Landing the airline job is not the hard part these days. Getting the interview is the really hard part. Airlines get thousands of resumes. Every one of those pilots has thousands of hours in heavy equipment. The only way to get an airline to look at you, in today's market, is to have someone on the inside who can get your resume moved over to the "short stack". It's those people that get the interviews, and most of the time, the jobs. I know people who were 22 years old, with no college degree and no jet time whatsoever, that have gotten hired at a major airline because both of their parents worked there.
More hours is not necessarily better. Once you reach a certain point (after a couple of years flying professionally), it doesn't really matter anymore. Also, having military time makes a difference. A military person getting out may have less than 2000 hours and may be more competitive than a regional airline captain with 4,000 or 5,000 hours. It also helps if you have time as a captain of a jet/turbo-prop
The only way to increase your chances of getting hired, today, is to get to know the right people who can get you in. There aren't many good airlines hiring these days, and all the regional airline captains and furloughed pilots are going after those jobs.
Furloughed means you are getting fired but with the promise of getting your job back. An airline does it when they need to get rid of pilots. It is based on seniority. So, if the airline needs to get rid of 200 pilots, the 200 most recently hired pilots get axed. When the airline needs pilots again, they recall the furloughed pilots first in seniority order. It could be a very long time to get recalled. I know pilots who have been furloughed for periods of up to 10 years. There's a saying in this industry that goes something like "an airline will hire until they need to fire and fire until they need to hire".
Tough business. Have a backup career.
Furloughed is the same as being "laid off", only you retain your seniority number, meaning that those with the most seniority get re-hired first if the company recovers. The last people hired are always the first to be laid off. It's based on hire date. What are the chances of being re-hired? That depends. It could be weeks, months or years. If you go to work for another airline in the interim you have to resign your seniority. In my 23 year career, I spent a little over 6 years on furlough. I was never re-hired by the two companies I was laid off from because one eventually went out of business and I resigned my seniority with the other since I couldn't stay out of work any longer waiting to go back to work. You will find that this is not an uncommon story.
How hard is it to get hired on with the airlines? It is one of the harder professions you can choose if you want to get to the top as far as salary goes. About 1/2 of the commercial pilots in the USA work for airlines, but only about half of the approximate 80,000 airline pilots fly for the "majors". That means your chances are about 25% if you are "average". These figures do not take into account all the people who start out with the goal of being a professional pilot, but give up and change careers. The 10-year projections are for the overall number of flying jobs to increase in the USA, but the ratio of major airline jobs to other flying jobs is predicted to decrease.
More hours is always better, but the quality of time counts too. One interview I went on didn't like that I had only instructed, which is a lot of just basic flying, nothing like what I do as an airline pilot now.
10 years is too far for the current climate. With fuel prices and the economy, it's hard to look 6 months down the road. Just understand the aviation, especially the airlines, are cyclical. They have big ups and big downs. This is a really big down right now.
Furlough (layoffs) are done according to seniority. The higher you are on the seniority list, the better off you are. Unless the airline merges or goes under completely, that is. Getting rehired depends on the company and your contract.
Don't give up if you want to be a pilot. It's not the glamour job everyone thinks, but there are worse ways to make a living.