United Airlines To Acquire 54 Bombardier CRJ550s

Chicago based United Airlines is looking to acquire 54 Bombardier CRJ550 regional jets fitted out with first-class seats.

Bombardier CRJ550
The Bombardier CRJ550 is United Airlines new regional jet. Photo: Bombardier

According to The Points Guy, United are looking to secure all 54 aircraft by the end of next year. The CRJ550s are a new Bombardier built aircraft based on CRJ700 airframes. Bombardier is promoting the regional jet as being the first triple-class 50-seat aircraft in the world.

The CRJ550 will replace older regional jets

In a press release from the Canadian plane maker, they claim that the CRJ550 is the only solution for North America’s aging fleet of 50 seat aircraft.

cabin CRJ550
Inside the cabin of a Bombardier CRJ550. United will configure their new aircraft to have 10 first-class seats. Phto: Bombardier

Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft said in the media release,

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“The new CRJ550 model is the only solution in North America that can replace the existing fleet of aging 50-seaters, a market of over 700 aircraft. It offers an improved passenger experience with ample onboard storage for carry-on bags and more passenger living space. This is one more example of how we are focusing on creating value for our customers and a very important endorsement from United in regards to the CRJ platform.”

United’s CRJ550s will have 10 first-class seats

United’s new 50 seat regional jet will be fitted out with 10 first-class seats.

seat set up United CRJ550
United’s CRJ550 cabin configuration.Photo: United Airlines

The rest of the aircraft will be comprised of 20 economy plus seats and 20 standard economy seats.

United Airlines CRJ550s will also feature large storage closets, eliminating the need for passengers to gate check their bags. In addition to this, the plane comes with a self-serve beverage and snack station and more overall legroom per seat than any other 50 passenger aircraft flown by any American airline.

The first CRJ550 will be based in Chicago

When the first of United’s new CRJ550s arrives later this year, it will be based at their Chicago O’Hare hub and be put on the ORD-XNA route. For those not familiar with the XNA airport code, it refers to Bentonville, Arkansas which just happens to be the world headquarters of Walmart.

overhead bin CRJ550
More storage room for bags. Photo: Bombardier

Following this other aircraft will be put on routes to smaller regional airports, and will be based at both Chicago O’Hare and Newark Liberty airports.

When talking about the CRJ550s back in February, executives at United Airlines said the new planes would help their current competitive disadvantage in some of the country’s smaller markets.

Currently, United’s contracts with its pilots limit the airline to 255 large regional jets that feature first-class cabins. Meanwhile, Delta and American Airlines can both fly more of the larger models.

By flying the CRJ550 United Airlines will now be able to introduce a first-class service on smaller routes while still complying with contractual requirements of their pilots. Andrew Nocella, the chief commercial officer of United, commented on this during a second-quarter earnings call on July 17th, saying,

“Getting our structural disadvantage in smaller communities fixed is a priority … We’re excited to see the 550 into service and what it’s going do to us.”

Besides helping United Airlines level the playing field in smaller markets, the CRJ550 will create new upgrade opportunities for frequent flyers. The way United will do this is by introducing the CRJ550s on routes that currently fly 50 seat aircraft will an all-economy configuration.

The United CCO did not put an exact date on when the new CRJ550s would enter service other than to say it would be “later this year”.

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Jeffrey R Webb

Personally I would Prefer Using a Twin Engined Wing Mounted Airplane in Chicago Environment as the Colder Seasonal Temperatures are a Common Event. These Pusher Type Aircraft are More Difficult to Fly in Snow and Colder Weather Environments!
Boeing Twin Engined Wing Mounted Planes Are My Personal Choice in a Regional AIRCRAFT SOLUTION Especially in CHICAGO Weather Conditions👑🎩

Mark

Like say a Boeing MAX ?

paul

Right, “smaller markets”. The reason that pilot groups object to the RJs is that they are regularly and extensively used on mainline routes, not to just smaller outlying cities. This often includes hub-to-hub flights, and between cities each having populations in excess of 1 million (example, Houston to Dallas). The reason airlines want these planes is not to serve smaller markets, but instead to outsource the flying to separate companies where pilots earn a “B Scale”, approximately half or less of what mainline pilots earn. Mainline pilots groups have made it clear, it’s fine for the company to buy whatever… Read more »

Marty

Yes, I would agree with Paul. Especially near the end where he talks about what “Mainline pilots” want. Just to let you know, as we see the article and turn to it, “we” are all on the edge of our seats waiting for you to tell us “Who” is going to be flying these airplanes; Express or Mainline and you never mention it. We can certainly surmise that it will be an “Express” based on your information. I know you have covered the information as far as the general public is concerned but the real underlying issue that “the aviation… Read more »

A Dunville

“These Pusher Type Aircraft are More Difficult to Fly in Snow and Colder Weather Environments!” has to be one of the dumbest statements I’ve read in awhile. Especially in the Trump era. Delta has an opportunity with the A220 to reclaim many of those short haul routes it handed over to regional carriers back in the 80s. Abandoning that flying is what created Regional Airlines to begin with. Delta can easily take back the regional flying it gave up and serve smaller communities with the A220. A move like that would greatly impact their Regional Airline partners and all but… Read more »