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Aha! Airlines Ceases Operations as ExpressJet Files for Bankruptcy

Victoria M. Walker's image
Victoria M. Walker
Victoria M. Walker's image

Victoria M. Walker

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541 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

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Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria...

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Aha! Airlines is no more. The low-budget airline based on the West Coast has announced that it has ceased all operations and its parent company ExpressJet has filed for bankruptcy.

Here’s what you need to know.

All Aha! Flights Canceled

ExpressJet CEO Subodh Karnik said on August 23, 2022, that a “combination of conditions” led to pulling the plug on the airline.

Karnik cited a lack of aircraft availability, lower revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that inhibited the airline from offering bundle fares (which was central to its operations), and high fuel prices.

“Despite the valiant efforts of our employees to overcome challenges, and despite great support by our cities and airports – especially Reno-Tahoe and the community there, we arrived at a point where termination of operations was in the best interest of our stakeholders,” Karnick said.

The company plans to enter court-supervised liquidation “in the coming weeks.”

Reno-based start-up airline aha! was the leisure brand of ExpressJet Airlines, which has been in operation for more than 40 years. It focused on serving destinations that offered limited commercial flights and operated from Reno to 11 cities in the Western U.S.

The news comes just days after the airline launched a new route from Reno-Tahoe (RNO) to Idaho Falls (IDA), which began on August 11. That announcement also included free tickets for the 100 passengers.

Aha!’s head of business said at the time that the launch would offer Idahoans the opportunity to visit the Reno and Lake Tahoe area “without lengthy drives or layovers.”

Aha livery
Aha!’s parent company ExpressJet has filed for bankruptcy. Image Credit: aha!

What To Do if You Had a Flight Book With Aha!

If you booked a flight or other travel plans with aha!, the airline recommends contacting your credit card for a refund for tickets booked for travel after August 22, 2022.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to assist with alternative travel arrangements,” the airline wrote on its website.

The airline suggests writing to your credit company, stating that ExpressJet Airlines is in bankruptcy and has ceased operations, and requesting credit under the Fair Credit Billing Act.

If this doesn’t work, you may also be able to file a proof of claim in the bankruptcy proceeding to receive a partial refund.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also recommends that travelers contact their credit card company (if booked with a credit card) and noted that there are “no aviation consumer protections” for debit card purchases for travelers who purchased tickets with a debit card.

Hot Tip: Check out our complete guide to credit card insurance, including travel insurance you may already have that offers protection for canceled tickets.

Final Thoughts

While unfortunate, aha!’s demise isn’t entirely surprising. The airline offered limited flights on limited days at just a handful of airports. If you did have flights booked with the airline, your best bet is to contact your credit card company for a refund.

Victoria M. Walker's image

About Victoria M. Walker

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria M. Walker” newsletter.


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