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intotheair
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Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:33 am

This is a strange one. CNBC and a handful of other outlets are reporting that UA is announcing this Wednesday. I can't find anything on UA's site yet.

    United is ordering 50 CRJ-550s, which are CRJ-700s configured with 50 seats, including 10 F seats and a bar/snack area
    All A320s will go from 12 F seats to 16
    All A319s will go from 8 F seats to 12
    21 767-300s will receive a premium configuration with 46 Polaris seats

This CRJ-550 should be interesting. UA says it's targeting it for routes under 900 miles like ORD-XNA, where premium demand is higher than in other places.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/06/united- ... ce=twitter

https://ottawacitizen.com/pmn/business- ... 38dd458d21

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/f ... 785146002/

EDIT: the CRJ-550s will be conversions of United's existing CRJ-700s and will not be new build frames.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ual- ... SKCN1PV0BF
Last edited by SQ22 on Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Title changed
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jetero
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:38 am

Well good news on the Airbus fleet.

Can’t see these choices being very resilient in economic downturns.

But, for once, UA is a first-mover.
 
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UPlog
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:39 am

Sounds like what happened with design of the CRJ-705 which is a -900 but with fewer seats to get around scope restrictions at Air Canada.
 
sldispatcher
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:40 am

All for it.
A much needed boost. The airbii were in bad need of this expansion.

The crj-550....very interesting
 
FlyHappy
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:41 am

WHAT?
A bar/snack area on CRJ ?
I'm... confused.

But hey - seriously, if UA is committed to going upscale on these smaller market routes, good on them - I hope its sustainable.

So are these presumably new build CRJ from BBD - kind of a big deal, no?
 
sohanb82
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:43 am

Will these be new build CRJ?
 
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intotheair
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:44 am

UPlog wrote:
Sounds like what happened with design of the CRJ-705 which is a -900 but with fewer seats to get around scope restrictions at Air Canada.


Indeed. UA is being billed as the launch customer for it with deliveries later this year. The articles, though, do not say whether these are new frames being built from scratch or if they're going to be repurposed CRJ-700s. If my memory is correct, a number of CRJ-700s are leaving the UAX fleet to make room for E-175SCs, which are also low-density RJs designed to get around scope limits.
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seat1a
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:45 am

What would be premium routes from ORD that warrant the CRJ550? LNK? ICT? Or perhaps a shuttle service to MCI?
 
jetmatt777
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:45 am

What?

Image
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:48 am

Interesting....

So what exactly does the layout of the CRJ550 look like? are they doing 5 rows of 1x1 and 10 rows of 2x2 instead of the usual 1x2 F class on a CR7?
 
sldispatcher
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:52 am

My question is will this also cause rebalance in other 50 seaters out there? Are they at their max?

I can see ORD and EWR being excellent starters for these aircraft. Columbus, Cincy, Kansas City, Hartford, Charleston, etc.

Smart move.
 
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:54 am

PSU.DTW.SCE wrote:
Interesting....

So what exactly does the layout of the CRJ550 look like? are they doing 5 rows of 1x1 and 10 rows of 2x2 instead of the usual 1x2 F class on a CR7?


Sounds like it'll be 10 F, 20 E+, and 20 Y. I think the F cabin will probably still be 1-2 like all the other CRJs with probably a fourth row with only one seat on the portside.

sldispatcher wrote:
My question is will this also cause rebalance in other 50 seaters out there? Are they at their max?


The pilot contract has scope restrictions on 70 and 76 seaters, and UA is maxed out there. But there is no real limit to how many 50 seaters UAX can operate.
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sldispatcher
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:59 am

At 50 seats, will that also mean they can keep it at one flight attendant?
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:59 am

They must have received one hell of a deal on those. It must be time to burn the furniture at Bombardier.
 
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intotheair
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:00 am

This article from Reuters says the CRJ-550s will be conversions of United's existing CRJ-700s and are not new build frames, though Bombardier could theoretically start marketing the same idea to other airlines.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ual- ... SKCN1PV0BF

Under the plan, United will work with Bombardier to use the frame of its current CRJ 70-seat fleet for a new two-cabin, 50-seat configuration with a self-serve beverage and snack station for premium travelers and four storage closets for carry-on bags.

The CRJ 550s will eventually replace United’s current 50-seat regional fleet with a model permitted under its pilots’ contract, which became amenable in January.

While not generating new orders for cash-strapped Bombardier, United’s plan would allow the Canadian plane and train maker to market the new model to other U.S. airlines looking to replace aging regional jets. Bombardier aims to take a decision on its money-losing CRJ regional jet program this year.
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:05 am

seat1a wrote:
What would be premium routes from ORD that warrant the CRJ550? LNK? ICT? Or perhaps a shuttle service to MCI?


Probably routes like:

HSV-ORD
MLI-ORD
XNA-ORD
CID-ORD
TYS-ORD
ROA-ORD
LEX-ORD
ABE-ORD
FSD-ORD
TVC-ORD
SGF-ORD
CRW-ORD

These are all very high fare routes, and for the most part are somewhere between 1-2 hour flights currently flown mostly on 50 seaters.

Obviously some routes like these are possible as well, since most of these larger routes don't see that much mainline, or still see a decent amount of 50 seaters:
CMH-ORD
STL-ORD
IND-ORD
CVG-ORD
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:06 am

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:12 am

"PPRuNe will no longer allow discussions regarding Etihad Airlines, its employees, executives, agents, or other representatives. Such threads will be deleted." - ME3 thug airlines suing anyone who brings negative information public..
 
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:12 am

sldispatcher wrote:
At 50 seats, will that also mean they can keep it at one flight attendant?

I wonder if that’s why “self-serve beverage and snack station for our United First customers” gets prominent billing - no dedicated flight attendant but free flowing drinks and snacks.

V/F
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sldispatcher
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:13 am

I can see where this could free up aircraft to bump up IAD bank count.
 
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LAXintl
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:15 am

GoJet will be operating the aircraft. Initially from ORD, then EWR.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
Thomaas
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:20 am

They must be very confident in their yields to drastically reduce the density of their CRJ700s (about 40% less seats). History has time and time again proven that people won't pay more for extra legroom, I don't see why this would be any different.
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:24 am

So then if UA is converting existing CRJ-700 jets to 50 seats does that mean they can add more 70 seat jets?
 
B747forever
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:51 am

What will the new configuration be on the A320/A319? Will they reduce regular Y or Y+ in order to add those extra F seats?
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:00 am

B747forever wrote:
What will the new configuration be on the A320/A319? Will they reduce regular Y or Y+ in order to add those extra F seats?


Details posted on the United fleet thread already.
 
B747forever
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:07 am

UPlog wrote:
B747forever wrote:
What will the new configuration be on the A320/A319? Will they reduce regular Y or Y+ in order to add those extra F seats?


Details posted on the United fleet thread already.


I think that this announcement warrants it own thread as not everyone checks those long threads.


Anyway, looks like it will be

A319 - 12/36/78
A320 - 16/39/95
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rrbsztk
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:10 am

I'd also speculate self serve snack bar means only one flight attendant. I wonder how much more the trip cost is vs crj200 or e145?
 
32andBelow
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:18 am

sldispatcher wrote:
At 50 seats, will that also mean they can keep it at one flight attendant?

No way they go 1 FA with that much premium. Also I doubt the FAA would allow it. The plane is too long for 1 FA to give an effective safety demo and assist in an emergency.
 
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:27 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
They must have received one hell of a deal on those. It must be time to burn the furniture at Bombardier.


If they are new builds I don't see why they would give a good deal, Bombardier wants to shed the programm and they reportedly lose money on every frame....

Thomaas wrote:
They must be very confident in their yields to drastically reduce the density of their CRJ700s (about 40% less seats). History has time and time again proven that people won't pay more for extra legroom, I don't see why this would be any different.


I would think this is tailored for passengers that have an onwards flight in PE or J, and they sure as hell will prefer having the F or Y+ plus seats from the start of their journey.

Best regards
Thomas
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:31 am

32andBelow wrote:
sldispatcher wrote:
At 50 seats, will that also mean they can keep it at one flight attendant?

No way they go 1 FA with that much premium. Also I doubt the FAA would allow it. The plane is too long for 1 FA to give an effective safety demo and assist in an emergency.


Maybe the FAA is different from European authorities, but Alsie Express in Denmark flies a ATR72 as 48 seater to safe that one FA.

Best regards
Thomas
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32andBelow
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:32 am

tommy1808 wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
sldispatcher wrote:
At 50 seats, will that also mean they can keep it at one flight attendant?

No way they go 1 FA with that much premium. Also I doubt the FAA would allow it. The plane is too long for 1 FA to give an effective safety demo and assist in an emergency.


Maybe the FAA is different from European authorities, but Alsie Express in Denmark flies a ATR72 as 48 seater to safe that one FA.

Best regards
Thomas

When KS got their Saab 2000s the FAA mandated they give the safety briefing twice. Once at the front and once at mid cabin due to the length. This would be much longer than that.
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:36 am

I didn't know there was any other requirement than one flight attendant for every 50 sets. Just make a recorded announcement with appropriate pauses for the flight attendant to walk down the aisle and demonstrate. Or better yet, do like Air Canada and install IFE on the CRJ.
 
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:59 am

PSU.DTW.SCE wrote:
Interesting....

So what exactly does the layout of the CRJ550 look like? are they doing 5 rows of 1x1 and 10 rows of 2x2 instead of the usual 1x2 F class on a CR7?


Image

The real reason for this is the scope clause. Since this is 50-seats, the limit of aircraft is basically out the window.
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:05 am

32andBelow wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
No way they go 1 FA with that much premium. Also I doubt the FAA would allow it. The plane is too long for 1 FA to give an effective safety demo and assist in an emergency.


Maybe the FAA is different from European authorities, but Alsie Express in Denmark flies a ATR72 as 48 seater to safe that one FA.

Best regards
Thomas

When KS got their Saab 2000s the FAA mandated they give the safety briefing twice. Once at the front and once at mid cabin due to the length. This would be much longer than that.


The Cabin is longer, but not by much ..... 22 inches. Well, i guess with 10F seats they may go for 2 FA anyways.

best regards
Thomas
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ericm2031
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:51 am

Thought this was a joke at first. Should be interesting once more details are out. Seems a little ballsy that they're announcing the CRJ 550 as they are already in pretty shaky talks with ALPA regarding scope.

G7 is operating these 550's but they only have 25 CRJ700's, so I'm confused where the other 25 are coming from if they are using existing airframes...definitely something creative coming from UA.
 
airlineaddict
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:41 am

This is really out of the box thinking for United. It basically allows for high value customers from smaller markets to receive better seats. Moreover, I’m sure many will be thrilled to not have to wait on the jetway for their bag while trying to make a connection.

Lots of questions:

- What is the incremental cost to fly this type of aircraft vs. CRJ-200/EMB-145? With that said, since these are basically mods of existing fleet, they are minimizing cap ex compared to the cost of purchasing new aircraft.

- Self-service for first class: can you grab your own drink before take off? If the seat belt sign is on, will the FA provide service?

- How many roller bags can fit in the closets, and more importantly how will the flow for deboarding the plane work? First class passengers having to crowd back to retrieve their roller bag will be interesting.

- Can you get away with 1 flight attendant?
Last edited by airlineaddict on Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
DBKissORD
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:55 am

This is really a smart move by UA and proving they are not affraid to think outside the box. This helps them get the old CRJ200s out of the fleet. Some have to be approaching cycle count limits anyway. Scope is not likely to change anytime soon but if it did just rework the interior. In the meantime you are utilizing assets you own, saving on an FA and only buying factory new E175SCs. This is smarter than buying factory new 50 seaters which have not changed much since they were introduced. This will end up being the only 50 seater they fly. Is the CRJ-550 a United designation or a manufacturer one? Does this kind of rework involve the manufacturer at all or just UA and it’s suppliers?
 
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:27 am

Image

Hmmm...Where’s the lav on this plane? I only see closets and a galley.
 
FlyHappy
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:37 am

Thomaas wrote:
They must be very confident in their yields to drastically reduce the density of their CRJ700s (about 40% less seats). History has time and time again proven that people won't pay more for extra legroom, I don't see why this would be any different.


because these are biz routes into small cities, paired with ORD/EWR. I've paid more than TATL/TPAC to fly into these places for work, and seen plenty of other professionals with me. Corporate is footing the bill, so my footing could/should be better.
 
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:03 am

clrd4t8koff wrote:

Hmmm...Where’s the lav on this plane? I only see closets and a galley.

Presumably in the back like all other CRJs.
 
AaronPGH
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:47 am

This is great news. Especially excited about the Airbus additions. SFO-PIT on the A319 is always impossible to get first on, prices are wild.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:56 am

jetero wrote:
Well good news on the Airbus fleet.

Can’t see these choices being very resilient in economic downturns.

But, for once, UA is a first-mover.


The CRJ-550 is interesting (but IMHO, fatally flawed. They must really, really not want to go to mainline pilots to renegotiate scope.)

But as for 319s with 12F, and 320s with 16F -- that's been Delta config for a few years. They claim to be successful selling it instead of giving it away.
 
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:57 am

If scope ever gets relaxed you can watch these aircraft go back to 70 seats faster than you can say CRJ-550. This is a good way to keep large RJs on property in the hope/prayer that the pilots allow scope releif. If United let the aircraft go there is nothing to stop GoJet offering them to AA, DL etc and then UA needs to find new frames if scope is relaxed. As it is I don't think the pilots will cave, but I'm pretty sure that is the long game that UA is trying to play here.
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Wednesdayite
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Re: United orders 50 CRJ-550s, announces increased premium seating

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:05 pm

clrd4t8koff wrote:
Image

Hmmm...Where’s the lav on this plane? I only see closets and a galley.


There isn’t one.

It’s a cunning plan from United to stop their F passengers from helping themselves to too many free drinks.
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Bobloblaw
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:17 pm

RyanairGuru wrote:
If scope ever gets relaxed you can watch these aircraft go back to 70 seats faster than you can say CRJ-550. This is a good way to keep large RJs on property in the hope/prayer that the pilots allow scope releif. If United let the aircraft go there is nothing to stop GoJet offering them to AA, DL etc and then UA needs to find new frames if scope is relaxed. As it is I don't think the pilots will cave, but I'm pretty sure that is the long game that UA is trying to play here.

Nice points. I think this is a bad idea. Delta getting 717s and A220s will go down as one of the best moves in a long time
 
BBDFlyer
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:22 pm

ericm2031 wrote:
Thought this was a joke at first. Should be interesting once more details are out. Seems a little ballsy that they're announcing the CRJ 550 as they are already in pretty shaky talks with ALPA regarding scope.

G7 is operating these 550's but they only have 25 CRJ700's, so I'm confused where the other 25 are coming from if they are using existing airframes...definitely something creative coming from UA.

United is scoped out.

Expressjet is getting 25 brand new E175s at 70 sests. GoJet is converting their CRJ700s to 50 seats to make room for the Expressjet E175s.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:36 pm

In amongst the race to the bottom, somebody has finally realised that there is an alternative.
I wish them every success in this venture.

airlineaddict wrote:
- How many roller bags can fit in the closets, and more importantly how will the flow for deboarding the plane work? First class passengers having to crowd back to retrieve their roller bag will be interesting.

How about a dividing curtain, keeping the economy class peasants in their place (at the back) :lol:

Or simpler still; separate closets for F-class luggage, with the door to the baggage closet providing a physical barrier in itself (blocking the aisle) when locked in the open position by the FA shortly after landing (¹).
If there are two FAs, one can get busy passing the F-class bags forward towards the (seated) F class pax.
They might even earn the occasional gratuity for this bell-hop type service. :bigthumbsup:

Economy Pax may only crowd forward up the aisle after the F-class pax have obtained all their luggage.

(¹) baggage door locked open subject to an over-ride mechanism in case a rapid emergency evac is required.
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
Rbgso
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:43 pm

I guess having all those closets will help with carry on luggage issues. But no lav?
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:50 pm

It is a scope thing.

They are hoping to get scope relief from Alpa under the new negotiations

This allows them to be prepared and just rip out the bar and add seats once that happens

They can’t fly anymore 76 seaters

They must feel pretty strongly that they’re going to get Scope relief
 
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OA940
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Re: Reuters: United to add premium seats on regional and mainline jets

Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:04 pm

How well are they gonna do economically with the low-density CR7? Are the 70-seat E175s and CR9s working for the US3 as well as they'd want?
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