Rick L, I need to take issue with some points in your posting as they are wrong and misleading.
From the top. Instructing is a noble trade and a very hard way to earn your weeks wages. It was the well worn route in the past but recently people have
been taking instructor hours less seriously. Its another topic altogether and I don't really want to get side tracked. Ryanair have taken plenty of guys and gals on with the bare minimums. My point is that having instructor hours gives no distinct advantage to an applicant. Its wrong but its true.
Ryanair have no scheduled overnights. So you wont be getting to see the world, but a lot of airports, sometimes numerous times in one day. Ryanair have also lead the way in charging new recruits for type ratings, A type rating is training you need to fly an airliner, in this case the 737-800. The vast majority now charge for these and they are eye wateringly expensive. Ryanait charge for the type rating AND the line training. The cost is closer to Euro 40,000.
if you want to fly for a european airline you will need a JAA licence rather than an FAA (FAA is the american standard, its basically exactly the same licence but you know bureaucracy)
An Faa licence in Europe is not even worth the paper it is printed on. I have Faa licences and I found them to be the most practical. Again thats a
discussion for anther day. What you may be confused about is JAA licence s in the US. There are a number of schools licenced and approved by the CAA, the British Aviation Authourity. These licences are perectly acceptable in Europe.
the upshot being they gurantee you an interview for Delta or one of its sisters
As an Irish Citizen this door is closed to you. This is for people who have the right to live and work in the US. To be honest the place is a factory pumping out guys at a furious rate. I can't remember the exact figures but thousands have gone through and they take maybe less than 50 for the airline so its really a carrot they dangle to attract students. Also the Big schools like Flight Safety, Pan Am and Delta have huge overheads and massive facilities. They charge accordingly.
Having recently come through the system I would offer the following advice. Do as much research as humanly possible. There is a wealth of information on the Web. Check www.pprune.org
and ask on here too of course! People are very fickle when picking schools. They go for the school with the biggest advert in the flying mags or the best website. I would stay away from the big schools. They charge $20K more for exactly the same licences. Despite what anyone says, there is no "School tie" network in Flying. No one cares where the licence comes from, it doesnt say it on the Licence.
I did all my flying in America and my IR in Ireland. When I first looked into doing it here I didnt deem the schools to be really up to scratch. I did the IR in weston and I was really amazed how things had changed. There has been a very significent investment in the place. They had a proper sim. There is going to be proper radio nav. aids soon.
My point is that had it been like that when I was leaving I might have stayed and done it all here. I am also able to live at home instead of living in the US for 14 months. I estimate this would have saved me about $15-20K. Although training is far cheaper in the US this might have balanced it out. I would have also have been able to continue working and earning some money.
Phew!!!! Thats a lot t get off my chest. Longest post ever on Flyinginireland?
If you have any more questions Liam fire away and I will certainly have a go.