The Difference Between Major and Regional Airlines
There are many different airlines in the United States and not all are equal. You might be on a flight for a major airline and wondering why you saw a regional airline name on the ticket below the major airline. For years now major airlines have used regional airlines to fly to and from smaller cities and routes that can’t fill the seats of larger airliners. So, what exactly is the difference between major airlines and regional airlines?
Many regional airlines partner with major airlines to perform smaller distance flights and fly between smaller cities. These airlines do domestic flights throughout the United States. Major airlines such as Delta, American, United, and others use regional airlines for a more economical process and partner with these regional airlines. Generally regional airlines fly smaller aircraft carrying between 50 to 80 seats, whereas, major airlines do not usually fly aircraft under 100 seats. When planes have so few seats it becomes uneconomical for larger airlines to own. Vice-versa that regional airlines tend to not own a large 777. These regional airlines bring smaller aircraft that are able to fly to smaller cities and create a more flexible schedule. There are numerous airlines to meet customer demands. Without regional airlines there would be hundreds of cities without flights!
You may be questioning why the major airlines don’t just carry smaller jets instead of partnering with other regional airlines. Believe it or not, it is more economical for the majors to pair with regional airlines. There are differences in wages paid for pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics. While those working for regional airlines may not get paid as much as those working for the majors this is an opportunity for pilots to gain experience and move up into the majors at a higher pay scale. However,SkyWestis one of the best paying regional airlines.
Many pilots begin at a regional airline before moving to the major airlines. Training for a regional airline or a major airline are the same for pilots, the rest of the flight crew, and mechanics. With nearly 30 regional airlines in the United States some are much larger than others. For example, SkyWest has more aircraft than other regional airlines that fly larger planes.
Think of major airlines as heavyweights in the airline industry. Major airlines are defined as generating more than $1-billion annually in revenue. Some of the major airlines include: Alaska, American, Southwest, and United – just to name a few.
Regional airlines often sell tickets under the major airlines. They also operate entirely under the major airlines with the branding. For example, regional airline Comair works with Delta as Delta Connections. Working as Delta Connections, Comair planes are painted in the color schemes of Delta, use the logo, and allows passengers to gain frequent flyer points. For passengers they are meant to believe the major airline is handling their entire trip to make it seamless and quick.
The partnership between regional airlines and major airlines is governed by two types of organizations. A regional airline can be owned independently and work with multiple major airlines. Another option for the regional airlines is by being fully-owned by the major airline in which it has a partnership. Being one of the largest regional airlines in the country SkyWest has paired with major airlines such as American Airlines and flies under the name American Eagle. However, SkyWest is independently owned giving the company the opportunity to work with other major airlines such as Delta, United, and Alaska.
If you are looking to become a pilot contact usand we will give you more information on the options you have! Training with AeroGuard gives you the opportunity to fly with one of the top regional airlines in the country, SkyWest. With over 3,000 flights a day to over 240 airports in the country flying with SkyWest and training with AeroGuard gives you the experience you need to become a pilot today!