Photo Credit: TN
Aha!: The New Budget Airline Flying For As Low As $49
Launching this month, new budget airline Aha! is bringing low fares and nonstop service to smaller West Coast cities. Aha!, which is an acronym for “air-hotel-adventure,” is scheduled to start flying from Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe International Airport in late October, at the introductory fare of $49 each way.
Aha! will operate three times a week with 50-seat Embraer ERJ145 regional jets on routes connecting its Nevada base with cities in California, Oregon, and Washington, starting with its first flight on October 24 to Pasco, in southern Washington state.
The brand is a project of the former ExpressJet, a regional feeder to major lines that ceased operations last year due to the pandemic when many airports were shut down.
As the company reported on its website, Aha! was designed for travelers to enjoy Reno-Tahoe’s regional bounty—including exciting casino resorts, live entertainment, a diverse art and dining scene, and the world-class outdoor activities around Lake Tahoe, North America’s largest alpine lake.
“The Reno-Tahoe region offers travelers a wide range of fun and unique experiences,” said Tim Sieber, Head of ExpressJet’s Aha! business unit. “With the time savings of nonstop flights and packages with great deals at a curated collection of the best hotels and gaming resorts in the region coming soon, we’re giving travelers everything they need to customize their own great, short vacation.”
The new low-cost airline also intends to take advantage of shows and annual events, such as such as Burning Man, Hot August Nights, the Reno Rodeo, the Great Reno Balloon Races, and the Lake Tahoe Snowfest. Aha! hopes to attract customers looking to visit the region to attend these events.
“As ExpressJet began developing post-COVID flying opportunities that fit our history of serving smaller communities with regional aircraft, we realized that the old adage of ‘getting there is half the fun’ has become ‘just getting there burns up half the vacation’,” said ExpressJet’s CEO, Subodh Karnik. “With so many under-served communities and the allure of Reno-Tahoe, the aha! brand model practically leapt at us.”
Other routes, all operating out of Reno, will be rolled out as follows:
Bakersfield, California (starting October 25)
Medford/Ashland, Oregon (starting October 31)
Eugene/Springfield, Oregon (starting November 1)
Ontario, California (starting November 4)
Redmond/Bend, Oregon (starting November 5)
Eureka/Arcata, California (starting November 9)
Fresno/Yosemite, California (starting November 10)
Aha! is part of a new generation of budget airlines cropping up. In May of this year, Breeze Airways began operating flights across the southeastern United States with a grand opening sale that included all routes starting at just $39 one-way.