Careers Aviation
051417_JetBlue Stephan Savoia/AP

In this Jan. 20, 2011, photo, a JetBlue logo is displayed on the side of a jet as it taxis at Boston's Logan International Airport.

September 14, 2017

Apparently you don’t even need to have flown a plane to become a JetBlue pilot now

Airlines around the country are having trouble finding enough people who want to be pilots.

The career, which hit its heyday in the more glamorous mid-20th-century era depicted on shows like "Mad Men," has declined in prestige quite a bit. Salaries aren’t competitive in the field, and the caliber once associated with a career in aviation just isn’t what it once was.

A number of long-running factors are to blame for this current state of the aviation industry. Business Insider reported that pilot training alone can cost upward of $100,000, though regional airlines where the shortage is most dire typically pay first-year pilots around $20,000 annually.

Flight attendants, too, can expect dismal salaries starting out, often making even less than minimum wage during their first years on the job.

In response to this lack of staff resources, last year, JetBlue launched its Pilot Gateway Select Program, a recruitment program to fill pilot quotas that selects candidates interested in becoming pilots, trains them from scratch and places them as a JetBlue pilot. 

Now JetBlue is on the hunt for even more pilots and is looking for 24 new members of its Gateway Select Program. Little to no flight experience is required for admittance to the program.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to apply and will undergo four years of training once accepted. They must be at least 23 years old by the time training is over.

On par with most other training programs, JetBlue’s will charge about $125,000.

JetBlue is opening up the program to 24 spots and is accepting applications through the end of the month. Travel + Leisure reported it received 1,500 applications for 24 spots in the first week last year.