I think it would depend on the person, some people would find it far more enjoyable to fly since that might suit their skills better, while others may find their talents are in management. What matters is where your abilities and interest are. Not to mention sometimes while on the career ladder your job is what you have to do and not what you want to do.
If you like to be behind the scenes (so to speak) and be active in the decision making/planning part of the industry go for the management side, if you want to be more hands on, love to fly and are able to meet the requirements then go for the pilot gig.
You may a job that might let you do a combination of both but chances are you will not be doing it for a major carrier but if you have a love of aviation just to be flying and still have your hands on the business side might be worth the lack "prestige" that a major carrier might have
Edit... My ideal choice would be to fly, but in the real world I'd have to go with a behind the scenes position due to the fact that during an eye exam they would say "read the smallest line you can" to which my reply would be "E"
[Edited 2004-04-14 03:40:12]
Pray hard but pray with care For the tears that you are crying now Are just your answered prayers