Real Answers from Real Pilots

Best airline flow throughs?

Hey, i was wondering which regionals yall thought had the best flow through programs? While I know this answer is going to be opinion based, I am just curious. Currently my top choices are Horizon, and Skywest. Mostly for the reason, they have hubs in Seattle and flow to Alaska and Delta.

Josh,

I can only speak for the Horizon side. First of all, Horizon has a Pathways Program, not a flow because it’s not a true flow. I’m not going to say which is better because quite frankly, it depends who you ask. So, instead, I can give you the basics and then you can decide.

The Pathways program allows you to accept or defer an offer from Alaska when your number gets called, but in order to be considered eligible for a call, you must have a minimum of 2000 hours with Horizon and 1000 hours part 121 TPIC, which isn’t much considering the fact that the average pilot hired externally by Alaska has 5000 hours total time. If you defer the offer, there are contingencies that will be relevant to you if you get to that point, but for now, just know that deferring the offer is allowed twice. Lastly, Alaska has agreed to take 30% of the pilots from the Pathways Pool annually.

Tory

Interesting. I figured the answered would be dependent on the person. When you bid for your hub did you get your first choice?

SkyWest does not have any kind of flow program to the majors. They do however operate under Delta, American, United, and Alaska.

Joshua,

Flows would literally be the last thing on my mind choosing a Regional. They can be cancelled and more important a Major is not going to cannibalize their own feed if the Regional is short in pilots. This is why pilots outside of the flow are often hired sooner to those with it.

Bases, equipment, pay, even the color of the uniform would all come first to me.

Adam

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Good to know

Josh,

I didn’t have to bid for my base. At the time, SEA was the only base for the E175.

Tory

Joshua,

The only regional airlines that have actual “flow through” programs are PSA, Piedmont and Envoy, all of which flow to American. The other regionals have pathway type programs that help ease the process, but do not guarantee a job at the major.

As Adam said, I would not really even make this a consideration. These programs are notoriously fickle and come and go at the pleasure of the major.

Chris

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Another thing I meant to add is no matter how “good” a flow may be, it depends how many pilots are in the flow program. Sometimes there are so many pilots that it makes more sense to apply externally.

Tory,

Just curious, why would anyone defer moving up to the Mainline from the Regionals? I figured everyone is at the Regionals strickly to get hired by a Mainline.

Sam

Adam,

Is it very common then to have people working for Envoy American Eagle jump ship to United or Horizon Alaska getting hired by Delta etc? Do these pilots just take initiative then and submit a job application to rival Mainline once they meet certain requirements of their new prospective airline like PIC and hours?

Sam

Sam,

I have no idea why somebody would defer going to the majors. The only possible exception is somebody who is 60+ and just does not want to start over. I have heard people try to justify staying at the regionals, it has never made sense to me.

Chris

Sam,

Yes, it is very common for people to leave for a major outside of their prescribed flow through. And yes, the way they get hired is as you describe.

Chris

Chris,

Thanks for the responses. Also good to know I shouldn’t box myself into 1 flow or Mainline but keep my options open throughout my time at a Regional.

Sam

Sam,

Depends where people are at in life when the job is offered to them. It’s all a gamble. People have their reasons. Schedule, base, equipment…maybe they’re starting a family, planning a vacation, family emergency, etc.

Tory

Sam,

Definitely. I know many Regional pilots who went to a specific Regional partner believing they wanted to go to the parent Major and after working with them realized they didn’t.

Listen I understand we all grow up in a certain area and maybe Delta, AA or wherever is our local Major and that plants a seed that’s where who we aspire to fly for. But beyond that most people have no clue what it’s like to work for one carrier vs another. Who pays better? Who’s got better work rules? Corporate culture? It goes way beyond liking a uniform or the logo on the tail.

Adam

This was a very informative thread. I appreciated reading it. It’s good to know flow throughs aren’t necessarily guaranteed as they are at the mercy of the major. I like the point that Adam made that majors don’t won’t to scrape up pilots from their regional that needs them and may hire externally. I hadn’t even considered that before. Nor the fact that the flow through could be overloaded with pilots.

Any thoughts on republic airways? I don’t like their bases, but pay and culture seems great.

Kyle,

I’m really big on corporate culture. While you would think most airlines are the same culture wise, different carriers have a different “vibe” if you will. I was really fortunate back when I was instructing. ATP had a very successful ATP written prep (before the ATP-CTP rule) and I instructed in TTN which was near all the NY airports and PHL. We had pilots from every Regional come in on a daily basis and I was lucky to have the opportunity to talk to all of them and get their opinions on the airlines they worked for. What I found was pay, work rules etc. they all were pretty close but certain ones just seemed to treat the pilots better and the pilots were happier. That pointed me in the direction I took.

While those days are gone I’d really encourage you to try and talk to any pilots you run into (recruiting events are great but airportsare better) and get their opinion. Most pilots will be honest about the good and the bad.

I recently flew with a former Republic guy and he had good things to say. Their CEO is a bit of an odd guy (check out Republic on Undercover Boss if you can find it) but that’s neither here nor there.

That all said I have to say not commuting would be really high on my list so that “base” issue is a big deal.

Adam

Adam,
Somewhere I saw you said you work for Hawaiian Air? Does Hawaii have any regionals that operate out there? Between the Islands or even from the mainland to the islands?

Kyle,

I have always heard good things about Republic. They seem to do a good job running an airline and also seem to be rather stable.

I would not recommend commuting if you do not have to, so bases would be rather high on my list if I were you.

Chris