Road to Majors

Hello, quick question regarding best pathway to the majors. In general, do majors significantly value regional (part 121) time and experience over the likes of NetJets, FlexJet, etc?

If goal is a legacy carrier, should I prioritize regional jobs over these part 135 jobs when I hit 1,500 hours?

Thanks so much!


In the past I would’ve said you’d def be better off with Regional time but the pilot shortage has changed many things. The Majors are hiring like mad and if you meet their “competitive” mins I think you’ll be fine either way.

While the majority of newhires are coming from the Regionals, I believe that’s simply due to the fact there are far more of them available.



In the past I would have said the regionals were the preferred path, but that seems to be changing to where all paths are equal. The one thing I would caution you on though is that your average regional airline pilot probably flies ore hours per year than a corporate pilot does. Corporate flying seems to involve a fair amount of sitting around, whereas regional pilots fly rather consistently. The total flight time will matter when applying to the majors.


How about the quality of the flight time when applying to regionals/135’s?

I’m worried that given the FO hiring freeze across the industry due to everyone being bottom-heavy, the competition for FO at regionals will be fierce when things start picking up again in Q3. And this will trickle down to 135 operators as well; 135 positions that went to 1000TT candidates last year will be going to folks with 1500TT this year and so on and so on.

As a result, I am seriously considering buying my own plane and burning some holes in the sky. The “quality” of the hours won’t be great, but they are hours nonetheless. I understand that a few years ago this would have been absurd, but I think what is happening right now is quite unusual.

Perhaps a recruiter or HR rep would have the most up-to-date info to be able to answer this accurately, but I would love to hear your take! :slight_smile:

Thank you,
(Different) Chris


The regionals are losing pilots faster than they can hire them. I don’t think there will be any hiring freezes for the foreseeable future.

I recommend you still plan on building your time with reputable jobs that give you quality hours. No hiring board wants to see you aimlessly “burning holes in the sky”. They will hire you if they think you have the skills and experience to be successful in their training program and on the line.


There are some hiring freezes in place as the regionals work through the back log of captain upgrades. I would not expect them to last too long though.

I think buying your own airplane is not a good idea. The quality of the flight time matters. Maybe not for getting on at the regionals, but for keeping your skills sharp and doing well in airline training. This is not a race, quality matters.


@Hannah -there are FO hiring freezes almost right across the board right now at regionals. Class start dates that were supposed to be in Feb have been pushed back until August and September in some cases. This is why we’re seeing an unprecedented amount of bonuses for Direct Entry at the moment.

@Chris -got it, thanks. In terms of keeping my skills sharp, are the hours gained at a 135 (say between 800TT ann 1500TT) that much different/better than if I would fly myself around from A to B to C? What if I flew in IMC? Is there some other experience that 135’s offers that I am overlooking?

Thank you so much for your feedback!


Yes, the hours gained at a 135 operator are significantly better. Unless you are planning to buy your own jet, most 135 operators will fly either jets or some advanced turbo prop, this means flying much further, faster and higher than you would in a GA airplane. There really is no comparison between the experience gained by flying a jet compared to that in a small airplane.


Copy. Thanks again.

@Chrisyyz What you’re talking about are class delays. Temporary pauses in the classes showing up at training centers to relieve the backlogs. Regardless, hiring is still happening. I was part of the recruitment team at a regional who is delaying some classes. Interviews didn’t stop for one day and CJOs were still being delivered weekly. If all interviews ceased and no CJOs were offered, now that’s a hiring freeze.


There are both class delays and FO hiring freezes at multiple 121’s right now. I hope Chris is right and things will balance out soon! It would be awesome if 1500 is still be the magic number by the time I get there :slight_smile:

I think we’re arguing semantics here.
Pilots are a commodity on an assembly line; not much different from the micro chips in computers.
Sometimes there is an issue of over-supply and sometimes there is a shortage.

  • 3 years ago it was a small shortage everywhere.
  • Covid was a huge over-supply.
  • 1 year ago it was a Regional FO and Legacy shortage.
  • Currently it is a Regional Capt and Legacy shortage.

So for the next few months Regionals are focused on Capts and soon after will need more FOs. Enjoy before “the music stops”.

Chris F