LANDING AT UNITED: Insights from a United Career Path Program (CPP) graduate


Dream of Driving a Dreamliner, Long for that Long Layover in Lima, Betting on Banking Big Bucks? Many of us pilots dream of flying for a Mainline Airline.

To answer your “How do I get there?”  and “Who can get me there the fastest?”, we lined up former CommutAir Captain and recent United Airlines Career Path Program graduate, Captain Larry, for a Q&A.

What’s YOUR story, Captain Larry?

  • I joined CommutAir after building time as a CFI. I was able to upgrade to Captain, become a simulator instructor and successfully complete the CPP Tests and Interview. And now here I am as a United Airlines First Officer. Couldn’t be more excited!

What’s your number #1 advice to aspiring Mainline pilots?

  • First: Be the best pilot you can be.  Your record is your baseline.  Be a true professional for the company, your customers, and your crew.  Let your work ethic and your record reflect that.
  • Second: Do things that set you apart from everyone else: become an instructor, check airman or pilot mentor. Volunteer for projects.  All mainline applicants know how to fly well, they are looking for applicants who differentiate themselves from others and stand out as leaders.

How to pick the best Regional?

  • That’s an easy question. If your goal is to fly for a Mainline Airline, find the Regional that offers the fastest route!
  • Look for the one that is growing and can provide you opportunities. Growth will allow you to upgrade faster, accumulate hours, and build a resume that Mainline Airlines prefer.


So, which one?

  • Call me biased but look no further than CommutAir. I was given career progression opportunities that may not have been possible at other carriers. I was fortunate to become an instructor pilot shortly after upgrading. And, unlike other carriers, simulator instruction time accumulated at CommutAir counts towards the CPP PIC hour requirements!
  • Plus, with the forecasted growth at CommutAir, there’s not a better airline to join. The growth will help you craft your resume by upgrading, building time, and tackling other roles that Mainline Airlines prefer.
  • Oh! And read the fine print and the asterisks when you do your research. All Regionals pitch “best pay, fastest to Mainline, yadda yadda!”

How does one nail the Interview and the Test?

  • You will make millions over the course of your career. So treat the interview like the multimillion-dollar opportunity that it is.  I took my interview as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And prepare-prepare-prepare.
  • Same goes for the test – rest well, take a little time to contemplate about yourself, indulge in some introspection, and most importantly, be yourself.
  • Invest in yourself by utilizing professional resources as much as you can. Check with your Recruiting department and Union Reps for interview prep material.

Any final piece of advice?

  • Keep your phone handy when you hit the PIC hour threshold! At least that was the case at CommutAir when I received the call and email from United outlining my next steps, class dates, and training schedule at 1,100 PIC hours. The fastest route to United is by hitting 1,000 PIC hours, and CommutAir offers the lowest CPP PIC requirement, so fly as much as possible!

Did you ever think flying for United would come this early in your career?

  • Not at all. If not for the CommutAir CPP, the path to United would have been much more difficult or may not have happened at all! The application process is also surprisingly simple and straightforward.
  • A chance to even take United’s Hogan Assessment Test is an opportunity that thousands of other pilots may never have, and all we (CommutAir pilots) have to do is register for it!
  • All you need to do is apply, meet your requirements, and fly! I wish Good Luck to everyone reading this!

Want to ask Larry about how to join CommutAir and get into the United Career Path Program?   Email him at

Also, you can visit, or call us at 440-779-4588 ext. 399.