Points, miles, and snide remarks.


Seeing Red: Startup Red Way Airlines Calls it Quits

Well, well, well, folks. In a move that has shocked absolutely no one, the airline industry is bidding adieu to the latest aspiring player on the field. Red Way Airlines, based out of the bustling metropolis of Lincoln, Nebraska (LNK) – because nothing screams “hub of the future” like Lincoln – has officially thrown in the towel after a staggering run of under three months.

Remember that time Sir Richard Branson quipped, “If you want to be a Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline”? Well, it seems like Red Way took that advice to heart. Back in June 2023, Red Way took to the skies with all the fanfare of a fireworks display in an empty field. Offering those sought-after point-to-point leisure flights, they surely had travelers on the edge of their seats… or maybe not. But hey, they managed to make headlines, so kudos to them for that.

Oh, but let’s not forget their strategic choice of a hub – LNK. You know, the place that typically comes to mind when you think of global aviation hubs. Lincoln, where the international connections are rivaled only by the number of tumbleweeds rolling down its runways. But hey, maybe they were aiming for the elusive “quiet airport” experience sought after by the same type of passenger that insists Love Field is better than DFW. Bravo, Red Way, bravo.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. Or not. Because as it turns out, Red Way was what industry insiders fondly refer to as a “paper airline.” Yep, those flights you thought you were booking with them? Well, they were actually being operated by charter carrier Global Crossing Airlines. But hey, details, right?

According to them, being a small startup in the aviation world was a bit like trying to paddle upstream with a paper boat. Unsustainable costs, lack of resources – you know, the usual excuses. They did express their gratitude for the “opportunity” to serve customers and “connect people” for a brief flicker of time. Their press release states:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the decision to cease operations. After careful consideration and evaluation, we have come to the difficult conclusion that we must close our doors. The last day of operations for Red Way will be August 31st, 2023.

Over our short time operating, we have had the immense privilege of serving our customers and connecting people across the US. We are immensely grateful to have had this time, and we know that demand exists strongly in Lincoln for expanded air service. However, we face insurmountable challenges as a small startup in our industry, and the compounding of costs and lack of resources have made it impossible for us to sustain operations. It is our hope that other carriers see the incredible potential, and with their economies of scale, are able to provide Lincoln with the service it is so worthy of.

Press Release from Red Way Airlines

Touching, really. Interestingly, their website is still live and makes no immediate mention of the impending closure of the airline.

Now, don’t go rushing to book that farewell flight just yet. Red Way is offering flights until the end of August, but if you had big dreams of flying with them after August 31, think again. All those post-August bookings are being tossed out the window faster than you can say “refund.” Oh, and speaking of refunds, let’s cross our fingers and hope they actually materialize. If not, your credit card issuer probably won’t be much help; back in 2020, many issuers nixed protections against insolvency of a common carrier. So unless you’ve purchased a standalone travel insurance policy, you may just be on your own.

So, why did Red Way’s grand plan nosedive faster than a lead balloon? Well, some speculate that their decision to solely operate out of Lincoln and focus on leisure flights might have had something to do with it. It’s almost like local government subsidies and all six of their leisure-seeking travelers weren’t enough to keep the dream afloat.

And there you have it, folks. Another one bites the dust in the ever-dramatic saga of airline ventures. Red Way Airlines, we hardly knew ye – but then again, did we really need to? Until next time, keep your seat belts fastened and your expectations firmly grounded. After all, in the world of aviation, surprises are about as rare as a quiet day at… you guessed it, Lincoln Airport. Over and out.