Saturday, February 03, 2007

ExpressJet Targets Austin with Nine Destinations

According to a route map on their website, Houston-based ExpressJet Airlines will begin nonstop regional jet flights from Austin to New Orleans, Corpus Christi, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Jacksonville, Albuquerque, Tucson, and Ontario (Calif.) later this year. The “new” airline, recently spun off from Continental Airlines, is scheduled to make an official announcement on Monday, but scheduled launch dates can be found here.

This is a very ambitious launch, but I doubt whether there is enough steady traffic between Austin and Jacksonville to justify nonstop service. On the other hand, nonstops to Albuquerque, Tucson and Ontario could really give Southwest a run for their money here if the price is close enough.

Since every connection you make is another opportunity for weather delays, ground stops and lost luggage, I’ll gladly pay $25-30 more for a time-saving nonstop on an airline with assigned seating and XM Satellite Radio. If ExpressJet can leverage its former affiliation to allow passengers to bank Continental OnePass miles, that too will be a selling point.

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