|Alliance||Star Alliance (affiliate)|
|Parent company||United Airlines Holdings|
|Key people||Scott Kirby (CEO)|
On October 1, 2010, UAL Corporation and Continental Airlines merged to form United Continental Holdings, the holding company for the newly merged United Airlines. On June 27, 2019 United Express changed its parent company name from United Continental Holdings to United Airlines Holdings. As Continental and United merged, Continental Connection and Continental Express gradually adopted the United Express brand name, bringing the number of operators to twelve and the number of aircraft to over 550. The first aircraft painted into the new United Express livery was an Embraer E175 operated by ExpressJet.
As of November 30, 2011, after United received its Single Operating Certificate following the merger with Continental Airlines, over 575 aircraft fly under the United Express brand.
Major airlines in the United States had long maintained relationships with regional carriers which fed passengers from small markets to larger cities. The Airline Deregulation Act spurred industry consolidation both vertically and horizontally, and as the hub system became more pronounced, airlines formalized these relationships through code sharing, shared branding, and listing regional partners in computer reservations systems. On May 1, 1985, United formally partnered with Air Wisconsin, Aspen Airways, and WestAir as United Express, feeding its hubs at Chicago-O'Hare, Denver-Stapleton, and San Francisco International Airports. Air Wisconsin and Aspen would merge in 1991.
In 1988, Presidential Airways became a United Express carrier for United's new hub at Washington Dulles International Airport, but soon floundered. In response, WestAir formed an eastern division to serve Dulles. WestAir itself experienced turmoil; in 1991 it spun off the new division into an independent company, Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACA), which years later would go on to become Independence Air.
In 1992, Great Lakes Airlines became a United Express partner, followed by Trans States Airlines the following year. In 1997, as United officially designated Los Angeles International Airport one of its hubs, SkyWest Airlines became a United Express partner as well. Great Lakes left the United Express system in 2001, although it continued to do codeshare flights until they ceased operations in 2018.
In 1993, Trans States Airlines started United Feeder Service, to operate British Aerospace BAe ATP aircraft for United Airlines. The aircraft, originally owned by Air Wisconsin, were transferred and subsequently owned by United. UFS operated routes to Chicago O'Hare (ORD) from close markets in the U.S. Upper Midwest. UFS was eliminated from the United Express carrier network in 1999 and disappeared.
When United declared for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2002, it pressured its regional partners for reduced fees. In 2004, ACA canceled its contract and reinvented itself as low-cost carrier Independence Air. The next year, Air Wisconsin unsuccessfully bid to retain its flying contract, though it did retain some ground-handling United Express operations. To compensate, United initiated new service agreements with Colgan Air, Trans States subsidiary GoJet Airlines, and Republic Airways Holdings subsidiaries Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America.
In 2005, United announced that service levels on major United Express routes would be upgraded to a new product called explus. Routes with explus service offer First Class seats and meal service on larger, 70-seat Embraer 170s and 66-seat Bombardier CRJ700s. Expanding the traditional regional partner role, United started to use the airplanes configured with explus amenities instead of, or alongside with, mainline jets on routes linking large cities, such as Chicago to Houston.
United decided to cancel Dash 8 and CRJ200 service with Mesa Airlines in November 2009. On November 16, 2009 it was announced that ExpressJet would begin operating Embraer ERJ-145 beginning in the spring of 2010. Dash 8 and Mesa Airlines CRJ200 service stopped.
All Continental Express and Continental Connection service officially merged into United Express in late 2011.
On April 1, 2012, Pinnacle Airlines Corp. filed for bankruptcy and announced it would draw down its Colgan Air operation. In May, United reached a deal with Republic Airways Holdings for its subsidiary Republic Airways to fly the Q400 in Colgan's place. The eight-year capacity purchase agreement includes all 28 aircraft previously operated by Colgan as well as four currently flown by Republic for Frontier Airlines.
In August 2015, United announced the start of a new subsidiary, United Ground Express, to provide ground operation service in select airports within its domestic network.
On February 27, 2017, United Airlines announced the return of their partnership with Air Wisconsin as a United Express carrier. They would be flying a fleet of 65 Bombardier CRJ-200 beginning second-half 2017.
In September 2017, the Q300 was phased out and in January 2018, the Q200 was phased out.
On April 16, 2018, United Airlines announced the end of its partnership with Cape Air. Services ended on May 31, 2018, which marked the end of United Express operations in Guam, along with the retirement of the last turboprop aircraft in the United Express fleet.
On July 30, 2020, it was announced that United Airlines had decided to end its contract with ExpressJet and transferred these operations to CommutAir. ExpressJet continued its operations until September 30, 2020 and CommutAir became the sole operator of the United Express Embraer ERJ-145 fleet.
United Express bus service connects Jack Brooks Regional Airport to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). This service began after Colgan Air-operated Saab 340 turboprop flights ended on July 1, 2012, and this bus service continues at present with several trips a day.
United Express also has a bus service from Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) near Allentown, Pennsylvania to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).Continental Airlines, which later merged into United, previously operated flights from Allentown to Newark but switched to a bus service in 1995 due to constant delays from air traffic control. It is 79 miles (127 km) long. As of 1997 the service was eight times daily. By February 2010 the bus was the only form of service offered by Continental after it cancelled its Allentown to Cleveland Hopkins Airport flights.
|Operating airline||IATA service||ICAO code||Callsign||Aircraft||In service||Orders||Passengers||Parent|
|Air Wisconsin||ZW||AWI||Wisconsin||Bombardier CRJ-200||65||—||—||4||46||50||CJT Holdings|
|CommutAir||C5||UCA||CommutAir||Embraer ERJ-145||130||2||—||6||44||50||Champlain Enterprises, Inc.|
|GoJet Airlines||G7||GJS||Lindbergh||Bombardier CRJ-550||31||9||10||20||20||50||Trans States Holdings|
|Mesa Airlines||YV||ASH||Air Shuttle||Bombardier CRJ-700||20||(20)||6||16||48||70||Mesa Air Group|
|Republic Airways||YX||RPA||Brickyard||Embraer E170||37||—||6||16||48||70||Republic Airways Holdings|
|SkyWest Airlines||OO||SKW||SkyWest||Bombardier CRJ-200||96||—||—||4||46||50||SkyWest, Inc.|