I heard that some regionals encourage pilots to start applying with as low as 750h, while others want the 1500 to be met at the time of application. While I know that contacting recruiters at each airline is the best way to find out what their airlines does, I was wondering is someone here could answers this question for the regional airlines they are familiar with.
Right now all the Regionals are desperate for bodies and are actively and aggressively recruiting. That means provided you’re building your time with one of their partners (like ATP) you can potentially with less than 500hrs. The reason they want you working with one of their partners is so they can a) keep track of your progress and b) have a reasonable idea of when to expect you to hit the magic 1500. Now while it’s a wonderful thing to know you have a job waiting for you and also by signing a conditional letter of employment you could take advantage of Tuition Reimbursement (if you need it) I personally would wait. The industry is so dynamic as far as pay, upgrade times, bases and other incentives I’d wait to see who’s has the best deal when I’m ready. That could also be a risk and things could change for the worse so it’s really YOUR call, but I don’t think they will. At least not in the bad direction.
The big advantages of Tuition Reimbursement are getting the money upfront to help you with your loans and that generally speaking, the reimbursement money is tax free, whereas bonus money is not.