United Airlines is removing seats from its fleet of Embraer 175 jet and it’s not for social distancing…
United Removes Seats From Embraer 175
Via its United Express partners, United operates a fleet of 172 76-seat regional Embraer 175 aircraft. These are operated by Mesa Airlines, Republic Airways, and SkyWest Airlines and these two-cabin aircraft have traditionally featured 12 seats in first class and 64 seats in economy class (split between 16 in United EconomyPlus with three extra inches of legroom and 48 in United Economy).
But two new seating configurations recently appeared on the United website. The first maintains 12 seats in first class, doubles the size of EconomyPlus to 32 seats, and leaves 26 seats in economy class, for a total of 70 seats (with power plugs throughout the aircraft):
A second configuration includes 12 seats in first class, 16 in EconomyPlus, and and 42 in United economy for a total of 70 seats:
What gives? Is United simply removing seats so customers can spread out?
No. The move foreshadows mainline pilot furloughs that are likely to come.
Under its contract with the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), the union representing United pilots, United is required to remove seats from its larger regional jets if it furloughs pilots hired before the contract was sign.
United’s so-called “scope clause” agreement with its pilots limits the number of seats on regional jets. Mainline pilot unions have alway been concerned that United will slowly try to replace its well-paid workers with an increasing number of low-paid regional jet pilots by enlarging the size of so-called “regional” jets. This became a major sticking point during the last round of contract negotiations. The problem is hardly exclusive to United.
Andrew Nocella, United’s Chief Commercial Officer, warned about these cuts in May:
“We have the engineering being worked on right now, and we will have them removed by October 1.”
It appears they are are actually coming now, though another payroll support bill is under consideration by Congress and supported by the White House.
Whether by adding more EconomyPlus seats or simply removing seats from United economy, United’s already comfortable regional jets may soon become even more comfortable. I already prefer the Embraer 175 over many mainline narrowbody jets and this may make it even more comfortable. But the reasons for seat removal have nothing to do with comfort…
The second config is likely United’s way of getting the seats out by 10/1 – literally just removing 6 seats at the rear of the aircraft and calling it a day, at least until they can it more properly modded down the road
Make a deal with ALPA and take that flying into the mainline and cut out all this shenanigans. ALPA should have never let this flying get out of hand like this.
From an outside perspective, how does removing 6 seats from Regional jets protect mainline pilots? Yes it’s in the contract, but mainline pilots don’t win here…
Its ti make furlougjing pilots more expensive. You have to convert them to 70 seaters bow and back to 76 when the correct pilot is recalled. Its also saying hey you can keep 86 seats in the plane but we have to be flying them. Kirby knows this but he’s stuck in a 90s world view that you have to have RJs and they have to be out sourced.
i thought united already had 70 seat E175s when they were using them to replace CRJ700s that were being converted to CRJ550s
i thought United already had 70 seat E175s when they were using them to replace CRJ700s that were being converted to CRJ550
ALPA has done a horrible job with scope. Get rid of regionals. Bring it all in house. Make the regionals group 1 pay. Way to go ALPA.
This article makes United look bad when it was the pilots union that moved the bar first trying to get more money while flying a smaller plane that produces less revenue than a mainline… In order to keep these planes as regionals they had to reduce the number of seats. If you want more money go fly a larger plane with more responsibility.
I’m not trying to make either side look bad…just reporting the facts.
That isn’t true. Those airplane are being operated by a different airline. The union did this to limit their growth when United pilots are losing their jobs like what is occurring now.
The “second new configuration” might be a placeholder that United shows to ticket buyers when the actual configuration is not yet decided. Every seat in it maps to a seat that’s at least as good in both the old configuration and the first new configuration, so reservations can be honored regardless of what configuration ends up being flown. United has previously used placeholder seat maps of this sort with other aircraft types that were undergoing reconfiguration.
The aircraft which already had 70 seats (first 70-seat config) were delivered for ExpressJet and then transferred to SkyWest. They have more Economy Plus because the LOPA was designed for 70 but when they take 6 out from existing 76-seat 175s, they’re going the cheaper way and instead of moving all the seats around to give them more space and more Economy Plus seating, they’ll just take out three sets of 2 seats in the back.
Weren’t the first 70 seat Embraer E-170’s? I thought UA still operates some of these frames.
Doing some research after sitting in 7B on Dec 25,2022. The pictures in your article show a bulkhead that crosses both a and B. It doesn’t! From a passenger safety point I was in the aisle as people were going to the seats behind me there is no bulkhead in front of 7B. In fact there is less than 14 x 24 inches of legroom. And there is no protection from anything that could be flying down the aisle of first class to “ economy plus.
In fact my knee was bumped into by several people including the flight attendant doing his pre-flight demos. I took some pictures of how incredibly unsafe the seat is.
Do you mean you flew December 2021? First class? Was it comfortable? Thanks in advance.