ExpressJet Ends Branded Service

The writing has been on the wall for quite awhile hasn’t it? In what has to be one of the most expected announcements in a long time, ExpressJet has now officially decided to end its branded operations on September 2.

We all know the story here. It’s fuel. I was a big fan of the idea behind ExpressJet from the beginning. There are opportunities out there for point-to-point service on smaller city pairs, but flying it as a brand new airline in 50 seat jets just didn’t work. I used to say that it might have worked as Southwest Express, because the power of the network would have helped significantly. With fuel above $4 a gallon, I can’t even imagine that working.

So, if you have tickets through September 1, you’re fine. In fact, you can still buy a seat on a flight until then. But after that, you’re going to have to call the airline for a refund. Hey, at least it’s a solvent airline that can actually refund your money.

At last check, there were 205 aircraft flying for Continental, 23 for Delta, 23 for the branded operation, and 23 for the corporate aviation group. We already know that they won’t be flying those 23 for Delta anymore, and now branded is gone, but they can only return 39 aircraft. This means that there will now be 30 planes flying for corporate aviation in addition to the 205 for Continental.

Anyway, I still think this idea can work some day, but we’ll need to see the price of fuel come down again. Next time, I’d probably try it with a Q400 turboprop or something, not that ExpressJet had that choice. This is a sad one for me, because I really liked flying the airline, and I think they had the right idea. It’s just the timing (and probably the airplane) that was wrong.

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