Picking a Regional

Besides pay, what factors should one consider before going to the regional? I live in the Houston area and recently attended a recruiting event for Envoy. Their closest base is in Dallas. Mesa has a base here in Houston. The pay for the two companies is pretty much the same, and I will have to take a pay cut for the first couple of years anyway, so that is not a factor in my decision. What is the most critical issue I should be considering in this case? Am I possibly overlooking other big names in the area?

Alfred

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Alfred,

Honestly at this point I really don’t see too much difference between any of the Regionals. The pilot shortage has caused them all to become very competitive with eachother and all will create a pathway to the Majors.

With that in mind I’d go to one that has a base near my home. While many pilots commute I don’t know any who recommend it.

Adam

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Alfred,

SkyWest also has a Houston base as well as CommutAir. Picking a regional with a base near you is crucial for quality of life. You can commute if you see the benefits of another regional outweighing the convenience of living in base.

Pay is a good place to start.

Base seniority is also something to look at. Is IAH a senior or junior base for each airline? If it’s a junior base that means a short amount of time on reserve and a quick climb in seniority.

Upgrade times is another one. Although I assume most regionals will take captain upgrades as quick as the mins are met.

Flow programs: are you interested in Aviate flow to United through CommutAir since United also has a IAH base. Or maybe American is your end goal where Envoy’s flow program would be better.

Company culture: do people enjoy working there?

Aircraft preference? ERJ 175, 145 or CRJ 200/700/900?

Hope this helps…

Hannah

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Hannah,

You made some really good points. I don’t know anything about base seniority, so that’s something I will have to look into. All I’ve ever known is single-engine pistons, so I don’t think I have an aircraft preference right now. I’m in the R-ATP program and should be graduating this summer. I’ve been building hours flying my plane, but I still need the multi-engine add-on. I don’t think I would be a good fit for the Aviate program. Thanks for your feedback.

Alfred

Hannah, I’m also currently considering a career change. 32, married with kids, school administrator currently and there is an ATP location here in Baton Rouge. Down the road I would ideally like to be based in Houston although we would still live in BR (wife’s job). Only 4 daily flights from BR to Houston but could drive to NOLA (90 min away) and catch one of 12+ daily flights. Worse cast scenario I could make the 4.5 drive if I’m sitting reserve. Any suggestions or wisdom you would like to share.

James,

If you’re on short call Reserve (2-3hrs) that 4.5hr drive won’t work. Houston doesn’t sound like a bad commute, but if you’re on Reserve you will need a crashpad.

Adam

Thanks, Adam. IYO, if you were on SC, would you drive halfway in case you get called or just fly in the night before and get a hotel/crash pad? Just seeking wisdom as I consider this career change. Thanks again!

James,

I commuted to short call reserve from CLT to Chicago. It wasn’t pretty, but it was temporary. I did it for four months and I got hotel rooms. If you can find a good crew rate, the price is close to that of a crash pad and I got a gym, room to myself, laundry, free breakfast and a shuttle to the airport.

If I was on reserve longer than 4 months, more long term I probably would have committed to a crash pad. Really just depends on how junior the base is and the projected time on reserve.

Hannah

James,

Let me ask you a question, I don’t know you’re family situation but let’s say your loved ones are about to get on a flight. Its a long flight and the weather is bad. Would you prefer the pilots to have flown in the night before and gotten a good night’s rest or pilots who drove 4.5hrs BEFORE starting their multi-leg, 12hr duty day?

You don’t simply have to be there on time, you need to be there rested and ready to fly a full day.

Adam

Adam, thanks for the response. That makes a lot of sense! I guess I was thinking it would be convenient to have my own car in case I can’t get a seat or JS but that makes more sense. If driving isn’t as realistic as I once thought, that gives me more options for airlines to consider as well. BTR has direct connections to DFW, ATL and IAH (all about 4 a day) and NOLA has 12+ flights to IAH and ATL every day.

James,

Alright, I give, what is NOLA?

Chris

New Orleans, Louisiana. :wink:

Ben

Better known in the aviation community as MSY.

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My apologies, Chris, for not being more specific. Really appreciate y’all’s help. Means a lot that y’all are willing to share your experiences and wisdom.

No need to apologize, I had just not heard of NOLA before, good to know.