Skip to main content

Why flow is so important if you want to fly for American Airlines

Flying a widebody aircraft for a legacy airline is a big dream for any pilot. Major airlines, including American Airlines, Delta and United receive thousands of pilot applications every year.

At American, military pilots and pilots who fly for a wholly owned regional airline make up 90% of all pilots hired. That means unless you’re flying for a branch of the military or hired by a subsidiary, your chance of landing an interview at American is low – and your chance of getting hired is even lower. That’s why choosing the right “entry-level” job is so important.

In 2014, Piedmont entered an agreement with American Airlines that allows any pilot who wishes to transition from Piedmont to American to do so – no questions asked.

This was the foundation of a revolutionary program known as “flow.”

How does the flow agreement between Piedmont and American work?
Piedmont has a long-term, renewable agreement to place pilots at American Airlines in
order of seniority. Each month, Piedmont pilots can opt in or opt out of the flow. Once the monthly bid closes, Piedmont will send the most senior pilots who opted in to American.

New hires must be with Piedmont for one year before opting in to the flow.

How is the Piedmont-to-American flow different from other programs?
Piedmont is the only airline headquartered on the East Coast that has a flow agreement with American Airlines. Other airlines promise a “pathway” or “preferential interview” to a legacy airline. If you are not guaranteed a job at a legacy airline, that program is not a true flow.

Most major airlines require a four-year degree to apply. Can I flow to American without one?
Yes. If you are hired by Piedmont, you can flow to American without a four-year degree. If you wish to pursue a four-year degree while at Piedmont, we offer partnerships with universities for discounted tuition.

How long will I fly for Piedmont before I flow to American?
Pilots transitioning to American in March 2020 were hired by Piedmont in July 2015, or about 4.9 years. Pilots hired today can expect to flow to American in about five years.

What can I expect while I fly for Piedmont?
You’ll train at the American Airlines Training Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and receive an American Airlines ID number your first day of class. You will also be given full flight benefits on American Airlines.

Piedmont pilots spend very little time on reserve, which means you build hours and experience quickly. Pilots are also offered the opportunity to pick up extra flying for premium rates. Pilots can upgrade as soon as they reach 1000 hours of Part 121 time and 2500 hours of total time – usually in about 15 to 18 months.

Is Piedmont offering any incentives to pilots?
Yes. Piedmont pilots start at $50 per hour (more for premium rates) and receive $18,000 in bonus money. Pilots with Part 121 experience can score an additional bonus up to $17,500. Piedmont also offers ATP/CTP class to pilots at no cost.

Once hired by Piedmont, pilots can refer other pilots to the company for another bonus – up to $10,000 per pilot referral.

How soon can I start training at Piedmont?
Piedmont runs two training classes per month, so chances are, as soon as you’re ready to start, there will be a spot open.

Where can I get more information on the Piedmont-to-American flow agreement?
Find more information at You may also email or apply online at