On a compass rose, 225° is the southwest heading, and Destination 225° was developed to lead aspiring pilots to Southwest Airlines. You may have heard that there’s a potential pilot shortage across the industry. With demand for qualified and skilled pilots only increasing, Destination 225° provides several pathways designed to meet future aviators where they are at their current experience level and create opportunities to take them to the right seat of our Southwest aircraft.
Today, we’re fortunate to attract top candidates to fill our Pilot positions at Southwest Airlines; however, we see a potential shortage ahead. There are many contributing factors, from barriers to entry (money, time) to military draw down to heavy retirements hitting the industry in the next decade. Destination 225° will help us reduce our dependency on the open market by creating opportunities for future pilots to be trained on how to fly and, specifically, how to fly the Southwest Way.
There is no cost to apply; however, candidates advancing through the selection process will be responsible for all costs incurred, including but not limited to:
Once selected, participants will be responsible for all associated costs of the program.
The cost for each pathway varies.
We’re excited that Destination 225° provides avenues for veterans who want to pursue a career as a Southwest Airlines Pilot. Because the pathways vary, we are still determining where the GI Bill might apply.
The Destination 225° pathways are full-time commitments and will require 100 percent focus during the training period. Once the initial training stages are complete (approximately 12 months for the Cadet pathway), participants may have their first opportunity to get paid while flying!
Yes! At Southwest Airlines, Employees are encouraged to consider pursuing the career of their dreams, whether on land or in the air. Employee-specific information on Destination 225° is on SWALife >My Life >Career >Destination 225°.
Yes … and maybe more than once. For example, the Cadet pathway training is based in Phoenix, and you may need to relocate to a different city while building your flight hours.
Each pathway has different requirements, but you should expect to relocate during your time in Destination 225°.
Facility visits differ for each pathway. As you advance through the interview stage of the selection process, you are welcome to ask more about your particular pathway and possible facility visits.
While a job at Southwest Airlines is not guaranteed, Destination 225° was created to equip participants with the skills needed to start their career as a Southwest First Officer and is designed to build a pipeline of talented Pilots for Southwest. Neither acceptance into nor successfully completing the program guarantees employment or re-employment at Southwest Airlines.
Our Destination 225° pathways are designed to set you up for a successful flying career through a rigorous and challenging training program. However, failure to successfully complete any of the requirements or training areas or meet the expectations of Southwest Airlines or its partners may lead to removal from the program.
You can, but the Cadet pathway is designed for someone starting without previous flight experience. Prior flight time does not provide any advantages during the application and selection process or reduce the cost of training.
As we launch this exciting program, we selected these particular university partners for a number of reasons, to include the quality of their program and geography. But we expect our number of university partners to continue to grow!
In the meantime, aviators from other university programs are encouraged to apply to our Campus Reach college internships. A successful internship can lead to acceptance into the Destination 225° University pathway, though applicants will still be expected to meet the basic requirements of each program, respectively.
Learn more about the qualifications to become a First Officer at Southwest Airlines at https://careers.southwestair.com/pilots.
Learn more about the Southwest Airlines First Officer position and application process here: https://careers.southwestair.com/pilots.
Individuals who already meet the qualifications and experience required to become a Pilot at Southwest Airlines should apply through the traditional hiring process. Find more information at https://careers.southwestair.com/pilots.
In particular, the Cadet pathway is designed for someone without previous flight experience, so prior flight time does not provide any advantages during the application process or reduce the cost of training.
Our Pilots are guaranteed a certain amount of Trips for Pay each month and are paid for each trip based on the number of years they have been with Southwest and in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Pilots are also paid a per diem based on the amount of time they are away from base.
Pilots have “trading privileges,” which allow them to pick-up, trade, and give away their trips at their own discretion.
More than just a paycheck, a career at Southwest Airlines comes with several WorkPerks, from Southwest’s legendary Culture to travel privileges for Employees and their eligible dependents. Southwest offers an excellent benefits package, including currently a very generous non-elective 15 percent contribution in the 401(k) plan that vests automatically, subject to certain compensation limits, as well as a ProfitSharing Plan.
Southwest domiciles—also referred to as bases—are where a Pilot’s trip typically begins and ends. Our domicile locations include ATL, BWI, MDW, DAL, DEN, HOU, LAS, LAX, OAK, MCO, and PHX.
Southwest Pilots bid on their domiciles. Opportunities in each city are based on demand, and this process takes into account seniority, so not all locations may be available during your initial domicile selection.