Going with the “flow” to the majors

Hi, I am curious about those programs or partnered regionals to the majors like commutair to united after a few years. Is it really worth it to just fly for an regional airline that is partnered by a major airline so you can get to the majors faster?

I live in california and at first I was planning to go one of the regional airlines that united is partnered with but they were all mostly flying around the east coast. So I planned on applying for the SkyWest, or their cadet program instead. What would be the difference when you fly for skywest then apply to united compared to flying for united regionals?

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Joining a flow doesn’t mean that you will fly for a major sooner. It just means that when your seniority number is called you will receive a new hire date with the associated major without having to interview. The size of the flow program and the demand for the pilots in the pool will vary. Flows do not guarantee WHEN you will be called. They also don’t guarantee that when you are called that you will stay at that major. Flows move in both directions.

So if you want to fly for SkyWest then you should and when you meet United’s hiring minimums you should apply externally.



Opinions vary on this one but honestly to date I haven’t seen the flows get there faster than others. That said things can and do change so you never know what the future will bring.

In my mind this is really pretty simple. The Majors have started these programs as a means to “lock in” pilots early in the decision making process. The fact is if they need pilots they’re going to hire pilots. In fact the pilots who aren’t locked in are essentially a bonus because they know they have the flow guys.


So right now the cadet programs are all on hold due to covid. However, they will probably come back eventually. With that being said, it depends on your priorities when it comes to choosing a regional. If you want to go the safe route and know you will eventually get to the majors and not have to interview again (good for candidates with weak resumes, no college degree, etc) then take the regional with the pathway to the major you want to be at. However, if you’re a bit more of a risk taker, you can go with a regional you like more and interview with the major of your choosing when you meet their requirements and potentially make it there much sooner than a flow.
If you’d like to stay more west coast based then yes, Skywest is a great choice but you wouldn’t have a major flow through program.


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Oh ok, I see. Thank you for the help


Thank you Hannah that was extremely helpful🙏