Regional airline

Hello! I am new to the aviation world but I just went on my admissions flight this morning at ATP and loved it! I have been doing a ton of research and speaking with a few pilots in the airline profession. I am interested in hearing pilots’ experiences with regional airlines. Likes/dislikes, schedule and salary when you first start vs when you have been there over a year, travel benefits for yourself and spouse/family members, and any other information you think would help. Thank you!


While I’m very happy at my Major, I did enjoy my time at the Regionals. Best part was we flew EVERYWHERE! The entire contiguous US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. It was a great experience.

Thing is back in the day Regional pay was very low and there was a huge disparity between the different airlines. Due to the pilot shortage the weaker of the Regionals were forced out and I think you’ll find most are fairly competitive which each other pay and work rule wise. The biggest consideration for most people is who’s got a base where so they don’t need to commute and whether or not they have a pathway to the Major of your choice.

With that all said you’ve got a good couple of years before this is a consideration and things can and do change. Right now you need to learn to fly and Id be much more concerned with working on my written exams.


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Hey Nancy,

Welcome! Glad to hear the admissions flight went well and you enjoyed it! I’ll try my best here to give you my personal insight into regional flying. I have been at Envoy since December 22’ and it has been great so far. If you’ve been doing research and speaking with other pilots you might have heard some negative things about the regionals. I think it depends on which regional you are at, but post-COVID I’d say regional flying/lifestyle is the best it has been in a while (maybe ever). While I do agree the regionals should be a stepping stone for a career at a larger, more secure, airline, there are many who are staying longer because of the quality of life here. I have yet to fly with a captain who has only negative things to say about Envoy. I’ve even had some mainline American Airlines pilots on the jumpseat, who were former Envoy pilots, say they wish they hadn’t left. I’ve had captains who moved from other regionals to Envoy and they say the difference is night/day. So results will vary amongst each regional. I can only speak on my personal experience.

Likes (might be Envoy specific):

  • Quick seniority - lots of movement on the seniority list, less time on reserve. Compared to the majors you will get a decent schedule quick
  • Reasonably high pay at year 1 - goes up quickly with captain pay
  • Good scheduling system/easy trip trading - most trips have little sit time and are pretty efficient
  • Lots of overtime opportunities
  • Great crew and captains
  • Crew scheduling doesn’t overwork you
  • Great travel benefits - same travel benefits as AA pilots
  • Destinations across the US, including Mexico, Canada, Caribbean
  • Mix of small airports/large airports


  • Hotels aren’t always the greatest
  • Overnights at less ideal cities (smaller cities served by regionals vs big cities)
  • Can have days with lots of flights (this isn’t a dislike for me, but most don’t like this)
  • Hearing: “Have you got your apps to the majors out” from everyone - can’t I just enjoy my time at a regional for a little :frowning:
    This one is kind of a joke, but I’d say there is a constant pressure that you should move on as quick as possible, which I understand, but it makes me anxious hearing this all of the time.
  • Job security - if there is an economic change or another COVID, the regionals are more likely to suffer first

I try and post my schedule each month, so you can go back and look through my past ‘schedule’ posts to see how my schedule was on reserve vs having a line. If you do some digging on this site, you’ll also find non-Envoy regional schedules from Hannah/Brady.

I won’t go into too much detail about my salary. The pay here, and at most regionals, since the increase in salary mid-last year, is great and I will make 6 figures in year one. This isn’t guaranteed to stay this way, but I struggle to see it going down. At 750 hours, you can start making captain pay as an FO, which is about a 150% of our current hourly rate. At year 5 you can actually start making year 20 pay (max hourly rate) as a captain. I’ve flown with captains who make 200-400k a year here. So you can see why some captains are skipping the flow to American and deciding to stay.

Travel Benefits
Being at a wholly owned American regional has great travel benefits. We have the same travel benefits as everyone at mainline American. We have essentially unlimited free travel, as long as there is open seats on the flight. I have taken advantage of it a lot, including flying to and from Europe several times. Both my parents and my brother can also take advantage of these benefits for a small fee on the flights. We can also secure guaranteed seats for a 20% discount, which I have also used for more important travel.

Overall, I’d say regional flying isn’t too bad. I’m having lots of fun flying across the country in a great aircraft. Of course, if you can, movement to a major airline is suggested for pay, retirement benefits, and job security. However, the current condition of certain regionals is making it difficult for people to want to leave. I wouldn’t worry about choosing a regional now. Focus on doing well in training and the opportunities will be there. The regionals will be in a different situation and some may not even exist when you finish your 1500 hours.

Good luck!



Thank you for your response, Adam!
Considering a regional with a pathway to a major I would want is not something I considered, thank you for bringing that up.
Oh I know I have some years before I need to think about an airline career, I just like seeing what my potential future can look like. Especially with this being a complete career change.
Can you tell me more about the written exams? I have read a few posts about them and understand it is recommended (required?) to complete them before you begin the program at ATP.
Thank you!


There are 2 types of ATP students, those who completed their written exams before starting the program and those who wish they did. While it’s not required, it’s a VERY good idea!

One of the biggest draws people have to the ATP program is the quick timeline. Well that accelerated training comes with a price. It’s very challenging when you take what usually takes years and compress it into months. Many find it overwhelming so anything you can do to lighten the burden is desirable. By completing the required exams prior to starting the program you take a whole lot of work off the table.




To start off, this forum is loaded with not only airline experiences from current and past mentors, but even students that check back in occasionally. As I approach my Year 1 completion at Piedmont Airlines, I reflected back the other day at the challenges and rewards so far that I’ve encountered, which by far the PROs outweighed any CONs. In my opinion, the only “CON” I have is the base where I am out of is super small, not a lot of lines, and sometimes we don’t see the most efficient line build-ups, which means low flying for the months; however, not a lot of individuals want to be based at my base which means my seniority is higher than most of my friends at the other two bases.

Regional flying has been awesome, I enjoy the short trips and after discussion with @RoscoeL the other evening, made me realize that flying these hour and hour half legs right now is great because of the repetition we received as we build our skills and knowledge. I quickly pulled up my electronic logbook, I have had 172 flights in the Embraer 145 for Piedmont, with 85 landings; each landing and flight is a learning opportunity and a chance to practice what you’ve previously learned. As of right now, I have record 234 hours in the jet, a little lower than I’d like, but that goes to show the average hour to the tenth of how long our legs are on average.

With my company, we watched a lot of our routes be picked up by PSA and Air Wisconsin, but after a short discussion with the CEO/President from one of my flights the other day, it seems we are picking up some of our older routes, which is great. It’s great for the company and expansion for the pilot base.

Recently Hannah took on a job with United Airlines, former SkyWest, where she was a first officer at the regional airline. I recommend checking her schedule under the Schedules section for a lengthier outlook at a regional schedule if you’re curious. SkyWest is one of the regionals besides Republic Airways that fly for all three major legacies; i.e., American, Delta, and United.

Please feel free to let us know if there is anything else you have questions about. This forum domain is FILLED valuable and wonderful information. Years of threads and replies.


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Thank you so much for all of the information and sharing your experience!
I have heard both sides about regional - 1. you should try to get to major airline as quick as possible or 2. you might love the regionals and keep your career there. So I am happy to hear all of your positives about it! To me, it seems like your “likes” outweigh the “dislikes”.

Thank you for this information! I will definitely be completing these before I begin the program.


Yes, this forum has been amazing! So much information!

Thank you for sharing this information and your experience.
That is a great point you make about building skills with all of the repetition. It seems like you have more positives than negative, like Roscoe, which is great to hear!

I will definitely be looking more into the forum for more information on schedules and more topics.


This forum is why I ultimately ended up at ATP, I came here in 2019 seeking advice and Adam and Chris were here, answered my many questions I had. :smiley:



And you came anyway? Shocking! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: