When ExpressJet Holdings announced it would ground its ExpressJet division on September 2, it garnered little more than a yawn from a public all too accustomed to bad news from the airline industry.
After all, it wasn't a bankruptcy. The company remains in business, operating feeder services for Continental, as well as charter flights. And as U.S. airlines go, ExpressJet is a small player.
But ExpressJet's demise is a result of the same factors that sunk Aloha, ATA, Eos, Maxjet, Silverjet, and Skybus. And while the airline's shutdown won't be sudden—customers were given two months' advance notice to adjust to the change—travelers will feel the pain.First and foremost, consumers are losing another low-fare flight option. According to the airline's website, ExpressJet flies to more than 150 destinations in North America and the Caribbean.
Some ExpressJet routes are already served by other airlines. But many are not, since a key part of the carrier's strategy has been to offer nonstop flights in underserved markets, using 50-seat Embraer jets. Travelers flying from Raleigh-Durham, for example, will lose their only nonstop flights to both New Orleans and San Antonio.
Also lost with ExpressJet's disappearance: frequent flyer points.
Although there's no information on the ExpressJet website, and queries to the company's headquarters hadn't been answered by press time, it has to be assumed that members of the airline's JetSet program only have until September 2 to cash in their points and complete award travel. After that, instead of ready, set, jet, it'll be ready, set, sit.