What is a realistic path to regional airlines

After reviewing a lot of material on the ATP website I have noticed they estimate a 2 year path to the airlines with 7 months going toward training and getting a CFI license. However on the testimonials page although there is a handful of people who started to work for a regional going from no flight time to regionals in 2 years and some less there is way more people who take 3+ years to reach to reach that point. What do you think is the main reason for this and if it is them needing more time to reach 1500 hours could it be a possibility they are not getting enough hours from being a CFI for ATP or not being selected by ATP to train new students

Additionally as a follow up to my last post recommending a college degree which I will definetely consider when you get roughly a years worth of credits from the ATP program towards a bachelors. The ATP website describes a “flow through” program from regionals to the majors saying that after roughly 5 years with a regional you can get picked up by a major and the way these kinds of programs are worded they make it sound as if its a guaranteed thing to happen. Would it be reasonable to expect a promotion to a major airline without a college degree and if so have you personally seen it and if so what are the differences in compensation if any?

  1. American Airlines was the only flow program that didn’t require a 4 year degree to be part of it. I don’t know if United or Delta have relaxed their flow standards.

  2. There are a dozen variables that effect time building to 1500. CFI availability is the biggest factor overall. I was available 7 days per week, scheduled my flight slots early morning, during normal lunch break and late afternoon, with grounds in between (this way less traffic, more planes available in case mine had MX issue, and in Florida, avoided bad mid day WX as best I could).

Chris F


That’s a great question. I’m not sure if you’re aware but late in 2019 there was this minor outbreak of some sort of bat virus or something? Not really sure what it was called (there may have been a news report or 2 at some point but I really don’t recall?). Anyway for some reason this cold on steroids did have a minor effect on a few people in a few places and that might have caused a pilot or 2 to fly a few less hours thus requiring them to take a smidge longer to build time. Just a guess but maybe? :wink:



Yep pretty much everyone on those testimonials pages has a one year gap where not a lot happened because all hiring stopped. Some people were furloughed and stopped flying altogether. In short, life happened. Something unexpected happened that has never happened before. So yes ATP has an expected two year timeline. That’s an estimate.

As for the flow programs, once you get hired at their regional carrier, you won’t have to interview again. You just wait until your number is pulled and you get a class date at the major. Right now, seems like a good loop hole for those without degrees. But it takes one swift motion of a pen to change the entry requirements, the flow requirements or get rid of the flow program at all. I wouldn’t bank on it.



Building time to get to the regional level and then building turbine time at the regional level can be a multitude of factors. Right now, every regional is struggling finding captains (CA) because many individuals are applying “outside of the flow” or not upgrading to CA heading directly to a major/legacy. This is causing a backup of training departments, low FO flying, and delayed flows (is my guess). What you need to take into consideration is during training and building initial time to regional, you can’t fly in the same weather that an airliner can, the GA planes don’t have the type of equipment and resources to do so.

I’m a huge numbers guy, I love facts and most importantly love flying. ATP provides factual data available to everyone on their website: