Hiring Requirements for Southwest Airlines

Type of airline: U.S. Passenger

Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

Hubs: Operating bases in: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love, Denver, Houston-Hobby, Las Vegas, Oakland (CA), Orlando, Phoenix-Sky Harbor and focus cities: Austin, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Nashville, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose (CA), St. Louis, and Tampa with service to 100 destinations.

Origin: The company was founded in 1967 and began operations in 1971.


  • Live the Southwest Way: Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart, Fun LUVing Attitude
  • Work the Southwest Way: Safety and Reliability, Friendly Customer Service, Low Costs

Hiring Requirements: 

  • Certificates/Ratings: U.S. FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. Unrestricted U.S. ATP
  • 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 preferred. Southwest considers only Pilot time in fixed-wing aircraft. This specifically excludes simulator, WSO, RIO, FE, NAV, EWO, etc. “Other Time” will not be considered.
  • Currency: Experience should include actively flying two of the last five years.
  • FCC Radiotelephone Operator Permit.
  • 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.Must possess a valid United States Driver’s License and a valid passport or a Refugee Travel Document.
  • 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.*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 n the appropriate aircraft. Time logged as “Other Time” will not be considered.

    Military Conversion: Military Pilots may convert flight time by adding .3 hours per sortie.

    Applicants who have a B737 Type Rating must not have limitations other than “B-737 CIRC.APCH.-VMC ONLY” documented on their certificate.

Homepage: Southwest Airlines

Although we have tried to provide the most useful and accurate information here regarding hiring requirements for commercial airlines, we encourage you to confirm these requirements for yourself.

Our flight school provides the training you need to get started on your career with Southwest Airlines. Wishing you a great career as a commercial airline pilot and hoping you land your dream job!