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So, just what airline are you flying on?


    If the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 has left you leery of flying aboard Colgan Air, the regional airline that operated that ill-fated flight, you better not fly USAirways to Albany.

  That's because Colgan operates USAirways' Albany-bound flights as well as Continental flights between Buffalo and Newark — except for the Continental flights between Buffalo and Newark that are not handled by ExpressJet and Continental itself.

   Then again, any qualms about Colgan should not keep you from flying Continental's flights from Buffalo to Cleveland. ExpressJet, Chautauqua Airlines and CommutAir operate most of those flights.

   Confused yet? You're not alone.

   "I think most people think they're flying on a major airline" when they stop on planes operated by regional subcontractors like Colgan, said William Vanecek, director of aviation at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

   Except in many cases, they're not.

   A Buffalo News examination of all the flights leaving Buffalo the week of July 19 found that 46 percent will be flown by regional carriers, even if the planes say USAirways or Continental or United or American.

   What's more, every flight that week from Buffalo to three top national destinations —New York's LaGuardia Airport as well as Reagan National and Dulles International in the nation's capital— is run by a regional.

   So how is all this going to make you feel the next time you have to book a flight?

—Jerry Zremski

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