The industry trend away from smaller regional jets to larger ones is continuing, as both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines this week announced plans to add more 76-seat aircraft — jets that are roomier, more comfortable and more passenger-friendly than predecessors like the CRJ.
United, which had already ordered 125 Embraer E175s that have been delivered starting last year, now says it is adding another 10 of the two-cabin, 76-seat planes to the United Express fleet. In addition, “United expects that the airline or one of the carriers that operate as United Express will convert 18 more E175 aircraft to firm orders in the near term,” the company said.
United’s E175s have 12 seats in first class and 64 in economy, including 16 Economy Plus extra-legroom seats. They come with power outlets in first class, wider seats and aisles than other regional aircraft, and bigger overhead bins, United said. Economy seating is configured 2 x 2. Overhead bins can actually accommodate most carryon bags and windows are nice and big. They will replace 50-seat regional jets in the United Express fleet.
United Express is in the process of adding Wi-Fi to its E175s, and this summer, “the airline plans to equip the E175s with personal device entertainment, offering customers complimentary movies and television shows to view on their Wi-Fi-enabled iOS and Android devices using United’s mobile app, as well as on laptop computers,” a spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines regional partner SkyWest said it is buying eight more two-class E175s that will fly under the Alaska banner starting next year. That’s in addition to seven previously ordered E175s that SkyWest will start operating next month for Alaska.
Those planes will go into service July 1 between Seattle-Milwaukee and Seattle-Oklahoma City, and between Portland-St. Louis. The new SkyWest E175s also have 76 seats — 12 in first and 64 in coach.
Have you flown on an Embraer jet? How do they compare to other aircraft? Please leave your comments below.
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