A few months ago US Airways announced their intentions to retrofit their larger regional jets with first class cabins. It appears that work has now been completed, making upgrades available now for passengers on an additional 640 flights daily.
There are a lot of reasons that this sort of fleet conversion makes sense, both for customers and for the companies; I wrote about it a bit when this change was first announced back in April but it seems worth revisiting now that the conversion is complete. Customers – particularly the folks with elite status, arguably the folks contributing the most to the margins – are happy because they have access to first class capacity. Whether through upgrades or through purchasing directly, the first class cabin is great for those customers.
At the same time, airlines are working hard to maintain capacity discipline. And the regional fleets offer some of the highest costs per seat and generally operates in more marginal markets where capacity controls are more needed. By cutting ~7.5% of the seats on the fleet they’ve removed a whole lot of available seat miles (ASMs) from the market. Plus, they made the cuts without needed to kill frequencies, the other means that is normally employed to reduce ASMs.
Wins all around indeed.
Here’s the breakdown on the new cabin configurations:
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