Real Answers from Real Pilots

Major to legacy?

Do pilots normally ever switch from a Major airline, to a legacy airline?


First let’s define our terms. All legacies are Majors but not all Majors are legacies. When we say the word legacy we’re normally referring to the big 3, United, Delta and American. Again they’re all Majors but they’re the largest and have been around the longest (for the most part). What you need to understand is any time you leave an airline, regardless of the time you were there, your experience or position, you will start at the bottom at the new airline. It’s for that reason most pilots don’t change airlines once they get to a Major.

If you’re goal is to fly for a legacy, you’re best off building your time and experience at a Regional and waiting for your call to that legacy rather than sidestepping and taking intermediate steps.



I have seen some pilots switch from JetBlue, Allegiant, etc to the legacy airlines like United. Many people use those major, but not legacy, airlines as stepping stones to the legacies, but many chose to stay at them as well.