United Airlines took to the airwaves with a one-minute recruiting commercial for its Aviate flight school during the Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys game Sunday.


  1. As long as it’s a merit based system that leads to rhe best pilots getting to the airlines I have no problem with reaching out to people that might not otherwise know how to become a pilot. Unfortunately, diversity, equity and inclusion is the antithesis of meritocracy. DEI has no place in a free society. I am afraid it has infected much of our system of educating and training people in safety sensitive industries such as Healthcare, aviation, air traffic control and the list goes on. DEI must be ripped out of every facet of our lives. The meritocracy is what made this country great and DEI will destroy it.

    Look around and you will see how DEI is already eroding standards in med schools, aviation, the military, in academia (unqualified leaders at seemingly elite institutions). The list goes on and on. Open your eyes before its too late for our country to recover.

    • What nonsense. DEI has never been about hiring the unqualified, unlike when we operated under the so-called meritocracy, where unqualified white people often were hired over more qualified minorities. DEI is about ensuring that we tap a talent pool that was systematically passed over in the old days. There are plenty of data showing DEI improves outcomes for companies and professions, compared to the lack of evidence presented by those who attack it, many of whom I expect are motivated by the desire to maintain a white dominated status quo.

      • People can see with their own eyes what’s happening. Claudine Gay is a perfect example. People that support DEI initiatives will use any excu

        • ….excuse to perpetuate the myth that you’re still getting the best candidates through DEI. We see what leftist systems have done to other countries. We can only hope that people wake up in time to stop them here in the greatest nation.

      • Standards have been lowered across the board at corporations and universities just to meet quotas. I am all for hiring the best qualified person now matter their color etc…..Just ask yourself as you get ready to have brain surgery “do I want the surgeon to be the best of the best or some one that went thru med school only because of their minority status? If you are truthful I know what your answer will be.

      • That’s so cute. You probably actually believe that.
        You’ve obviously never been in a safety-critical business where DEI became the foremost goal.
        (If you have, you had to be comatose or else just didn’t care.)
        The comment from Tom above is absolutely right: “diversity, equity and inclusion is the antithesis of meritocracy.”
        They cannot even coexist. One, by definition, displaces the other, if not totally, then to some non-zero extent.
        And therefore management HAS to decide what goals will actually guide their policy.
        For the new “woke” airline industry, especially at my former airline above, we saw that happening back when it was just called “affirmative action.”
        The new DEI label sounds more palatable to some, probably because the old name has been thoroughly debunked as a valid premise.
        Apparently, that sleight of hand is working.
        You bought into it.

        • Ron, you must have worked at a really bad airline run by incompetent managers if that is your experience.

      • What nonsense indeed. Over my 50+ years in aviation engineering I hired dozens of people never excluding anyone based on any criteria other than competence. And so did everyone I knew in the business. Only a fool destined for business failure would do anything else.

  2. Leading airlines like United, having succumbed to the DEI insanity, have gone out of their way in searching for pilots to tell white men they are not welcome. They are now reaping, what they sowed.

  3. The old dog whistle about only white men being the most qualified. I wonder why so many of the old white men are so fearful. Sad.

    • Where do you see that only white men can do these jobs. I work in the industry mentioned in the editorial piece above. I have several female family members that are pilots. I imagine they will tell you the same thing about DEI. Unfortunately, it has become a political issue for those on the left. Whenever someone points out exactly what DEI is it upsets them and they go on the attack. Doesn’t change the facts. Let merit be the determining factor about who reaches the highest levels of our industry and educational institutions.

    • I don’t think anyone is saying that “old white” men are the most qualified, you miss the point. I personally want to be a passenger in the back of the plane, or the patient having brain surgery with the best of the best, the most qualified no matter their minority status. Sadly a lot of corporations and universities in their desperation to attract minorities are willing to lower standards to accomplish their mission of DEI without looking down the road at the consequences of such craziness. My brother was kept out of Texas A&M vet school because of his gender. This was 35 years ago. He was better qualified than several of the women candidates, but in three years after graduating Texas A&M with a degree in Bio-medical sciences and a masters in epidemiology he could not even get an interview when the competition was women with degrees in animal husbandry. How about we remove gender, minority status, race etc from the applications and let the best applicant win? Let’s not add biases to accomplish so called fairness. As a check airman for a major US airline for 22 years and a total of 42 years as an airline pilot, I came across exceptionally great pilots of all genders and races. But I also saw minorities (and non minorities) that had no business being in the cockpit. One of them was an ex-navy fighter pilot who couldn’t even fly a successful missed approach in a B737 after many many extra training periods. Just how did this pilot make it thru the military. Scary

  4. As a pilot for 51 years in all levels of aviation and retired from American Airlines the comments here so far is the epitome of the problem. I cannot expressly strongly enough how utterly wrong the expressed opinions are. I don’t know what planet these men live on or what country but it cannot be the United States. The attitude and thinking behind the comments is what is and what will continue to destroy this country.

  5. And yet ANOTHER article about the pilot shortage and its hiring with NO MENTION, article about, or the staggering numbers of the lack of A&P’s. AVWEB will never do an article on the more severe mechanic shortage.

    2015 there were 340,000 certified A&P’s
    2020 there were 305,000 certified A&P’s with a net loss of 45,000 to the industry.
    Within these numbers there are about 30% certified but not active in the industry.

    Of the remaining numbers 63.5% of US, (I’m 59) are over the age of 50…..let that sink in.
    There is up to 30% of US retiring and or getting out of the industry each year.
    There is 4% of new A&P’s coming in the industry, all wanting top pay for no experience.

    With the airlines hiring every A&P school graduates with riduculous $10K signing bonus,GA is being GUTTED and there will be no shops that can support the 210,000 registered GA aircraft in the US.

    But keep the distraction up with this BS pilot shortage.

    • Not sure why you are so sour on this article or articles about pilot shortages. I agree that there is a very big looming problem with mechanic shortages as well. And I have also read articles about said shortages. As a 51 year pilot , 42 years as an airline pilot now flying corporate I want and need to have great technicians working on the aircraft that I fly or ride on. But you must understand that that even though your profession is a very large and important part of the aviation industry the pilots are the ones that get the glory. Just the facts. No disrespect for your profession but how many blockbuster films have you seen about aircraft mechanics?

      • Not sour one bit sir. 40 year plus as an aviation maintenance technician, pilot, DME, and shop owner. I am pointing out the MUCH BIGGER problem in aviation and NO ONE is addressing this issue. Mark my words, been doing this for decades and never have I seen such dismal facts of the lack of mechanics. You wont fully understand what I’m saying until your sitting at the gates with plane loads of passengers with a maintenance issue and no one to fix it on a daily basis.

        And secondly, most commercial pilots own GA airplanes, and good luck finding reputable shops still open to service those planes. The 63.5% over the age of 50 is the wake up call, the check engine light is on….people in this industry better wake up, its happening and no one is doing anything to address this problem.
        Show me the article that AVWEB has ever done on this topic.

        • I read more than AVweb, so it might be a challenge to find the article(s) that I have read. Trust me the airlines know there is a shortage of A&Ps. Can’t understand why the airline managers denied that there was/is a pilot shortage as well as mechanic shortage. I highly respect your profession but the news media seems to think that stories about pilots is what the public wants to see. Since being forced out of my job by age mandate by the FAA, I now ride as a passenger which can be kind of scary knowing who the airlines are hiring.

          • Why limit your comments to “airline managers” when your own unions deny there is a shortage of pilots? I agree there is a shortage in all areas but maybe the real issues is the entire industry trying to do more than it’s capable of doing. Just how many flights do they think they can operate before saturating the system? They already know as it happens with almost any heavy travel period. And the measure of success with the airframe builders seems to be how many can be sold and produced in a given year, not necessarily producing a safe product. They obviously can’t find decent help either.
            The FAA can’t find qualified applicants to fill their needs so we have tired and overworked controllers. The truth of the matter is, they bought into the DEI thing not because they think it’s the right thing to do, they did it because they have no choice. They are desperate to find help. The standards are dropping in every facet of the transportation system and that long string of luck we’ve been riding is showing signs that are being ignored. That commercial is the most disingenuous spiel I’ve ever seen come out of the industry.

        • I agree the A&P field needs help. I heard recently that there’s been an uptick in interest in the trades in general so hopefully that will include the Aviation Techs.

    • A&P shortage is going to kill small GA. Graduates of the schools go straight to the airlines now. Used to do a few years with GA first.

      • It is not written in stone that an aircraft mechanic must attend a school to acquire an AP license. Especially true of GA mechanics as many received the ticket working at local shops and FBOs. Many, if not the majority of mechanics in airline operations work under a repair station license doing very specific tasks under the supervision of the station certificate holder. No AP required.

        What rubs me about the system is I’ve seen so many of those workers build the necessary time to take a test doing one specific task day in and day out, get an affidavit, go to a weeklong quick course and walk off with an AP license. Soon to be found pencil whipping an annual inspection on an aircraft they know nothing about. And sometimes the opposite. It’s been twenty years since I worked on them, Thirty, since I supervised them and I haven’t seen any changes to that system. So, comparing technicians (APs) to pilots isn’t reality. It takes a licensed mechanic to sign off an affidavit saying you have two years’ experience as a mechanic and you’re in. To become a pilot of a commercial aircraft takes a whole lot more than that.

  6. I scrolled down to the comments to find some informed discussion on the merits of 1500hrs, cost of training, the pilot union etc… Was pretty disappointed to find a bunch of comments about how there were no white guys in the commercial. I honestly didn’t even notice while watching.

    Maybe we just have different perspectives due to generational differences (I’m probably 30 years younger than the average commenter on these posts). Despite that, it shouldn’t take more than a few boomer brain cells to know that United isn’t looking to make a dent in the pilot shortage by hiring 60 year old white dudes.

    Cool commercial. Go Pack Go.

      • That kind of comment is really not helpful. He is just as qualified to make comments here as anyone else. Denigrating him is disrespectful and should not be allowed here or anywhere.

        • You clearly did not read his post. It made no sense and he was just trolling from mom’s basement in-between playing video games pretending to be a real man. His post states that comments said people were upset about no white men being in the commercial. I did not see any posts stating that. Also, bemoaned something about boomers and brain cells. If i was as sensitve as you are I would want his post banned for being mean to “boomers”. Maybe you can get Avweb to delete my post since you seem to feel comments that you don’t like should “not be allowed”.

          • I don’t think it should be removed or deleted. I just think you could and should have more respect for other peoples opinions.

      • Why do you say he makes no sense. Maybe to you he doesn’t but to me he does. As an CA/instructor on the 747 at a ACMI carrier at the beginning of the pilot shortage and not having a great contract I saw the worse of the worse in our new hires. There were some great, mostly good, and the the occasional, who hired this person? I saw very attractive women who had gotten there through their looks, fighter pilots who could not adjust to a multi crew environment, alcoholics who fell off the wagon due to training pressure, a dyslexic who until then had memorized everything in the military King Air, and my favorite a guy who was a great pilot but couldn’t see. He had multiple lenses in his glasses and would have to move his head up and down to find the right focal point for what distance he was looking at. Guess what? They were all white guys and gals. My experience is that color in pilots is a non-issue.

        United has a good idea I think. Doesn’t matter your race or gender, as long as you keep the standards high you will have an effective training program. United is tapping into a group that has lots of potential high quality members.

        You may be wondering what happened to those pilots I mentioned above? Sadly the eye guy and the dyslexic who were very good stick’s didn’t make it. They did however find jobs on smaller aircraft at private companies. The alcoholic quit on his own and just disappeared. The women eventually passed, struggled through IOE, passed recurrent, and then were hired by Legacy carriers. To their credit, they did progress the entire time they were at the airline.

    • That’s just another indication that the DEI-obsessed managements have indeed hoodwinked your generation into thinking that what matters is the color of one’s skin or their sex chromosomes, and not their competence.
      You might want to try listening to a few people who have actual experience and who have worked in the industry, instead of just dismissing them as irrelevant “boomers.”
      But you probably won’t. It’s easier to just go along with the latest “woke” fad.
      Your TikTok friends will love you.

      • Ron claims to have worked for an airline and have first hand experience. I seriously doubt his bona fides.

  7. As a 20,000+ hour pilot, 9 type ratings and 60 plus years in the air, I was significantly underwhelmed by this Aviate add. In my career i have flow with very good pilots who are women and people of color. They got into the seats on the flight deck due to their meriting the opportunity. DEI is racist and woke just doesn’t have any place in aviation. The CFI route to the flight deck of an airliner is horrible “time”. Those going towards a career in flight need cross country, night and real instrument time. Talk to ATC in action and experience what it is and takes to be a professional. This add is junk.

  8. It is extremely discouraging to see people expressing such ignorance and bigotry. DEI is neither a panacea nor a mistake. It is one step in addressing the variety that is found in the human population.

    Yes, many people are different from you, but that does not make them less. And the way intelligence and talent manifest themselves varies across humanity.

    Women think differently than men. Blacks have different life experiences than whites. Those who served in the military are changed by that experience, but the consequences of the changes are not at all the same.

    My career has required I work with people across large swaths of humanity, including gender, nationality, ethnicity, education, and other factors. I find something of value in nearly everyone I meet. You who see DEI as eroding humanity are missing the simplest point – that who you are is not the best of humanity. Neither am I, of course, so blending my talents and life experiences with those of others is a way to improve the whole.

    • Are you in accounting or some other field where nobody can get hurt if competency and merit are not the deciding factors in who succeeds? DEI is a political movement nothing more. It has no place in a free market system. We can only hope that eventually it will die of its own weight. Harvard University has done the world a favor by allowing it to be exposed for all to see.

      • Tom, why do you keep insisting that qualifications and merit are not part of DEI? They are. It isn’t a political issue. People like you make it one. We need all the people we can get in aviation and everyone is casting the net wider than we did before. If any of these people don’t make the grade they are tossed. Standards still apply. They always will. DEI does NOT reduce the standards or competency that must be met. It doesn’t. Quit saying it does. Not true. Fake.

        • Claudine Gay at Harvard University. Its clearly a political issue if one is intellectually honest about the issue. Everyone that looks at it in an unbiased way can see it. I would venture to say you have a subconscious bias about DEI. BTW, why do they use the word “equity” if it is not about outcomes. Equal opportunity, absolutely. However, there should be no equal outcomes. That’s where merit determines the outcome. Or, should if not for DEI.

    • I think the gist of most of the opinions is that we want the best qualified in the cockpit, not someone who was hired purely for falling into some minority status, and I think you have to know that there are a large number of people in positions solely because of their minority status. That is quite frightening. I don’t like the thought of being a passenger in the back with anyone but the best qualified in the cockpit. How about removing everything on the application with regards to race, gender, age etc and hiring the ones that are the best qualified?

    • Your comment is actually a good argument for why you’re wrong.
      People disagreeing with you aren’t showing ignorance. They’re showing that they haven’t been devoured by the “woke” monster.
      Only the DEI folks care about your skin color or sex. Those of us opposed to it are not the racists or sexists.
      Those pushing for ANY consideration of those as qualifications for a job are.

  9. I am beginning to read articles about the lack of training/experience of upcoming pilots, where they need more and longer babysitting than in the past. I hope that’s not true because my daughter is one of them, but then again I trained her for her PPL and continue to mentor her through her CFI stage. If what I’ve been reading and hearing from my airline friends is true we hopefully can feel some comfort in the fact that airplane technology is spiking up, to where airplanes will fly themselves, as talent and skills diminish ( like an L/D chart) but remember when you book your Disney tickets in the future, that the one pilot up front came from the DEI world.

  10. “Becoming a pilot is just fourteen years of obsession and rigorous training
    “You’ll need imagination, not many pilots look like me”
    “You’ll have to pass test, after test, after test”
    “You’ll need to learn aerodynamics, physics and meteorology
    “There’s a pilot shortage out there, and only the best can fix it. That’s why I’m here.
    (group) “And why we’re here.

    Acknowledging the hard work, dedication and effort needed is shown throughout the ad from an accurate sampling of my millennial son’s friends.
    Well done United.

    • I’m all for that part.

      But as the grandparent of a young pilot who just left the Aviate program for another airline, I can tell you it just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

      He was trained at a top-tier aviation university, as were both his father and I. But he was constantly frustrated by the over-arching goal of square-filling interfering with what should be a color-blind and sex-blind system based on merit.

      He’s just finishing his initial training at the other airline, and I hope his career progression will be less based on DEI goals, and more on his competence and performance.

      It’s just too bad his father and I couldn’t, for his sake, recommend that he stick with United, becoming a 3rd generation United pilot. The writing was already on the wall when I retired almost 10 years ago, after the CAL takeover of UAL management.

      I wish all of them the best. They are the ones who’ll have to protect us all from the bad effects of this crap. I hope they’re able to do so.

  11. I am a retired ATC and Master Pilot and CFII. I have worked with and flown with some great women and men and some dumbasses of ALL colors. When I was a young CFI our flight school had a stack of CFI applicants an inch thick. Now we have babies teaching babies in the airplane and the tower cab, and it scares me to death. No one is considering being a CFI as a career and THAT’s where we need ’em. I know a check airman of a major airline who flew with a new pilot whose total 1500 hours were rotor and his first line flight was with passengers. This is not a solution to the problem. DEI is not the problem. Not having a DeLorean to go back to fix the problem at its root is the problem. I have heartburn with this ad because (with some marketing intelligence) I don’t understand the message it’s trying to send. Being a pilot is easy? Or it’s hard? Does United hire experienced pilots only or hire anyone? Can you go from flying a Cirrus to a jumbo jet? It’s attention getting, but I don’t see how it makes anyone want to sign up to take flying lessons. And while we’re talking DEI in general, when I started, women in aviation (ATC, pilots, mechanics) were about 6% of all, maybe less. After 50 years women make up 8%. Something is wrong somewhere. There are many many many things wrong with the industry, and I sure don’t know the fix. At least someone somewhere it doing something to try to make a dent in fixing what’s going on.

  12. Wow, looks like I sparked an avalanche of AWOG fear and hostility. I love anything that pisses off Trumpkins. What fun!

  13. Notice United’s slogan “Good leads the way”? Ironic. Always thought BEST leads the way and GOOD fills in any gaps later.
    It may be a decade before statistics [plus tragic headlines] irrefutably establish what logic can tell us now: that true EEO and meritocracy work but DEI and affirmative action are threats to public safety. It may take longer because liberal/PC enclaves like the ASU School of Public Affairs sure as hell won’t let anyone do doctoral research on it… knowing the conclusions that will most likely be reached.

  14. I’m not surprised that a liberal like SteveCK brought their idiotic, Marxist, left wingnut opinion into a discussion (until his comment above – Trumpkin) that was directed toward a career with incredible benefits, but also strong demands. Something the woke DEI crowd have no way of bypassing other than with their political drivel. Give SteveCK a participation trophy! It’s obviously the only thing he has earned.

  15. Back in the mid 1960’s; I believe 1964/65?; UA aired a Tv Commercial of a teenager flying a Cessna 150 with the voice over of: If you can fly THIS plane; then you can fly THIS plane .”
    … with a cutaway to a UA B-727.
    At that time, I was good friends with Al Norby, a check airman for UA, and a USAF (Res.) Major who told me that the UA Tv Commercial was aimed at the young people, teenagers, of the population that were student pilots or newly minted low time PPL’s to consider an airline crew member’s career if they had not already done so. Remember this was in the era of 3 holers, UA B-720’s, and the last of the DC-6’s/7’s that also seated an F/E.
    If I remember correctly– there might have even been a ” consideration ” offered by United to such interested and ‘rated’ folks in either monetary assistance towards some type of inhouse flight academy training to obtain the COMM/ATP ( ATP at aged 23 however), & Instrument or
    in ” tuition assistance.” — This was the ‘Nam era.

  16. Despite what the FAA or an airline says, quality standards MUST be lowered to meet silly and potentially fatal DEI quotas. Otherwise, those ‘goals’ would already be filled qualified folks.

  17. Ron, thanks for showing your TRUE colors. I never doubted for a split second you were a full-on racist.

    Nobody here wants unqualified pilots. NO ONE. But encouraging folks who otherwise wouldn’t consider it at all a shot is not the same as “passing them thru because they’re black and ha ha I can’t understand what they are saying.”

    Nasty fringe right folks are in for a rude awakening. This country won’t allow racism and any other isms to lead the way.

    To sum it up, like your false pretense for hating “wokism” : Your beloved orange pig is just bacon pretending its filet.

  18. 99.9% of all fatal aviation accidents in US history have been piloted by white males. I think it’s high time we let a few women and non-white males take a crack at it. –57yo white male pilot

    • 99.9% of traffic accidents involve a sober driver. Should we encourage everybody to drive drunk? Get those damn sober drivers of the highways!

  19. “……but how many blockbuster films have you seen about aircraft mechanics?”


    Alex, who was Joe Patroni?

    I’ll take “Stuck Planes” for $400.

  20. Candi Kubeck was the Captain on ValuJet 592 and was the first female to die in an airliner crash.

    Females in the cockpit are at single digits and we go for ten to fifteen years accident free so the odds are astronomical of another accident with a female in the cockpit.

    That said WN1380 and AS1282 both popped the cork with females in the cockpit, what are the odds?

  21. My issue with that commercial is they fail to show the downsides of a professional airline pilots’ life. And there are many. They’re relying on the good old glory walk to lure their recruits.

    Maybe a mention of the thousands of hours and the expense of acquiring them? Once you make it there, the many years of flying relief or reserve at wages not much if any above other fields that require similar credentials. The time spent away from home at remote bases sitting around the terminals with delays and cancellations. Having a normal family life is a struggle constantly missing family and school events, ball games and most likely Christmas. The travel to and from those bases that’s on your own time and nickel. The flop house life style while you’re waiting for the call from the scheds. The time spent at computers bidding decent patterns and flying the worst of them in all sorts of nasty conditions.

    Finally, a permanent position in the right seat at your preferred base but to move to the left where those “elite” sit means you start all of that all over again. Then, worst of all, a required six month visit for a medical exam that can and does many times end it all right there. The ever-present chance your line will fail either through BK or mergers leaving you right back down on bottom of you new jobs seniority list. If you lucky to get hired. Furloughs that on average happen three times during a normal pilot’s career. One DUI and you’re out and you best make sure you never breathe your buddies second hand pot or take a pill that may help your cold but end your career.

    It seems they failed to mention all of that. The old adage, you spend half your career getting to the left seat, the other half trying to get out of it, should be mentioned. And guess what? Those facts apply to all skin colors and sexual preferences. The hardest part is not getting hired, the hardest is staying. Welcome to the wonderful world of aviation. Don’t worry folks. Most of these modern day spoiled snowflakes will never have the fortitude to make a career out of it. Those that do, welcome. You’ll have earned it.

    • Does the medical industry tell aspiring doctors what the schooling is like? Do engineers? Why would you expect a company recruiting candidates to tell them about the bad side. Isn’t that up to the candidates?

  22. You need to fairly wealthy to survive the first few years of the journey. That discounts 95% of the US population and the remaining 5% have no interest in doing shift work.

    • In this area of the pilot shortage you actually don’t. Take the loans at Aviate, go to Mesa Pilot development and build time at $25.00/hr that Mesa loans you. (About a year you live in poverty) Get hired at Mesa at 1500 hours. Pay $100,000.00. Mesa deducts loan amount over you tenure. Get into left seat at Mesa. 3 years later in new hire class at United through Aviate program.

      Not seeing the need to be wealthy. It was definitely a requirement 3 years ago.