I don't know if it's the Christmas season or what but recently I have talked to, and heard of pilots bemoaning the fact that they have been at their regional for X number of years. Depending on what X is depends on whether I want to tell them to grow up and welcome to the real world or not. Here's the truth, in the regional world there is no magic number of years to be there before you can go to a major. Some in the military go straight to a major, some go to a regional and then move up, but there is no hard fast rule about how long one can plan on being at a regional.
A bit of background here might help. Dh started flight instructing, worked charter for 2 years, was at his regional for 10 (and furloughed for 2 of those 10 years) worked corporate while he was furloughed. Then he went to a LCC, he was there for a three years, of which we mostly wish he had never left his regional as it was far superior to the LCC. And now he's at Spirit. While we are extremely happy to be at Spirit and it's worked out better than we could have ever planned, this wasn't how things were suppose to go when he started.
You see when he started at Continental Express (yes it was still owned by Continental) and they had a flow through, he was going to be at Continental in 5 years flying across the pond. But what? What's that? 9/11 happened and the Continental guys flowed back to the Express side which pushed dh into a furlough. So you think this is just the way the game is played right? He got furloughed but will then sometime flow up to Continental right? Wrong. Continental then sold Express to pay for their pensions and killed the flow through in the process. So pretty much there went his thoughts of going to Continental.
Now I'm not saying all this to be sad and upset, it is what it is, it's the airline industry and quite frankly it sucks. If you expect anything out of this industry you are in for a rude awakening. Sure everyone knows someone, who knows someone, who got hired at Delta as an FO, but it's so infrequent you are probably better off playing the lottery. It makes me laugh (if I didn't want to hit them) when I hear guys say "I've been at my regional for 3 years I wasn't supposed to be here this long, I should be at Delta/AA/ect. I'm not sure why they haven't called me." This annoys the crap out of me, I'm sorry that someone somewhere told you that you were special and you wouldn't be there for more than three years, but there are a lot of guys worse off than you.
The guys I have met that seem to have every reason to legitimately complain about the airline industry (but don't) are the 50+ year olds who are in new hire classes. Some of these guys have had the absolutely crap beaten out of them. Case in point one guy in dhs new hire class was at DHL then went to World/North American and was furloughed when he was over 50. You want to start complaining about your three years at a regional when you're 28, get a life. I give these older guys a lot of credit most of them have an upbeat view on life and are happy to be anywhere that there paycheck doesn't bounce. Maybe it's a generational issue more of a "me" generation vs. boomer and generation X (though I have met a few younger guys who were furloughed from Comair who are very nice and down to earth). Regardless of the case I would ask you take a minute and think before you start complaining, not only because it makes you sound spoiled but also people are less likely to help someone and write them a rec, when they are complaining.