One of the largest airlines in the US just ceased operations but most flyers wouldn’t even recognize it – here’s why

  • American regional carrier ExpressJet Airlines ceased operations on September 30 after decades of flying.
  • United Airlines had opted not to renew a contract with the airline, crippling its flying business despite having a reputation for being a reliable carrier. 
  • Thousands of employees were laid off as a result and America lost one of its largest airlines.
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Major US regional carrier ExpressJet Airlines ceased operations on September 30, the eve of aviation’s day of reckoning as federal relief funding through the CARES Act unceremoniously expired. 

Though its name isn’t instantly recognizable to most, odds are that you’ve flown on one of its flights if you’ve taken a regional flight in the past decade. It’s an airline that you can’t buy a ticket to fly on, doesn’t have any airport ticket counters, and doesn’t advertise its own flights, but still flew thousands of passengers across the US and beyond until its untimely demise.

ExpressJet was once one of the country’s largest and most prestigious regional airlines that performed flights for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and most recently, United Airlines. Its flights were operated by ExpressJet pilots and serviced by ExpressJet flight attendants but all passengers knew was that they were flying on an American, Delta, or United flight because that’s what they’re boarding passes said and their flight numbers indicated.

The secret was only revealed by a small decal on the side of its aircraft and possibly hidden deep in the safety briefing given by the flight attendant before each flight. 

Thousands of employees working for the airline had been told of its collapse in July following an unsuccessful bid to continue flying regional flights for United. With no intervention or rescue plan, the Atlanta-based airline joined three other regional carriers that closed up shop this year.

Take a look at how one of the country’s largest airlines vanished without a trace. 

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