US Airways yesterday announced it would add first-class seating and service on 110 US Airways Express regional jets operated by Republic Airways, Mesa Air Group and PSA. Plans call for the airline to install first-class seating on Embraer 170s and 175s, along with Bombardier CRJ700s and CRJ900s, beginning in October with the E175 fleet. It expects to finish outfitting the three remaining fleet types by the end of next January.
All the types but the CRJ900 will offer 37 inches of seat pitch, in the two-by-one configuration, while the big Bombardier RJs will offer 38 inches. Cabin-class seats will all offer 31 inches of pitch and remain four abreast. Once it completes the project, US Airways will offer the highest percentage of daily departures with a first-class cabin among the four major U.S. network carriers, according to the airline. Delta, American and United all already offer first-class seating in a portion of their regional jet fleets.
The modifications will result in nine-seat, first-class sections in the CRJ700s, CRJ900s and E170s, while the E175s get eight first-class seats. The CRJ700s will hold 58 coach seats, the CRJ900s 70, the E170s 60 and the E175s 72.
“With the installation of first class on US Airways’ Express partner aircraft we’re able to offer our first-class customers seamless, same-class service to the more than 85 destinations these aircraft serve,” said Andrew Nocella, US Airways’ senior vice president marketing and planning. “This will also offer our Dividend Miles Preferred members complimentary upgrades on nearly 640 more flights each day.”
US Airways said it expects the move to result in a “revenue positive” outcome in the first year of the program due to its ability to charge higher fares for the first-class seats.