The cancer continues to grow.
United Express is expanding to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport next month. Two flights a day are transitioning from mainline to E-170s operated by Shuttle America between Chicago and National.
United has not addressed these changes, but a likely explanation for the shift is the war going on right now between Delta, American, and United on the ORD-LGA route. UA has pulled UX from LGA and is offering hourly mainline service, at least for the next few months. United doesn’t have an unlimited source of planes, so the additional mainline aircraft had to come for somewhere.
My opening statement above was made to grab your attention, not out of disgust for this news. To be honest, I’d rather see United Express on shorter flights that do not include meals in first class. I also like the F seats on UX’s E-170s very much–they are almost as comfortable as the mainline seats. Sure, there is no channel 9, mainline crews are generally better, there is no proper glassware, and it is always better to be on mainline during irr/ops, but I am not going to stress about these, perhaps temporary, changes.
I do hope that UA has the sense to keep the DCA flights out of the F-Terminal at O’Hare and in the B (preferable) or C Terminal instead.
Matthew, I don’t think any UX E-170s use the F terminal. They are typically at the low C gates or the high end of B. Either way, this is far from the typical Business One gates where mainline LGA flights normally depart from. Anyway, from what I’ve seen at ORD, most gates are either exclusively mainline or UX, without much mixing.
It may very well be a cancer. As we saw with LGA and JFK, it starts with E-170s and then becomes CR7s and often end up being CR2s, which are indeed just a miserable experience.
@BTA: Good to know.
@Fozz: True, though I can’t envision CR2s ever being on the DCA-ORD route. CR7s aren’t that much better, though, especially in terms of overhead space.
The E-170s don’t have stairs, so they can not go to many of the F gates, and Shuttle America really is on par with some mainline flights anyway. The continuous downgrades are troubling, but I don’t think they can go too much below a E170, just because of the government contracts that United has.