I found this really interesting. As a person that worked with and partnered with both mainline and regional companies over the years, it's certainly a different dynamic that we've seen from United in years previous. The last real innovation I feel United did was offering PS on transcon, and now I feel like they've been left behind on that one by their competitors. I'm glad to see them thinking outside the box, but it looks as though this is to adjust the aircraft currently in their fleet. While some are touting this as out of the box thinking (and it is to some degree in terms of the CRJ550) other aspects are similar to other carriers.
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.
While this thread seems to be focused on the small cabin CRJ550, no one has really focused on the A320/319 or 767 forward cabin increase. The Airbus F cabin increase is an interesting point to me as United feels to me at least that everyone has "status" at United. The last time I flew United, a last minute trip LGA-ORD in F, I was kind of surprised to see a list of about 100+ all waiting for an upgrade. More than half the plane. However, I bought the ticket a few days before, which made no sense to me.
A number of people in this thread commented something to the like of "Good, I can never get an upgrade, now I can!" United is NOT doing this so they can offer free upgrades to loyal flyers. They are doing it because they feel that they can actually fill the seats with paying customers. United is one of the most shrewd in terms of operating with open seats. They have a great system of managing their oversales, often overselling their flights but managing to go out with just the right amount to not have to give out many DBCs often (it does happen but not in the amount you would assume when looking at their oversale bookings). That being said, if they feel they can rip out 6-12, Y cabin seats, to offer an additional 4 F cabin seats, it means they feel they can justify the demand.
In terms of DL vs UA vs AA, on the airbus, this is a welcome change unless UA is planning on just pushing the Y seats closer together as they did when they created the Y+ cabin. The biggest issue for me as a flyer is power ports, if you're gonna be on a CRJ or an Airbus, if it's more than an hour flight I need to be productive and I need to have all my stuff ready to go when I land so I can literally hit the ground running and with all my electronic dodads fully charged While there are people that want to use the Wifi/Inflight Use your own device, it's a great idea, but if you don't offer power ports, then it's a moot idea. That was my last experience with both UA and AA on the airbus (and almost every CRJ operator), no power, and I've avoided them since. IF UA wants to cater to biz pax, and it sounds like they do, then power ports are a must, regardless of aircraft type. VFR once a year flyers (and some biz pax too) love IFE at your seat. They feel like they are flying on a bigger better new airplane, and the tv in seat makes them feel like they paid for something other than transport A-B. It's a mental perception, and in terms of Delta, investing in the customer certainly seems to have paid off for them. If they continue to want to BYD operation, power ports are a must.
In terms of scope, aircraft deliveries and crew.
My understanding that two things are pushing this cabin design forward:
-The first was that a number of the CRJ aircraft are coming up on their life cycles. Because of the short segment the CRJ aircraft operate, it puts more cycles on the aircraft thus cutting the lifespan short after being pressurized so many times. Some of those aircraft are likely 20 years old if not older, the newest likely being from 2005/2006 (someone probably knows details this better than I) which is already pushing 15 years.
-The second, Scope. From my understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong, no harm) Expressjet is getting newer E175s with a reduced cabin size, thus United being at scope limits it had to reduce either it's aircraft inventory, or reduce cabin occupancy (which is interesting as I thought scope was limited based on aircraft weight, too). If you look you'll see the connection. E175s with baggage stowage on board, CR7 with baggage stowage on board.
That being said, should negotations with ALPA go the way they want, or fuel becomes to much they can junk the old CR7s (which are all GECAS birds from 2005/2006 if memory serves) or add the seats back if they can and bring the CASM back into line with other aircraft of the same type.
In terms of routes...
Someone posted sample routes from ORD and everyone seems to think that these will only be out of ORD. While GoJet operates mainly from ORD and DEN, my guess is that it will be operating out of all of their hubs on high yield routes, IAD and EWR included. Perhaps they'll test it from ORD and move from there? There are plenty of smaller cities that warrant F class but cannot sustain larger aircraft, so this aircraft would be a win for those cities. Also there are markets like ORD-RIC where they have the F class market but don't seem to be able to sustain mainline equipment, so this would be a no brainer.
In terms of offering...
There is no mention of increase in seat pitch in the forward or aft, so I can only assume there is not one, otherwise United would have pounced on that for marketing like a fat kid on cake. I'm concerned with how the baggage stowage will be offloaded upon arrival. Will all economy pax wait till all the F pax have gotten their bag, or will all F pax have to wait for all the 40 people in the back to get off first before they can have access to their bag? it's gonna be a mess either way. A self service snack bar serving the same shelf stable garbage the FA gives out isn't much of an offering, especially on a 45-90 min flight.
Time will tell about the 50 seat CR7 but I'm hopeful. As for the Airbus and 767 increase, it's meeting customer demand, if it's needed then they'll do great with it.
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.
Exactly. A second FA on a 50 seater would kill the economics even more. FAA requirement is one FA per 50 seats and being able to show an evac time under 90 seconds. Evac time has never been a problem.
From my understanding, since they are refurbishing the aircraft which is certified at 2 cabin crew it will remain with 2 crew. Thus, unless they want to go through the recertification process, it will remain at 2 crew. Also, Gojet cabin crew start around $16-18 an hour, so I don't think that's going to break the bank.
It's better that these CRJ-550s are conversions because these planes will be financial pigs if fuel goes up to high levels again. They will be challenged even with mid-price oil. I understand the scope reasons, but i still question the choice.
Also, a seating configuration change is not a new aircraft designation!!!
This is how I see it as well. The nice part is IF they can justify keeping those older aircraft, they can always put back the 70 seat interior. Otherwise, they can send the aircraft back to GECAS and keep the new E175s which have overhead baggage stowage onboard.
Also, I don't see the seating config a reason to redesignate the aircraft type. It's still a CR7 frame. If you change the layout of the 767 inside it is still listed as a 767 in the GDS. Boeing certainly isn't renaming this the new United heavy J config the 767-500.
I like it. For example, if you are in DAY (example) and you have to go to NRT in business. You could hop on a DL flight with F or UA with an ERJ to your international gateway currently. In the future, you would have F offered for the entire trip and that's one more reason to shop UA.
With that being said, I'd love to see the numbers behind it...or just a negotiation tactic that may not happen if relief is given.
It's just my opinion, but there is nothing F about United domestic F on a regional aircraft with no power outlets. The same FA service and a self service snack bar offering the same snack options on a 45-90 minute flight does nothing for most, and won't sway people to choose United over another carrier, even when making a connection to F on an international long haul. There is no increase in seat pitch or of amenity offering.
The one aircraft that people are surprisingly not mentioning was the CRJ-440, which operated with 9E (I think) and OH.
This was my first thought when reading about this. I flew on the Comair (OH) CRJ with 40 seats. I was expecting more leg room, nope, just a closet instead.
If I recall well the CRJ 700 was only marginally more expensive to operate than a CRJ 200 (like 10% more).
I'm convinced UA did its calculation and figured it would extract more profit overall in converting those 50 CRJ 700 into 50 seaters. (I'm sure many "business intensive" thin routes exits that would be profitably better served via a CRJ 550)
Furthermore, those "new" 550 will free up many precious 76 seaters for better use. (UA being obviously scoped out in 76 seaters).
Exactly. This wasn't a "let's throw something together at the last minute because we forgot to do our homework..." this had to be carefully researched before it was even proposed to upper management. Again, this can be due to scope, but also there is the connection of older leased aircraft, and newer aircraft with onboard stowage coming online that customers prefer.
Learn something new every day.
Did they have (obviously moderately) increased legroom or was the aft bulkhead just moved forward?
Nope no increase in legroom, just added a closet.
The actual seat design has not been revealed yet, has it? Will they be the same F seat as on current CRJ’s or the new F seat as seen on the Airbuses?
My understanding is that it's the same CR7 F seat, the Airbus seat is too wide to fit the cabin, even in a 1x2 layout.
A) some people don’t have much of a choice
B) you’re obviously a *very special* outlier, to say the least
Comment of the day! (And much nicer than I would have put it.)
Same! Much nicer than I would have been.
People despise flying 4 across Bombardiers for anything more than the shortest 1 hour flights.
I routinely fly them on stages over two hours on AC, very comfy, though overhead bin is small.
Oh! So, you're the one!
While I’m LOVING this bold move by United to be more premium heavy across the entire network, (especially the super premium 767) I cannot help but wonder (Polaris Lounges excluded) that just because UA will have 46 Polaris seats vs 30, a PE cabin, and larger E+ sections, that fliers will perceive United as more “premium”. Premium business fliers may or may not notice that an aircraft has many more Polaris (eg; First/enhanced Biz) seats than other airlines, we see it as premium heavy, but will the regular premium flier flying see it that way (or like on BA’s 747, I always felt like I was one of a hundred in business- I enjoyed it, but it did feel more democratized, and the FA’s were always frenzied during meal time)...
This is something I have stated on numerous in regards to traveling at the pointy end. Having done +100 segments in F/J, there is a point where when the forward cabin is large it does not feel special and lacks the "premium" feel. A classic example of this is when I flew AA on ORD-JFK on a 777 once in J and everything was so rushed, I couldn't even get a second drink on a 1:40 flight afer asking twice, because everyone else needed something. We've already seen announcements by United stating they are reducing the staffing on flights, so if you're increasing the J seat count on the 767 hopefully they will learn and add additional staffing.
Save a horse, ride a Fly-boy....