, Excellent answers. You did talk to someone in Delta. That's great! I'm now excited to share with everyone what diversity means with the airline industry. At least with Delta! Thanks so much for your comment!

  15. Heather, ahhh.... thank you so much for the really nice comment. You are so sweet!!!So.. Do you think blogger was hungry? We shall tell it to eat elsewhere. But then, you do have sweet comments. :)


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