Choice of Regional

I was curious as to see how you selected which regional to work for? Did you just put out applications and whoever called with an opportunity you took it, or did you wait for a specific airline? My dream would be to fly those new shinny CRJ’s for PSA :smile: or the 170/175’s for Republic.



I applied to several regionals, two of them called me for an interview at about the same time. I interviewed at both and was hired by both. I ended up choosing ExpressJet because I felt that at the time they would offer better career advancement.

I wouldn’t get too hung up on the airplane that an airline flies, I would focus on compensation, career advancement and quality of life. That being said, a nice new airplane sure makes for a better day at work.


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Luckily for us, the regionals nowadays are very motivated to hire you, and getting an interview basically is just a matter of meeting the time requirements. The only work you have to do is come prepared to the interview.

A few things to look at when choosing which company to go with are:

  1. Upgrade time - although this number is very dynamic, you don’t want to go to a company that has a 10 year upgrade. After all, just like flight instruction, you want to get the hours and move on in the least amount of time.

  2. Reserve time - just like upgrade time, the faster you can get a line (a set flying schedule for the month), the more time you will log.

  3. Domicile options - You work half the month, the other half is time off, spend that time off in a place that you will enjoy. Also, commuting to work, especially as a junior FO at a regional, can be a nightmare.

  4. Pay - make sure to check not only the hourly pay rate, but also things like deadhead pay, minimum monthly guarantee, minimum day credit, per diem rate, profit sharing, benefits, etc.

  5. Quality of the lines - it makes a big difference if you credit 20-30 hours on a 4-day trip, as opposed to 10-15 hours.

Those are just a few things that I considered when choosing a regional to fly for, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As you progress with your flight instructor career, should you choose to accept it :slight_smile: , you will get a better understanding of what to look for.

I know I didn’t know most of this stuff before I started flying so feel free to ask more questions if you want more details on what I explained above.


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When I was at ATP they were still offering a VERY popular ATP written exam prep. Back before they changed the rules you needed to have the ATP written done before you could upgrade so I proctored a TON of Regional FOs. When they came in I picked their brains about their airlines and got the skinny on all of them. I concluded ExpressJet was the best for me (plus they had an EWR base which was very convenient) so that was the only Regional I applied to and was fortunate enough to get the nod.


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Could you explain the Quality of lines a little bit more? Thank you.


Sure Josh,

A monthly schedule at a regional usually includes about 4 trips of 3-5 days each. The maximum flight time you can log in any 30 day (month) period is 100 hours per the regulations. Now if you do the math, that breaks down to about 5-6 hours of flight time in every ‘workday’, to reach your maximum pay.
Sometimes you can be scheduled to be on the road for the same amount of days, but with only 2-3 hours of flying per day. Therefore, only paying about half as much for the same amount of days on the road.

You see how this can make a big difference? That is why it is important to do the research before you choose an airline. Now just to be clear, I am not saying that one airline will have only perfect trips while the other will have only horrible trips, but if you ask people that work at the company, you will be able to get a general idea of their satisfaction from their schedules.

Does that make sense?



I understand that. Thank you. Is that where the minimum hours they pay come into play? Say you go on a four day trip but only fly 10-20 hours, do you still get paid for the 30 or does the minimum go by the month?

The minimum goes by month.
Mine for example is 76hrs, so if I were to fly 4 - 4 day trips, with 15 hours credited per trip, I would still be making 76hrs of pay (even though I only worked 60).
On the other hand, if the trips were crediting 25 hours each, I would ‘break guarantee’ and be payed 100hrs that month.

In both examples I am away from home the same amount of time.


I just want to clarify, you’re talking reserve right? SkyWest isn’t awarding lines below min guarantee are they? If they are that’s awesome!

To further confuse you Joshua, what I’m talking about is while every airline will have a minimum monthly guarantee (typically around 75hrs) that’s also usually the minimum value for every “line” they build. The only time you generally will get paid min guarantee AND not fly that many hours is on reserve. Another interesting factor when looking at airlines is what (if anything) is their min “daily credit” when away from base? What that means is say you’re given a 4 day trip but that trip only has flying on the first and the last day (really not that unusual). So you’re spending the 2 days in the middle wherever (not in base). Some airlines have a min daily credit (usually 4hrs-ish) while others have none. What that means is if you have no daily credit that 4 day trip (with say 5hrs of flying on day 1 and 4) that 4 day is only worth 10hrs BUT if you have it the same 4 day is worth 18! Big difference and as Yarden says makes a big difference in your number of days off.

There are other things as well but (duty and trip rigs) but those will make your head spin! At least they do mine.


Adam, at SkyWest the lines are usually built with more than the monthly guarantee. But I have heard from multiple friends of mine at other regionals that as junior line holders, they barely break guarantee.

Thank you for clarifying on the min day guarantee.

I wish reserve lines were built below guarantee…that would be awesome! :slight_smile: