United Reveals First 15 Routes For New Bombardier CRJ-550 Aircraft

United Airlines has revealed the first 15 routes its new Bombardier CRJ-550 aircraft will be operating on. Initially, the CRJ-550 action is centered out of United’s Chicago O’Hare hub, but the airline promises to roll out new routes in the coming weeks from both Newark and Washington Dulles. United’s CRJ-550 flights in and out of Chicago will begin October 27, 2019.

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

So where’s the CRJ-550 flying to?

According to a statement provided by United Airlines, the initial routes will primarily serve Midwest and Great Lakes cities with the occasional foray east. The first 15 routes are;

  • Chicago (ORD) – Allentown (ABE) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates two daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Bentonville (XNA) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates three daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Cedar Rapids (CID) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates three daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Cincinnati (CVG) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates up to seven daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Columbus (CMH) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates up to seven daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Des Moines (DSM) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates five daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Grand Rapids (GRR) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates five daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Greensboro (GSO0 – Chicago (ORD)  on which United operates four daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD0 – Harrisburg (MDT) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates two daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Indianapolis (IND) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates up to eight daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Madison (MSN) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates up to seven daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Oklahoma City (OKC) – Chicago (ORD)  on which United operates three daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Richmond (RIC) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates three daily direct services.
  • Chicago (ORD) – St Louis (STL) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates up to eight daily direct flights.
  • Chicago (ORD) – Tulsa (TUL) – Chicago (ORD) on which United operates four daily direct flights.
united-crj-550
Inside the cabin of a Bombardier CRJ550. United will configure their new aircraft to have 10 first-class seats. Photo: Bombardier

Whilst United Airlines advises tickets for CRJ-550 services will be on sale from tomorrow, Saturday, October 13, 2019, for flights beginning on Sunday, October 27, 2019, not all flights on all days on these routes may immediately be operated by the CRJ-500 from October 27.

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United and the CRJ-550

United is buying 54 of the CRJ-550s from Bombardier. The new jets are based on the CRJ-700 aircraft already seen scooting around in United’s livery. But besides being new, United reckons the CRJ-550s will be a big upgrade for everybody.

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They’ll seat 50 passengers, including 10 in first class. The first-class cabin will have a 1-2 layout plus one rear row of a single orphan seat (4A). The main cabin will have 10 rows in a 2-2 layout. United says their CRJ-550s will have more legroom than any other comparable sized aircraft in the United States, ample space for carry-on luggage, WiFi connectivity, and a self serve refreshment bar that will have “a wide assortment of snacks and beverages”.

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

The thinking behind buying the CRJ-550

In addition to providing a superior inflight product in comparison to most of United’s existing regional aircraft, the CRJ-550 will help United overcome some logistical hurdles and competitive disadvantages. Under current agreements with its pilots, United has only been able to operate a fixed number of larger first-class cabin equipped regional jets.

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The CRJ-550 falls under the larger regional jet threshold and United can exploit that loophole and offer more services on skinny regional routes that it was otherwise under servicing.

By being able to feed more regional passengers through its big hubs like O’Hare, United can then funnel more of them directly onto other United services. Competitors such as Delta Air Lines have historically had an advantage in doing this. By rolling out the CRJ-550s, United Airlines hopes to erode that advantage.

We’ll be interested in the feedback from the first United CRJ-550 flights.

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Billy Launders

I still don’t think it makes sense for them in terms of economics. Rather have a 3 class ~70 seat RJ instead of a 3 class 50 seater.

David C

Except for Indianapolis, St. Louis and Ok City, all the markets being served by the new aircraft/interior secondary or tertiary. But they still have business travelers. It kind of makes sense to connect to O’Hare as a hub because no other airline is servicing these markets. The bonus is that economy leisure passengers will have the option to use economy plus. Its an interesting Gambit of you are already servicing these smaller markets with aircraft that are 2/3 full. Same amount of passengers, higher revenue and a superior product over the competition. For years we have been on the race… Read more »

Ricport

Am disappointed UA is not putting A319s, or at least ERJs on some of the larger routes (e.g., ORD-CMH, ORD-STL). Looks like the same, old, cramped CRJs with a fresh interior & coat of paint. Oh well, at least it’s not a clunky turboprop.

Lance

This will allow pilots that are certified to fly lighter weight aircraft to fly these ones…since the CRJ550’s are lighter than the CRJ700’S…

Mike

United we miss you in Carlsbad California. Please restart service to LAX at McClellan-Palomar Airport