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Honest question



I have an honest question for all the regional pilots here. Please don't flame me for I'm asking an honest question and would like an honest response. The question is do you regional pilots think that you will make it a major someday or are you resigned to working at the regionals for the rest of your career, regardless of what size aircraft they my fly in the future? Also did you get into flying with the sole intention of making it to a legacy major?


Well-known member
Feb 18, 2002
Total Time
Man, that must be some sort of record! It only two minutes for someone to whip out the ol' flamethrower!

And oh yes, it's "douche", douche! (That you, Eric?)


Zulu who?
May 25, 2003
Total Time
Sometimes I like pecan pie better than peach. But if peach is done right it's wayyy better.


Do what now?
Nov 27, 2004
Total Time
Here you go man, honest answer. I enjoy what I do, but I would like to spend the least amount of time possible at a regional carrier. Wheather I go back to corporate or make it to a major or get involved with the NTSB (always been a goal) we will just have to see. I think its pretty hard to say where I'll be in 5 years, I think thats an impossible question to answer. I'd like to think I'll still be flying and still happy about doing it.


Can't hold me down
Apr 20, 2004
Total Time
Honest Answer

410 Dude,

If I'm not at a "Major" or "National" carrier by the time I'm 40 (not too far away), I'll stay put. I love to fly and believe it or not, money is not everything. I'm living comfortable and that is all that matters.


Well-known member
Jun 27, 2005
Total Time
Here here! I will make it to a major someday, its always good to have goals- these by which drive me to fly everyday and better myself in hopes that I will make it their soon! If not then I will still be happy as I do have the best job around.


Living in Paradise
Apr 13, 2004
Total Time
Personally I would like to go to a major at some point, and yes, that was the original plan. But, if I spend my entire career flying for a regional, I will still thank God at the end of it that I was able to do this for a living.


Seeing the light
Nov 27, 2001
Total Time
I once posted a poll asking this question, basically. It was titled "I fly for a regional and I....my job!" polls have since been removed or I'd link it for you.

the majority, as I recall, said that they liked their job at the regionals but would be dissappointed if they didn't move on someay. There were some that were lifers and happy to be, and conversely there were those that said they hated their regional gig and would be plenty pissed if they never moved on.

just like anything else in life, you get all kinds. happiness is where you find it.


Oct 17, 2003
Total Time
Prop2Jet said:
Here here! I will make it to a major someday, its always good to have goals- these by which drive me to fly everyday and better myself in hopes that I will make it their soon! If not then I will still be happy as I do have the best job around.
You'll notice a recurring them here. The young and rather "industry inexperienced" believe wholeheartedly they will make it to a major someday, when the reality simply ain't so. The older and more experienced pilot posting, the more "middle-ground" answer you get.

With the growth and expansion of "regional airlines", scope slowly but surely disappearing courtesy of ALPA, and airlines increasingly lowering the bar for both majors and regionals in an effort to lower costs, the result is fewer and fewer major airline AIRCRAFT to move on to.

As a simple math equation, there will be only a finite number of "Major Airline" jobs out there to be had. Do the math and you'll find that your odds of winning this particular lottery ticket are stacked against any individual pilot. You can stack the odds in your favor, but can never guarantee the outcome.

The only thing that keeps me coming here every day is the hope and fervent prayer that I will make it to bigger and better things. Every day that passes and it doesn't happen is that much closer to not being able to satisfy that hope and dream, it's a simple reality of the times we live in, so I concentrate on making this place a better place to come to work or STMFD.

Here's an exercise for you: create an Excel spreadsheet based on your current regional you work for -vs- getting hired at Southwest. Then project your CAREER earnings each year the goes by that you don't get hired... you'll see that, for most pilots, if you haven't gotten on with a major by age 42-45, you're pretty much SOL (the pay and QOL equal about the same and go DOWN after that age by changing jobs).

Think there aren't that many people in this boat? Take a look at your regional airline's seniority list's top 10-15% pilots. For each one of them is another pilot who got out of the industry when it became obvious they weren't going to make it.

Bottom line: about 30-40% of us won't, so you better make this "regional airline career" one worth staying at for life through negotiating better contracts. Otherwise, you may be doomed to LIVE with your contract the rest of your career.

Dave Benjamin

an over 40 victim of fate
Jun 12, 2003
Total Time
The funny thing is some people used to say they might remain at a regional because they felt payscales would get closer to that of the majors and they enjoyed the QOL and relative job security. Tragically the pay and work rules at the majors are getting closer to the regionals but it's because the majors have taken huge concessions. Compare the UAL narrow body work rules with that of any quality regional and you'll walk away shaking your head.

When voting on contract ratification or TA's I think it's best to assume you'll be in your current job for a while. There is some movement with FedEx, UPS, CO, WN, and a few others hiring but if you do the math there isn't room for everyone.

Goose Egg

Big Jens
Jul 21, 2004
Total Time
Honest answer...

Not a regional pilot, but getting closer to application times. Hope you don't mind me answering.

410dude said:
The question is do you... think that you will make it a major someday...

I guess it could happen, but I'm not banking on it. And I'm not particularly bent on it either. Flying is flying, airplanes are airplanes. If the truth will be told I'd much rather find a good corporate job. I think that I'd find the hands-on nature of it much more rewarding. But if the opportunity to go to a "major" presents itself, sure, I'd consider it.

...or are you resigned to working at the regionals for the rest of your career, regardless of what size aircraft they my fly in the future?

In a word, no. There is a scenario or two where I would stay at a regional for life, but only a couple selected regionals. And the reason for that is mainly the bases--I'm from the west originally and I'd like to get back eventually, so I'm thinking SkyWest or Horizon. Which is not to say that I wouldn't work for other regionals, but I just wouldn't stay there for life. And If I found a good corporate job, I'd stick with that no matter what part of the country it was in (except maybe FL. No offense.) But then again, if I am being adequately compensated and enjoying my work at any given regional, I wouldn't leave.

I certainly don't have a crystal ball.

Also did you get into flying with the sole intention of making it to a legacy major?

Yeah, maybe when I was 9. I've been thinking pretty seriously about the corporate gig since I was working on my instrument rating, but my sole intention for getting into flying was to get paid to fly airplanes, period. If I'm doing that and the QOL is half-decent, chances are I'll be happy.

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Well-known member
May 24, 2003
Total Time
Great post T-Gates.
The paragraph about personal happiness and different goals for each of us is one of the most professional comments I've read on here in a long time. Especially in light of some of the ABC vs XYZ Airlines and my bugsmasher is cooler that you puddle jumper threads.

To answer the original question, I too started down the road of life h@llbent on flying heavy metal for a legacy carrier. Did all the normal things, CFI, charter, regional airline (TPs and RJ) and watched the list of furloughs get longer and my chances get smaller at the majors. Oh I forgot to mention gettting older.
Long story short, I took a job with a Fortune 200 Flight Department and could not be happier. QOL is great, variety of a/c and destinations, I'm home all but about 3 nights a month on average, and the pay is about 15% above where I would have been at the regionals. DO I still wonder what it would be like in the big leagues? Damn skippy I do, (esp when I taxi past the Fedex ramp at MEM) but I also know that things happen a certain way for a certain reason and I dont regret my choice one bit.
Best of luck to all of you in your career choices whether its RJs, Airbuses or Piper Cubs Be safe and be Professional!!!


Go Tigers!
Jun 25, 2003
Total Time
I would like to fly for a "major" some day. I'm still relitively young and hope that the industry turns around in the next couple of years to make it possible.

That said, I took a job at my current employer because if I don't move on, I can still make a comfortable living with a retirement while flying an RJ (assuming my company is still around when I retire and is still flying RJ's). The first regional I flew for was more of a stepping stone than my current company. I made the lateral (relatively) jump for better pay, quality of life, and retirement at the expense of fast upgrade (again relatively). I will be happy as long as my current company has a good contract, which means come negotiation time don't expect me to roll over even though I don't plan on spending my career here (it may happen despite my plan).

I still believe that the industry will turn around. It will be hard, but once the "majors" have their houses in order, when oil prices drop, they will be set up to make billions once again and the jobs (and later the pay) will follow. Now when will oil prices fall? I don't know, but hopefully not after Delta, United, Northwest, and USAir go out of business.