Larger Planes Coming to American’s Regional Routes: A Good Thing!

Via this forum post, the contract between American Airlines and SkyWest, one of their regional partners that operates American Eagle branded flights, has been terminated.

If you didn’t know, American hires smaller regional airlines to operate their less-trafficked or smaller-plane routes. These smaller carriers operated under the “American Eagle” brand, though the flight crews onboard are all apart of that regional carrier. SkyWest has been one of primary flyers of the CRJ-200 aircraft, the smallest that’s flown for American. Now that the contract has been terminated, you’ll see less CRJ-200’s in the sky. But what impact does this have on you as a flyer?

AA CRJ

The Good

  • Compass Airlines, another regional affiliate, is taking over the routes SkyWest had operated. Because of this, you’ll see more ERJ-175′s on the routes formerly operated by a CRJ-200. These ERJ aircraft are equipped with 12 First Class seats, 20 Main Cabin Extra seats and 44 Main Cabin seats. So, if your routes was operated on a CRJ and now on an ERJ, you’ll have a chance to sit in First Class, which is pretty cool.
  • On the ERJ-175, you’ll have full overhead bin space, meaning no gate checked bags. That’s been a notorious issue on the CRJs, taking up valuable boarding time, and sometimes causing these planes to depart late. Plus, I want to be on my way quickly when I land and don’t want to have to wait for gate checked bags to make their way to the jet bridge, which often takes awhile.

The Bad

  • With smaller capacity aircraft such as the CRJ-200, you’ll often see more flights between city pairs. Now that Compass will be operating the routes, you’ll see larger ERJs, which means a reduction in their schedule. The flip side is these less-often routes now will have more seats.

Here are the routes operated by SkyWest:

Some of the most popular routes you’ll see affected by this termination and moved to Compass:

  • Phoenix to Santa Barbara
  • Phoenix to Palm Springs
  • Phoenix to Austin
  • Phoenix to San Antonio
  • Chicago to Charlottesville
  • Chicago to Montreal
  • Los Angeles to Albuquerque
  • Los Angeles to San Diego
  • Los Angeles to Salt Lake City

I’m really excited about these changes, since it means an up-guage in aircraft on a lot of popular routes I fly. What do you think of the changes?

HT: AA-Flyer-SAN

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Comments

  1. says

    I guess bigger is better although frequency has it’s benefits at times. I would think it would have a negative impact on upgrades with less F seats overall but that’s just a guess. I really don’t get why airlines continue to fly routes that overbook without adding large aircraft or more flights.

  2. TRC says

    I’m curious how this will work with ORD-MKE flights. Both American and United only fly CRJ-200s between the cities, which makes sense given the short duration and high frequency. I’m not sure how larger jets would work on the route. I think the route would be perfect for turboprops, but apparently no one in airline management agrees.

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