There are no right answers for questions like these. I have had a wide variety of experiences in the peer review process and known others' experience that have more or less convinced me that the "other" side does not always play by the rules.
(1)I know of a journal where a paper has sat on an AE's desk for 9 months without getting rejected nor being able to get a reviewer. The journal hides behind the claim that it is difficult to get reviewers because reviewing is a voluntary activity.
They do this and they frown upon multiple simultaneous submissions to different journals? Talk about having your cake and eating it too!
(2)I know of a journal which rejected a paper for a wrong reason -- neither the AE nor the referee had a clue what was going on. An appeal was made to the Editor in Chief, who neither acknowledges the email, nor apologizes on behalf of the AE.
So, they will sit on authors' papers and in the off chance it goes out for review, you can get hit by an incompetent reviewers and then the EIC will not respond to authors' emails that enquire about how the journal is going to correct the mistake they made?
(3)For all cliches about it being a very objective process, I have seen authors that are in high-ranked institutions publish mediocre papers in top journals and authors in low-ranked institutions with more sophisticated work get turned down. The review times for the former are also much shorter.
All in all, many journals that are highly regarded are unethically run. It is luck, who you are networked with, who your co-authors are, what the zip-code is of your institution that decides what get published and what does not.
So, to answer your question again, there is no right and no wrong in what you can and should do with AEs/EICs, etc.
It is a myth that scientific publication is an objective field that rewards merit regardless of anything else.