How does United ensure quality with United Express?

Do you think ExpressJet crews meet mainline United Airlines standards? Photo: ExpressJet

Do you think ExpressJet crews meet mainline United Airlines standards? Photo: ExpressJet

United Airlines may not always succeed, but it constantly trying to ensure its regional jet partners operate smaller planes in a manner consistent with United's service standards.

That's not easy, because the contractors, with names like Skywest Airlines, ExpressJet, Shuttle America and Republic Airlines, are third-party vendors. They're completely different entities from United, even though their planes say "United Express" on them. 

But through contractual language, United holds contractors to tough standards. I was recently looking at United's contract with ExpressJet and found some tidbits you might find interesting:

  • Contractor shall achieve at least the comparable quality of airline service as provided by United subject to limitations imposed by the type of aircraft used by Contractor and its route network.
  • Contractor shall comply with all airline customer service commitments and policies of United, including without limitation the “CustomerFirst” commitments, and employee conduct, appearance and training policies.
  • [Contractor] shall handle customer-related services in a professional, businesslike and courteous manner.
  • Contractor shall maintain aircraft cleaning cycles and policies, and shall maintain adequate staffing levels, to ensure at least a comparable level of customer service and operational efficiency that United achieves.
  • Contractor shall make such interior and exterior design and product-related changes as may be required by United, including both those for which the cost is borne by United, and those that occur within Contractor’s normal aircraft and facility refurbishment program.
  • Contractor shall provide United with timely communication regarding the status of all Scheduled Flights.

What do you think? Have you flown a United Express flight recently operated by ExpressJet? Has ExpressJet fulfilled its contractual obligations?

ExpresJet, as many of you know, mainly flies 50-seat Embraer E145 aircraft for United, especially from the Houston hub.