Southwest Airlines has announced that a window is open for pilots to apply to work for the airline. The window closes March 20.

It is common for major airlines to accept pilot applicants only during limited time periods. They then choose pilot applicants to interview for up to several months after the window closes.

To apply to work as a first officer for Southwest Airlines the airline has stated the following minimum qualifications:

  • USA DOT/FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate With Airplane Multiengine Land rating
  • USA DOT/FAA First Class Medical Certificate and, if applicable, any necessary Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate (Authorization) or Statement of Demonstrated Ability ( SODA) issued by the Federal Air Surgeon
  • Valid United States Drivers License
  • Valid passport allowing travel across US boarders or a Refugee Travel Document
  • High School diploma or equivalency required with Graduation from an accredited four-year college preferred

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Required flight experience to apply to Southwest Airlines pilot position:

  • 2500 hours total flight time or 1,500 hours total flight time in a turbine aircraft required
  • Minimum of 1,000 hours in a Turbine aircraft as the Pilot in Command preferred. Only time in a fixed wing aircraft is counted, this specifically excludes simulator, helicopter, WSO, RIO, FE, NAV,EWO and UAV.
  • Actively flying for 2 of the last 5 years is preferred

Summary of Southwest Airlines Pilot Job

Southwest Airlines Pilot Hourly Rate

Year B737 (CA) B737 (FO)
12 258 180
11 255 178
10 252 176
9 250 172
8 247 170
7 244 166
6 241 161
5 238 155
4 236 141
3 233 128
2 230 115
1 227 79

Southwest Airlines Pilot
Monthly guarantee: 78 hours
Reserve guarantee: 79 hours
2016 profit sharing: 13.2%
Captain Upgrade: 11 years

Pilot Retirement Plan

Southwest Airlines does not have 401K match for pilots. They have a Money Purchase Pension Plan, also known as a B Plan, with the following recent contributions (percentage of salary):

1/1/2017: 13.4%
1/1/2018: 14.2%
1/1/2019: 15.0%

Southwest Airlines Pilot Bases

  • Baltimore/Washington International Airport – BWI
  • Dallas Love Field Airport – DAL
  • Denver International Airport – DEN
  • William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, TX – HOU
  • McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, NV – LAS
  • Orlando International Airport – MCO
  • Chicago Midway International Airport – MDW
  • Oakland International Airport – OAK
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport – PHX
  • Atlanta International Airport – ATL

Southwest Airlines Fleet

Southwest Airlines operates 734 Boeing 737s, mixed between -700/-800/Max 8 variants. The airline has 309 Boeing 737s on order. The airline currently employees 9473 pilots.

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About Greg Thomson

Greg started his professional pilot journey in 2002 after graduating from Embry Riddle. Since that time he has accumulated over 7,000 hours working as a pilot. Greg’s professional experience includes flight instructing, animal tracking, backcountry flying, forest firefighting, passenger charter, part 135 cargo, and flying for a regional airline. Greg took a 5 year hiatus from flying and worked in software development and marketing. He has since returned to flying as a cargo pilot. Greg enjoys educating and helping pilots improve their professional lives and is passionate about applying technology and new methods to help with traditional challenges.