About noon yesterday I received a call from US Airways about a schedule change on an upcoming trip for a family member. As it turned out, it was actually an equipment change–an A319 had been downgraded to an E-190. The flight times were only changed by about 10 minutes, probably due to the aircraft swap.
Although the 86-seat E-190 is a "mainline" aircraft is far as I’m concerned (I prefer it to an A319 in terms of comfort and design) I was given the opportunity to cancel the reservation because of the "downgrade." Some people (including a friend of mine) refuse to fly on "regional jets" and apparently US Airways respects this phobia.
Just as we don’t contract for a specific seat assignment when we fly, I never thought we contracted for a specific aircraft type. I kept the reservation intact, but nevertheless applaud US Airways for proactively contacting me about the schedule change and for offering me the opportunity to cancel the reservation or change it to another time of day or routing that featured all mainline aircraft.
It’s not just US. I had a similar “downgrade” on UA a few years back, from an (acceptable) CR7 to the (Devil’s Chariot) CRJ, at the same original departure time. I told the agent I did not want to fly that aircraft, and they moved me to a different CR7 that same day, no ifs, ands, or buts.