Bombardier CRJ-550 Has Helped Connect Smaller Towns In US – United CEO

United CEO Oscar Munoz has shared that the new Bombardier CRJ-550 has helped connect smaller towns with other areas across the United States. The aircraft launched its first flights last month and United has already received positive feedback.

United CRJ-550
The CRJ-550 was only introduced by United last month. Photo: United

New aircraft

The carrier flew its first of the aircraft on October 27 with flights in and out of Chicago. United’s goal with the 50-seat plane is to offer a premium cabin experience on regional operations. Many of the firm’s initial 15 routes with the CRJ-550 fly to various airports that aren’t traditionally classed as major hubs.

Allentown, Bentonville, Cedar Rapids, Madison, Richmond, Madison Columbus, and Des Moines are some of the destinations that are served from Chicago. Furthermore, United is currently adding more flights to Newark and Washington Dulles.

Problem solver

Yesterday, Munoz spoke at a luncheon at The Aviation Club UK. The executive shared how the jets have revamped the way United’s passengers in the middle regions of United States travel. The airline provides WiFi, extra amenities and first-class seating on these models.

Bombardier CRJ-550 Regional jet
The CRJ550 is based on the CRJ700, and allows for 50 passengers seated in a three-class cabin. Photo: Bombardier

“We are capitalizing on our network. We have some middle of the country places that have some real growth capability,” Munoz shared at a luncheon, attended by Simple Flying.

“Part of the reason people don’t like to fly from small cities to a big hub is that we have really small aircraft. 50 seaters are really difficult, they are small and are not particularly user-friendly…CRJ-550 really solves that.”

When asked about how those who have traveled on the new airliners have responded, Munoz shared that the feedback has been positive.

“Oh, it has been great. I’m getting constant feedback from prominent people. From people that write, people in the political space, and business people that are flying it. It really is a pleasant experience.” he added.

United CRJ-550 Interior
There is more legroom space than any other 50-seat aircraft flown by a US airline on the CRJ-550. Photo: United

Business sense

The businessman will be flying on one of the CRJ-550s to visit a friend who runs Walmart, at the company’s headquarters, which is based in Bentonville, Arkansas

“Now, that’s one of the big customers that doesn’t necessarily fly United because of the fact that we had those smaller, uncomfortable aircraft. So, now we are going to apply the CRJ. It’s going well,” Munoz concluded.

United has been trying to tap into previously undervalued business markets. Earlier this year, the airline reconfigured many of its Boeing 767s with premium seating. The new interior features 46 United Polaris business class seats and 22 United Premium Plus seats.

Along with this, the airline has switched its London to Denver service from seasonal to year-round. These are all efforts to attract business travelers within a changing market. The company has stated many of these passengers want to travel in greater comfort while on business than while on leisure trips.

What do you think of United’s launch of the CRJ-550? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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Paul Spindler

How does the CRJ 550 compare to the operating costs of a CRJ 200? Obviously it’s longer and heavier but I guess fuel consumption is the same or lower ? Yields should be much better for offering more comfort.

David C

I think its more about attracting business class customers from secondary and tertiary markets. It’s always been a problem of smaller centers to service the business class market with its higher yields. Given a choice between flying a Q400 in all economy class or a CRJ in the 550 configuration but business class, I will choose the CRJ 550 all the time..

Parker West

“The CRJ550 has a lower MTOW than the CRJ700 in order to comply with scope clauses in US pilot contracts“
I will likely be carrying lighter loads than the 700. Does that mean that it uses less fuel, who knows, there is nothing new about the wings or engines that might be more economical. The comparison is not with the CRJ100/200 but the longer 700.


The Runway Girl Network blog has posted several pictures of the interior of CRJ-550. Surprisingly, it has a self-service bar and a spacious roll-up storage closet for carry-on luggages that you wouldn’t find on any aging CRJ-200 jets. Here is the link if you are interested in checking out some pictures.

Parker West

Boys and Girls, The 550 is a CRJ700 with scaled down seating and the addition of a Economy Plus section, it’s old technology going back to the CRJ100/200. Hardly an earthshaking advance. —-WARNING RIDICULES DOUBLE TALK——- “Part of the reason people don’t like to fly from small cities to a big hub is that we have really small aircraft. 50 seaters are really difficult, they are small and are not particularly user-friendly…CRJ-550 really solves that.” Bull, the 550 is a 50 seater small and not user friendly. The height and width is unchanged from the cramped CRJ700. I’ve logged more… Read more »