12 Best Regional Airlines To Work For As a Flight Attendant

Embarking on a career as a flight attendant offers an exciting opportunity to travel the world and meet people from all walks of life. But with so many regional airlines out there, how do you choose the best one to start your journey? 

 

Fear not, we’ve done the legwork for you! In this post, we’ll explore the 12 best regional airlines that offer excellent benefits, competitive salaries, and promising career opportunities for aspiring flight attendants. 

 

Buckle up and prepare for takeoff as we embark on this career journey together!

Differences Between Legacy Carriers and Regional Carriers in the United States

Before we dive into our list, let’s clarify the differences between legacy carriers and regional carriers. 

 

Legacy carriers, also known as major airlines, are large, established airlines that typically operate on a national or international scale. They offer flights to numerous destinations, both domestic and international, and have a vast fleet of aircraft. Examples of legacy carriers in the United States include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.

 

On the other hand, regional carriers primarily serve specific regions within a country. They operate shorter flights and often connect smaller cities and towns to the larger hubs operated by legacy carriers. 

 

These airlines typically have a smaller fleet and fewer employees, but they play a crucial role in the aviation industry by providing essential services to underserved areas.

Major Factors To Consider When Choosing a Regional Airline

Salary

Salary is an important factor when choosing a regional airline to work for, and for good reason. As a flight attendant, you’ll be dedicating a significant amount of your time and energy to your job – from working long hours, sometimes overnight, to managing stressful situations and ensuring passenger safety. 

 

It’s only fair that your compensation reflects the hard work and dedication that you put into your role. Moreover, a competitive salary not only provides financial stability but can also indicate how much an airline values its employees. 

 

It therefore serves as a gauge of the airline’s overall treatment and regard for its staff. 

 

Remember, choosing an employer is not only about the job itself but also about ensuring your efforts are adequately rewarded.

Quality of Life

Quality of life is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a regional airline to work for. The airline industry, particularly the role of a flight attendant, can be demanding with irregular hours, long periods away from home, and the need to constantly adjust to different time zones. 

 

Therefore, it’s essential to choose an airline that prioritizes the work-life balance of its employees. Consider airlines that offer flexible schedules, ample opportunities for rest between flights, and supportive policies for personal and family leave. 

Career Opportunities / Career Path

Career opportunities and a clear career path are pivotal when selecting a regional airline to work for. A company that provides growth and advancement opportunities demonstrates that they are invested in their employees’ professional development. 

 

As a flight attendant, career progression is not just about moving up the ranks, but also about learning new skills, undertaking different responsibilities, and broadening your industry knowledge and competencies. 

 

It’s about personal and professional growth that adds value to your career and enhances your job satisfaction. By choosing an airline with a strong focus on career development, you’re not just undertaking a job, but building a fulfilling and dynamic career in aviation.

Major Unions

Union representation is a significant factor to consider when selecting a regional airline to work as a flight attendant. Unions play a critical role in negotiating better pay, improved working conditions, and fair treatment for their members. Airlines that have strong union representation often have better employee benefits and protections, which can make a significant difference in your job satisfaction and overall career experience. 

 

Unionized workplaces also typically offer a mechanism for addressing employee concerns and disputes, which can provide an added layer of job security. When considering potential employers, it’s helpful to research their union affiliation and the reputation of those unions in protecting and advocating for their members. Remember, a strong union can be a powerful ally in your aviation career.

Health Insurance Coverage

Health insurance coverage is a crucial consideration when selecting a regional airline to work for. The nature of a flight attendant’s job comes with unique health risks, including potential exposure to illnesses, fatigue from irregular sleep patterns, and physical stress from handling luggage or assisting passengers.

 

Therefore, having a comprehensive health insurance plan is essential to safeguard your health and well-being. An employer who offers robust health insurance coverage demonstrates care for their employees’ welfare, alleviating potential healthcare costs and offering peace of mind.

 

Employer-provided health insurance can include benefits for preventive care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and even mental health services. In the event of illness or injury, such coverage can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs, making it an important factor in job satisfaction and overall quality of life.

 

When choosing a regional airline to work for, ensure to thoroughly review their health insurance offerings and how they stack up against your needs and circumstances.

Best Airlines To Consider Working For As a Flight Attendant

Let’s dive into our carefully compiled list of the top 12 regional airlines to consider if you’re aspiring to become a flight attendant. These airlines have earned their spots due to their excellent union representation, comprehensive health insurance coverage, and their overall commitment to employee satisfaction. Keep in mind that the perfect airline for you depends on your individual needs and circumstances.

1. Horizon Air - Best Regional Airline

Alaska Horizon Air Flight Attendant - best regional airline
Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, has earned its place as our top choice for aspiring flight attendants.

 

Recognized for its excellent working conditions, Horizon Air prioritizes the welfare of its employees, offering an attractive benefits package that includes comprehensive health, dental, and vision insurance.

 

The airline also stands out for its strong union representation, ensuring the rights and interests of the employees are diligently protected. As part of the Alaska Air Group, Horizon Air employees also benefit from inter-airline agreements, allowing for greater flexibility and opportunities.

 

Furthermore, the airline demonstrates a commitment to employee development, offering promising career advancement opportunities and training programs.  Alaska is committed to hiring up to 20% of its flight attendants from Horizon.

 

With its unparalleled commitment to employee satisfaction and robust health coverage, Horizon Air is a strong contender for anyone aspiring to become a flight attendant.

2. Skywest Airlines - Largest Regional Airlines

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Photo courtesy of Skywest Airlines Flight Attendant Career Page

Continuing our list, let’s take a look at SkyWest Airlines, the largest regional airline in the United States. SkyWest Airlines has carved a niche for itself with its vast network, serving more than 200 cities across North America.

 

Its commendable operational performance and high reliability make it a favorite among passengers, but it also shines as an employer. SkyWest takes pride in providing a positive work environment for its employees, offering a comprehensive benefits plan, competitive pay, and a 401k match.

 

The airline also offers fantastic travel benefits, allowing employees to explore new places on their time off. SkyWest is known for fostering a supportive and inclusive community, ensuring that all employees feel valued and heard.

 

Moreover, SkyWest invests heavily in training and development programs, setting up its flight attendants for success from day one and providing continuous opportunities for growth and advancement within the company.

 

For these reasons, SkyWest Airlines has earned its spot as a top contender for anyone looking to build a fulfilling career as a flight attendant.

3. PSA Airlines (American Eagle)

psa airlines flight attendant
Photo courtesy of PSA Airlines Career Page

Next on our list is PSA Airlines, which operates an all-jet fleet under the American Eagle brand.

 

PSA Airlines has established itself as a leader in the regional aviation industry, serving over 130 destinations across the United States, Canada, and the Bahamas. Aside from its extensive network, PSA has built a reputation as a great employer, priding itself on creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all its employees.

 

Flight attendants at PSA enjoy competitive pay, comprehensive health benefits, a 401k plan with an excellent match, and generous travel benefits. What sets PSA apart, however, is its strong emphasis on career development.

 

The airline ensures that its employees are constantly learning and growing, with access to continuous training and development programs. It also provides unique opportunities for advancement, enabling flight attendants to truly make a fulfilling career within the company.

 

For aspiring flight attendants, PSA Airlines is undoubtedly a top choice for its commitment to employee growth and overall job satisfaction.

4. Piedmont Airlines

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Photo Courtesy of Piedmont Airlines Career Page

Operating under the American Eagle brand, Piedmont Airlines is another fantastic airline for flight attendants seeking a supportive and rewarding work environment.

 

Piedmont Airlines is widely recognized for its family-like atmosphere and approachable management, which greatly contributes to the positive working conditions experienced by employees. What distinguishes Piedmont from other regional airlines is its attractive compensation package.

 

Aside from a competitive salary, the airline offers comprehensive benefits including health insurance, retirement plans, and generous travel privileges. 

 

Moreover, Piedmont Airlines is dedicated to nurturing the talents of its employees. The company provides extensive training programs and career development opportunities, allowing flight attendants to continuously improve their skills and advance in their careers. For individuals passionate about delivering exceptional in-flight service and keen on personal growth, Piedmont Airlines is a fantastic choice.

5. Envoy Air

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Envoy Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, is a rising star on our list of top regional airlines for flight attendants. Envoy Air takes pride in its warm and nurturing work environment, where every employee is treated like a valued family member.

 

Flight attendants working for Envoy Air particularly appreciate the supportive culture, where teamwork and mutual respect are integral parts of the daily operations. In terms of compensation, Envoy Air offers a competitive package with numerous benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and exceptional travel benefits. 

 

But what truly sets Envoy Air apart is its commitment to professional growth. Flight attendants are offered comprehensive training programs, and there are numerous opportunities for career advancement. If you’re a flight attendant passionate about hospitality and looking for a company that values your professional growth, Envoy Air is an excellent choice to consider.

6. Air Wisconsin

air wisconsin flight attendants
Photo courtesy of Air Wisconsin Career Page

Air Wisconsin holds a special place in our list of top regional airlines for flight attendants. A trusted partner of United Airlines, Air Wisconsin boasts an impressive track record of over 50 years in the aviation industry.

 

The airline is renowned for its strong commitment to safety, customer satisfaction, and employee well-being. Flight attendants at Air Wisconsin enjoy a competitive compensation package—complete with healthcare benefits, retirement plans, and extraordinary travel privileges.

 

The airline places high value on their employee’s personal growth and career progression, offering comprehensive training programs and a clear path to advancement. A strong culture of teamwork and mutual respect reinforces the overall positive work environment. Air Wisconsin can be an exceptional choice for flight attendants looking for an airline that appreciates their work while offering avenues for professional growth and development.

7. GoJet Airlines

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GoJet Airlines finds its spot in our list for a multitude of reasons. This regional airline, known for its partnership with both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, offers its flight attendants a healthy work environment marked by camaraderie and a strong sense of community.

 

GoJet’s compensation package is competitive, including healthcare benefits and retirement plans. Flight attendants are given remarkable travel benefits, making this an appealing choice for those with a strong affinity for exploring new destinations. 

 

GoJet Airlines prioritizes the professional growth of its crew, investing in comprehensive training and providing clear routes for career advancement. If you’re a flight attendant in search of an airline that not only appreciates your efforts but also provides opportunities for career progression, GoJet Airlines might be just the right fit for you.

8. Mesa Airlines

mesa airlines flight attendant
Photo courtesy of Mesa Airlines Career Page

Mesa Airlines earns a spot in the top 12 regional airlines to work for due to its robust commitment to employee satisfaction and professional growth. With a reputation for a friendly and supportive working environment, Mesa encourages its flight attendants to shine and excel in their roles. The airline’s compensation package is competitive, offering healthcare benefits, retirement plans, and outstanding travel benefits. 

 

What sets Mesa Airlines apart is its commitment to ongoing training and the clear career progression paths it offers to all employees. For flight attendants eager to grow their careers in aviation while enjoying the thrill of travel, Mesa Airlines presents an attractive option.

9. CommuteAir

CommuteAir Flight Attendant
Photo Courtesy of CommuteAir Career Page

CommuteAir, a promising player in the regional aviation sector, truly stands out for its close-knit, family-like work environment. The airline prides itself on valuing each of its employees, fostering a culture where everyone is appreciated and everyone’s contribution matters.

 

As a flight attendant at CommuteAir, you can look forward to a competitive compensation package, comprehensive medical benefits, and a retirement plan. 

 

Travel benefits are, of course, a significant perk, opening up a world of exploration and adventure. One of CommutAir’s unique selling points is its emphasis on the professional development of its personnel. The airline offers rigorous training programs and clear career progression pathways, making it a compelling choice for flight attendants aspiring to fly high in their careers.

 

If personal growth, camaraderie, and travel opportunities are what you seek, CommutAir could be a great match for you.e

10. Endeavor Air

Endeavor Air flight attendant
Photo courtesy of Endeavor Air

Endeavor Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, is another attractive option for flight attendants aiming to make a mark in the aviation industry.

 

Known for its employee-friendly policies and high standards of service, Endeavor Air provides a fulfilling and rewarding work environment.

 

As a flight attendant at Endeavor, you are not just an employee but a part of a dynamic, evolving community that appreciates and values your contribution. 

 

The airline offers a comprehensive benefits package, including a competitive salary, medical coverage, retirement plans, and of course, enviable travel benefits. Additionally, Endeavor Air is committed to the professional development of its personnel, providing robust training programs and well-defined career advancement paths. If you are looking for an airline that values teamwork, integrity, and personal growth, Endeavor Air could be your ideal landing spot.

11. Republic Airlines

Flight Attendant Republic
Photo courtesy of Republic Career Page

Republic Airlines is an excellent choice for flight attendants with a passion for delivering top-notch customer service. This airline prides itself on its family-like work environment, where every crew member is valued and recognized for their efforts. Republic Airlines offers a competitive salary, health benefits, retirement plans, and coveted travel privileges to their employees. 

 

One notable advantage of working for Republic Airlines is their industry-leading training programs, designed to empower flight attendants with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their roles. The opportunity to work with a diverse team and engage with passengers from all walks of life also makes Republic Airlines a rewarding place to build a career.

 

So, if you’re someone who loves meeting new people and thrives in a supportive and inclusive environment, then Republic Airlines might be the perfect fit for you.

12. Expressjet

ExpressJet is a fantastic place to kickstart or progress your flight attendant career. With the airline’s emphasis on safety and customer service, you’ll have the unique opportunity to contribute to an organization that highly prioritizes these aspects. ExpressJet offers a competitive compensation package, including health benefits, retirement plans, and exceptional travel benefits. Above all, they provide top-tier training programs that equip you with the necessary skills to excel in the aviation industry. 

 

The airline’s workforce is diverse, offering you the chance to interact with colleagues from various backgrounds and cultures. If you’re someone who appreciates a collaborative, multicultural work environment and has a deep commitment to delivering outstanding customer service, ExpressJet could be the perfect choice for you.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the legacy airlines in the United States?

Legacy airlines, also known as legacy carriers, are those that had established extensive networks and operations before the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. These airlines have a significant historical impact and have played a role in shaping the aviation industry as we know it today. In the United States, the three major legacy airlines are:

 

  1. American Airlines: Founded in 1926, it is one of the oldest airlines in the U.S. and one of the biggest in the world in terms of fleet size and passenger volumes.
  2. Delta Air Lines: With its origin dating back to 1924, Delta is another significant legacy carrier. Known for their extensive global route network, they consistently rank highly for customer satisfaction.
  3. United Airlines: Established in 1926, United is another major player in the industry. They’re renowned for their comprehensive domestic and international routes.

These airlines have a long-standing history and have significantly contributed to the progression and evolution of the aviation industry in the United States.

Is Southwest Airlines Considered a regional airline?

No, Southwest Airlines is not considered a regional airline. It is, in fact, a mainline carrier. Unlike regional airlines that mainly operate short to medium-haul flights within a specific geographical region, mainline carriers like Southwest Airlines operate on a much larger scale, with extensive networks that cover numerous domestic and international destinations.

 

Founded in 1967, Southwest has grown to become one of the most prominent low-cost carriers in the United States, offering a unique blend of affordability and quality service.

What airlines are called mainline airlines?

Mainline airlines, also known as major airlines, are large airline companies that operate flights on significant routes, both domestically and internationally. They possess large fleets of aircraft and have extensive operations across numerous airports. In the context of the United States, mainline airlines include:

 

  1. American Airlines
  2. Delta Air Lines
  3. United Airlines
  4. Southwest Airlines
  5. Hawaiian Airlines
  6. Alaska Airlines

These airlines have broad operations and reach a wide range of destinations, catering to a vast customer base. Their size and scale often allow them to offer a wider variety of in-flight services and amenities compared to regional carriers.

What airlines are considered low-cost carriers?

Low-cost carriers are airlines that offer relatively inexpensive fares in exchange for eliminating many traditional passenger services. They maintain operational efficiency and cost reduction strategies, making air travel accessible to a larger portion of the population. In the United States, some airlines that are considered as low-cost carriers include:

 

  1. JetBlue Airways: Known for its affordable pricing and high-quality in-flight entertainment.
  2. Spirit Airlines: While its fares are sometimes significantly lower than those of other airlines, be aware that they charge for many amenities that other airlines offer for free.
  3. Frontier Airlines: Frontier has a strong focus on keeping fares low and offers many sales and promotions.
  4. Allegiant Air: Primarily serves leisure destinations and often bases pricing on demand.
  5. Southwest Airlines: As mentioned earlier, despite being a mainline carrier, Southwest also fits into the low-cost category due to its competitive pricing and lack of hidden fees.

Do regional airlines fly to an international destination?

Yes, regional airlines do fly to international destinations! While it’s true that regional carriers primarily serve small to medium-sized markets within their home country, many of them also operate routes to neighboring countries.

 

For instance, in the United States, regional airlines like Compass Airlines and SkyWest Airlines have routes that reach into Canada and Mexico. 

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About The Author

Jezee G. is a passionate and seasoned traveler, with a wealth of experience as a flight attendant for four major airlines since 2010. She has explored more than 80 countries across six continents, forging connections with people from diverse backgrounds and immersing herself in new cultures. Beyond her global adventures, Jezee maintains a keen interest in digital trends, enabling her to stay informed and engaged as an outgoing and knowledgeable traveler. With enthusiasm and confidence, she embraces life to the fullest!