Ok, so I realize that journalists need juicy stories to sell papers, however do they have to be so blatantly mis-leading? I am a flight attendant for a regional airline. I am not a pilot but I am the one that deals with the passengers so I am the one on the front line when they walk into the aircraft scared because “It’s such a small plane.” As if a larger one is going to save them in a crash. Ooh, sorry. Did I just say that ‘out loud’?
Comparing all regional airlines is like comparing apples and oranges. Some smaller airlines are stepping stones for the major airlines since you cannot simply start with the larger aircraft unless you have been in the military for many years. Pilots need 1000 flight hours as a left seat captain in order to be even considered by airlines such as Delta. So, anybody pilot must first learn how to fly the aircraft in an academy such as Flight Safety International. This includes training other pilots at a certain point. Once you are certified and have the needed hours, you can look for a job with a smaller airline. After years of living on a very low paycheck doing what you must love to do, you can then attempt again to find a major airline that is hiring.
Then, there are airlines like Comair and American Eagle that are made up of very senior pilots. This means that they have chosen to fly smaller jets for a living and have no interest in “moving up” as some like to call it. The entire group of pilots at the most senior regional airlines have been there for over 25 years. Just because a pilot choses to stay with a smaller airline, doesn’t mean that he/she is any less qualified.