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Fly the Plane

Southwest Airlines Pilot Application Requirements

  • Certificates/Ratings: U.S. FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. Unrestricted U.S. Type Rating on a B-737 not required for interview, but required for employment1. "B-737 CIRC.APCH.-VMC ONLY" limitation is accepted.
  • Age: Must be at least 23 years of age.
  • Flight Experience: 2,500 hours total or 1,500 hours Turbine total. Additionally, a minimum of 1,000 hours in Turbine aircraft as the Pilot in Command is required2. Southwest considers only Pilot time in fixed-wing aircraft. This specifically excludes simulator, WSO, RIO, FE, NAV, EWO, etc. NO other time is counted.3
  • Currency: Experience must include actively flying two of the last five years.
  • Medical: Must possess a current FAA Class 1 Medical Certificate. Must pass FAA mandated Drug Test.
  • Authorization to work in the United States: Must have established authorization to work in the United States.
  • Driver's License: Must possess a valid United States Driver's License.
  • Education: graduation from accredited, four-year college preferred.
  • Letters of Recommendation: At least three letters from any individuals who can attest to the pilot's flying skills, by having observed him/her over a sustained period of time.


Pilot base locations: Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Orlando, Chicago, Baltimore, Oakland, and Las Vegas

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Southwest Airlines is an equal opportunity employer.

A Candidate may apply without a B-737 Type Rating. If a candidate interviews and successfully completes the entire selection process, he/she has six months from the date to obtain a B-737 Type Rating to be eligible for hire. 

2 PIC for this purpose is defined as Captain/Aircraft Commander of record, not simply the sole manipulator of the controls. For military personnel, Southwest Airlines will allow flight time logged as "Pilot in Command" (PIC) only if you are the Captain/Aircraft Commander, Evaluator, or Instructor Pilot. Primary time will only be considered PIC on a specific aircraft after an individual upgrades to Aircraft Commander in the appropriate aircraft. Time logged as "Other Time" will not be considered. 

3 Military Conversion: When converting taxi time a conversion factor of .3 or 18 minutes, per leg/sortie should be used. These guidelines are imposed by Southwest Airlines for the purpose of standardizing the calculation of flight time.

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