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Delta Air Lines is an example of a mainline airline.
Unlike many other airlines, JetBlue's mainline equipment includes both the Emb-190 and A320. Flight attendant aircrew members are trained to operate on both types of equipment, while at the traditional legacy carriers, such operations on the smaller aircraft are mostly outsourced to smaller, usually independently owned regional airlines.

A mainline flight is a flight operated by an airline's main operating unit, rather than by regional alliances, regional code-shares or regional subsidiaries. In the USA, examples of mainline passenger airline flights include those operated by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines but it would not include flights operated by regional airlines American Eagle Airlines or Comair with Regional jets or the services of mainline "non-airline" regional airline marketing brands such as AmericanConnection, Delta Connection, or United Express aboard lower-capacity narrowbody jets and turboprop aircraft, such as those produced by Embraer or Bombardier, that do not have transcontinental range.

Often US mainline airline carriers operate in-house brands such as the Delta Shuttle, or the mainline United's Ted, and United p.s. to cater to business segments such as the short-range air shuttle, low-cost, or premium-service flights which normally would not support the traffic or revenue yield needed for the traditional operation of larger mainline aircraft with over 100 passenger seats between selected city pairs.

All of the mainline legacy airlines listed below operate international, intercontinental, or transoceanic airline services using jet airliners[citation needed]

All of the following legacy airlines and their holding companies operate using secondary regional carriers via airline marketing sub-brands commonly marketed as "Express" or "Connection" services.

All of the following airlines in some form operate in association with a regional component. All legacy carriers are among the group of US airlines known as "mainline" carriers.

Major U.S. Mainline Carriers
Mainline Legacy Carriers Non-Mainline but "owned"
Regional Affiliate Carriers
Non-Mainline Regional Brands
American Airlines American Eagle
American Eagle - Executive Airlines
AmericanConnection
Continental Air Lines No regional affiliates Continental Connection
Continental Express
Delta Air Lines Comair
Compass Airlines
Mesaba Airlines
Delta Connection
United Air Lines No regional affiliates United Express
US Airways PSA Airlines
Piedmont Airlines
US Airways Express
"Non-Legacy Carriers" using "mainline" equipment
Alaska Airlines Horizon Air No regional brands
Frontier Airlines Lynx Aviation Frontier Express
*JetBlue Airways No regional affiliates No regional brands
Defunct Airline Defunct Airline Midwest Connect
Airlines using "mainline" equipment minus any regional components
*AirTran Airways No regional affiliates No regional brands
*Allegiant Airlines No regional affiliates No regional brands
** Hawaiian Airlines No regional affiliates No regional brands
** North American Airlines No regional affiliates No regional brands
*Ryan International Airlines No regional affiliates No regional brands
*Spirit Airlines No regional affiliates No regional brands
*Southwest Airlines No regional affiliates No regional brands
*USA3000 Airlines No regional affiliates No regional brands
*USA Jet Airlines No regional affiliates No regional brands
*World Airways No regional affiliates No regional brands
  • (*) NOTE: These airlines operate mainline equipment but do not wholly "own" regional airlines or have "non-owned" regional affiliates.
    • (**) Hawaiian Airlines does operate transoceanic international and intercontinental ETOPS services but does not have a regional component
    • (**) North American Airlines does operate transoceanic international and intercontinental ETOPS services as a supplemental / charter airline carrier, but does not have a regional component

References

  • [1], AA and early references to mainline, regional and B-scale
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