ExpressJet is launching non-stop service Monday from Tulsa to Ontario, Calif., about 35 miles from Los Angeles.
ExpressJet Airlines will begin non-stop service Monday between Tulsa, Albuquerque, N.M., and Ontario International Airport, 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
The Houston-based regional carrier also is launching service Monday at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.
Flying 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets, ExpressJet is offering the first non-stop jet service from Tulsa to the West Coast since American Airlines discontinued non-stop service to Los Angeles in 2002.
"Over the last five years, the number of seats in our market has gone down as the airlines have reduced service," said Jeff Mulder, Tulsa airports director.
"ExpressJet is going to be adding seats. That will allow us to grow and provide more options for travelers."
ExpressJet's service will be particularly attractive to business flyers: leather seats on aisles or windows with no middle seats, 100 channels of free XM Satellite Radio and a complimentary headset, valet carry-on bag service and full service meal options on longer flights.
The regional carrier also will appeal to leisure travelers who want to bypass congested hub airports.
On April 2, ExpressJet launched service to the first cities of a 24-city expansion in Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Spokane, Wash.; Kansas City, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; San Antonio; and Tucson, Ariz. On Monday, it added Sacramento, Calif.
On April 30, ExpressJet will launch service in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Fresno, Calif.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; and New Orleans.
On May 7, the company will begin service in San Diego; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Louisville, Ky. The following week, it will add service to El Paso, Texas; Monterrey, Mexico; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Birmingham, Ala.
"Our ideal market is small- to medium-size cities with growing populations that don't have good direct non-stop service," said ExpressJet spokeswoman Kristy Nicholas in a telephone interview.
The company's Embraer ERJ-145XR jets fly at a cruising speed of 529 mph with a ceiling of 37,000 feet. The Embraer ERJ-145LR flies at a cruising speed of 518 mph at a ceiling of 37,000 feet.
ExpressJet is operating ticket counters at the west end of the ticket lobby at Tulsa International Airport, officials said, and its gates are on the west concourse along with United Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
ExpressJet has 6,800 employees and flies to 152 destinations in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. The company flies 274 Embraer aircraft, up 3 percent from a year ago.
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"In most of these markets you certainly wouldn't want a plane bigger than a 50-seater, and you certainly wouldn't want to fly it more than twice a day," Ream acknowledges.
ExpressJet Airlines will launch daily nonstop flights from Tucson
ExpressJet plans to fly 44 jets and will launch service in April and May, focusing on the West, Midwest and Southeast.
Two new destinations seem likely for Eppley are San Diego and Ontario.