Red Way: What to Know About the Newest U.S. Airline

A novel concept in regional air service, Red Way uses Global Crossing charters to service routes out of Lincoln, Nebraska.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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With a gentle wave of the wingtip to its hometown, Red Way lifted off from Nebraska's Lincoln Airport for the first time on June 8, 2023.

The passengers on board were the first to fly a unique new airline that could serve as a model for other small regional airports: Red Way, operated by Global Crossing.

Despite the Red Way name, you'll find "Global X" painted on the side of each aircraft and generic blue seats on board. So, what is Red Way? And how does Global Crossing play into this brand-new airline?

Here's what you need to know about the newest airline taking to the skies.

Red Way or Global Crossing?

It’s both! Throughout the Red Way experience, you'll see and hear the phrase "Red Way, operated by Global Crossing."

Indeed, you won't find any aircraft with "Red Way" paint on the side. That's because of the unique arrangement that makes Red Way possible.

In short, the Lincoln Airport Authority is chartering flights from Global Crossing to launch the new airline called Red Way.

(Photo by JT Genter)

This complicated arrangement could cause some confusion when "Red Way" passengers see a Global X-labeled aircraft and only see Global X materials on board.

(Photo by JT Genter)

However, it's a strategy that allows airport authorities to use expiring funding to create air service from the airport without negotiating long-term aircraft leases or hiring crew members.

That means you'll be served by flight attendants sporting Global Crossing outfits instead of "Red Way" gear, too.

(Photo by JT Genter)

Red Way routes

On launch day, Red Way piloted flights to Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas. But that's not all it has planned in the future. Red Way's initial plans include routes to Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis, Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee.

All seven routes are advertised on banners hanging from the gallery above the Red Way check-in desk at Lincoln Airport.

These seven new routes more than triple Lincoln Airport's total air routes. Before Red Way launched, United Airlines was the only airline that regularly served the airport, with routes from Chicago, Denver and Houston.

Despite being in the middle of the country, Red Way isn't planning to connect passengers through Lincoln to other destinations. For now, you can only book nonstop Red Way flights to or from Lincoln.

Red Way ticket options and bag policy

Red Way offers four ticketing options: Basic, Go Light, Go Plus and Go Extra. Here's a breakdown of what each fare type offers and how they compare to other airlines.


Red Way "Basic" is similar to basic economy on other airlines, with a couple of positive exceptions. Red Way basic includes complimentary seat selection and allows changes for a $50 change fee, plus any fare difference.

However, you'll need to pay $25 for a carry-on bag. Alternatively, you can check a bag, also for $25.

That's a pretty appealing option. If you can snag one of Red Way's $17 inaugural fares on select routes, you can travel to your destination with a full-size bag — whether carried on or checked — for just $42. And you won't have to pay for seat selection.

Go Light

Red Way's Go Light fares are similar to standard economy fares on legacy airlines. You can bring a full-size carry-on bag and get free standard seat selection — including aisle and window seats behind the emergency exit row.

Plus, you gain the ability to change your flight with no change fee, by simply paying any fare difference.

The only "light" part of this fare is that you don't get to check a bag for free. However, paying $25 each way for a checked bag is cheaper than most domestic airlines.

(Photo by JT Genter)

Go Plus

Travelers don't get much more with Go Plus fares than they do with Go Light fares. The only addition is a cheaper fee to add preferred boarding. You'll still need to pay $25 to check a bag, and you'll only get standard seat selection for free.

This fare type seems to serve as a "full fare" ticket for when a flight is almost full and you want the benefit of preferred boarding.

Go Extra

Go Extra is essentially Red Way's business class fare. You'll get free seat selection in one of the first few rows of the aircraft, priority boarding, a full-size carry-on bag and two free checked bags.

Plus, these fares are fully refundable as long as you cancel and request a refund at least three hours before scheduled departure.

Red Way aircraft and seat types

(Photo by JT Genter)

The inaugural Red Way flight was operated using a former Alaska Airlines (and Virgin America) Airbus A320 aircraft.

(Photo by JT Genter)

This aircraft is arranged with two different types of seats: three rows of business class seating at the front and economy seats for the remainder of the aircraft.

(Photo by JT Genter)

The first four rows of economy (rows 6-9 of this aircraft) offer at least 35 inches of seat pitch. However, you'll generally have to pay a premium to select these seats. On one flight we priced out, you'll need to pay $60 to select an aisle or window seat in this section.

(Photo by JT Genter)

Two emergency exit rows measured at 38 inches of pitch.

(Photo by JT Genter)

The remainder of the economy cabin offered between 31-32 inches of pitch. That's slightly more legroom than you'll find on many legacy U.S. carriers nowadays. On the inaugural flight, I overheard several casual travelers who noticed the difference.

Does Red Way have a loyalty program?

For now, Red Way isn't launching a loyalty program. Also, as a public charter, Red Way flights aren't sold through travel booking portals like Chase Ultimate Rewards® or AmEx Travel. That means you can't earn or redeem points on Red Way flights — other than any credit card points earned on your airline purchases.

A Red Way representative told me that they haven't ruled out starting a loyalty program at a later time. For now, they're focused on getting the airline off the ground.

Other things to know about Red Way

  • Get TSA PreCheck: While Red Way isn't a TSA PreCheck airline, Global Crossing Airlines is. If you're a TSA PreCheck member, you can enter your Known Traveler Number at booking. Then, double-check your boarding pass at check-in to ensure it shows TSA PreCheck. If not, Red Way check-in agents should be able to reenter your number.

  • Free snacks and drinks: "Go Extra" business class passengers will receive a small meal on board, and even economy passengers will still get a small snack and a beverage. If you want something more substantial, you can bring other food and drink on board.

  • Power and Wi-Fi: In the pre-departure email, Red Way noted that "Wi-Fi and in-seat chargers are not available on the flight." However, the aircraft used on the inaugural flight had both universal and USB power outlets, plus free Gogo-powered Wi-Fi. Not every Global Crossing aircraft has Wi-Fi, so make sure that you're prepared to be offline and have enough of a charge to make it to your destination, just in case.

  • No pets allowed: Red Way only allows certified service animals. No pets are allowed in the cabin or in the cargo hold, and Red Way doesn't accept emotional support animals on board.

Final thoughts on the new Red Way airline

After losing commercial air service during the pandemic and struggling to attract new service, Lincoln Airport decided to try something revolutionary: Funding a new hometown airline.

And Red Way is a big bet, adding scheduled charter flights to seven new destinations to complement the three existing routes on commercial airlines.

Red Way is operated by Global Crossing. Because of this unique arrangement, you'll find Global X on everything from the side of the aircraft and safety cards to the check-in desk and flight attendant uniforms.

Since Global X operates an eclectic mix of aircraft, details like seat power and Wi-Fi availability may vary. However, with low fares, flyer-friendly policies and nonstop flights, Red Way is now the airline to fly between Lincoln and the destinations it serves.

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