United's New CRJ-550 Regional Jet's Enter Service
What is sure to be a win for United elites who fly short haul regional flights, their new CRJ-550 jets enter service this month.
United yesterday announced tickets for its newest regional fleet member, the Bombardier CRJ-550, which will be available for purchase starting tomorrow October 12th, for travel starting October 27th. The initial schedule announced includes 15 cities from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD).
Hallelujah! What is sure to be music to United elites ears (specifically P1K's and Premier Platinum) who fly primarily short haul regional flights, the new CRJ-550 is the world's only 50-seat regional jet to offer true first-class seating and other premium amenities. Specifically, space for every customer to bring a roller bag on board, a self-serve refreshment center for United First customers featuring a wide assortment of snack and refreshments, more overall legroom than any per seat than any other 50-seat aircraft flow by a U.S. airline, and the ability to stay connected with while in flight with United Wi-Fi. Now for those like myself who find them selves on regional jets quite often, this is exactly what we could have hoped for. Specifically the fact that there is space for every customer to bring a roller bag on board. Business travelers know the struggle of having to check your carry-on in the jet bridge and wait for it once deplaning, something both time consuming and frustrating. I alluded this being a particularly attractive for Premier 1K's and Premier Platinum members as the larger First Class cabin means better chances of getting automatically upgraded on these flights. I'll be the first to admit I've done my share of complaining having to travel on ancient regional aircraft regularly that feel as though they have been flying since the dark ages. So this needless to say, was a long time coming.
This move also shows United's intent on trying to better serve its position on smaller markets in the U.S Northeast, serving markets such as Chicago - Northwest Arkansas. United's regional partner, GoJet, will being operating the jet later this month on October 27th.
These new jets will service the following routes from Chicago per United's press release yesterday. Initially, the CRJ 550 will fly between Chicago O'Hare and:
Allentown, Pennsylvania (ABE)
Bentonville, Arkansas (XNA)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID)
Columbus, Ohio (CMH)
Des Moines, Iowa (DSM)
Grand Rapids, Michigan (GRR)
Greensboro, North Carolina (GSO)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (MDT)
Indianapolis, Indiana (IND)
Madison, Wisconsin (MSN)
Oklahoma City (OKC)
Richmond, Virginia (RIC)
St. Louis, Missouri (STL)
Tulsa, Oklahoma (TUL)
United also states that additional cities will be added over the coming weeks from United hubs in Chicago, New York/Newark, and Washington Dulles.
Interested to see what the new CRJ-550 looks like both from the outside and inside? So was I. One flyer was able to capture some shots of the new CRJ-550 parked at O'Hare just over a month ago. A bit different than the rendering show above previously share by aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.
While the new, and clean, seats are a welcome (we'll see how long that lasts), along with the larger First Class cabin, you'll notice the food and beverage area toward the front of the plane for First Class passengers.
Overall, if you are in First, Premium Economy, or Economy, you are sure to have a better flight experience. Those who fly regionally regularly or have been on United's CRJ-200 or EMB-145 aircraft know how uncomfortable and tight those planes can be. I look forward to flying the CRJ-550 later this month and sharing my experience!