People Express and Piedmont share the honors for me. People Express liberated my hometown, Rochester New York, from high airfares in 1985 and drove traffic up 38 percent in one year. People Express made the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 reality for millions of people in medium-size markets like Rochester. And the employees were a hoot too.
Piedmont was a just plain good airline. They offered very good nonstop (LGA, EWR, BWI, BOS, JFK) and connecting schedules at Rochester, clean planes, reasonable fares, and friendly employees. God bless President Reagan, but he really blew it by allowing US Air to snap Piedmont up and destroy mainline regional competition at Rochester. We've paid the price ever $ince.
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)