United Airlines’ new Embraer 175 took to the skies between Chicago O’Hare and Washington National on 17 May, the first route of many with the dual-class aircraft.
“It’s a new era,” says Sandra Pineau-Boddison, senior vice-president of United Express at the Chicago-based airline, at an event in Chicago on 19 May.
United will add two to four E175s to its fleet per month for a total of 70 by the end of 2015, she says. They will replace smaller, inefficient 50-seat regional jets with a product that is more appealing to business travellers, she adds.
The E175s are outfitted with 76 first, economy plus and economy seats with power outlets at every seat in first class.
The economy cabin sports the new slimline seats designed by Priestmangoode that United is installing across its narrowbody fleet.
In June, United will expand its E175 network to flights from Chicago O’Hare to Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul and New York LaGuardia, and from Houston Intercontinental to Austin, Atlanta and New Orleans.
Despite plans to replace small jets, the initial routes will mostly see daily seat capacity reductions following the introduction of the E175, a Flightglobal analysis of published schedules finds.
San Francisco will see E175-operated flights to Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul and St. Louis from September and October.
Mesa Airlines and SkyWest Airlines operate the E175s for United.