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'Innovative' United aircraft with more legroom to touch down in Cedar Rapids

The Eastern Iowa Airport will be one of the initial 15 destinations from which United Airlines’ Bombardier CRJ-550 will take flight. (Courtesy United Airlines)
The Eastern Iowa Airport will be one of the initial 15 destinations from which United Airlines’ Bombardier CRJ-550 will take flight. (Courtesy United Airlines)
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The Eastern Iowa Airport will be one of the initial 15 destinations from which premium United Airlines passengers can fly on a roomier plane, set to begin trips from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Some of the first flights by the airline’s Bombardier CRJ-550 — a new two-cabin, 50-seat alternative to the 70-seat Bombardier CRJ-700 — will take off from Cedar Rapids on Sunday.

Compared to its higher-capacity predecessor, the CRJ-550 boasts increased legroom in 30 of its 50 seats, including its 10 first-class seats, plus four luggage cabinets that United says will allow each passenger to take rolling luggage onboard.

First-class passengers also have access to a self-serve refreshment center with snacks and drinks.

In the airline’s federal filings, United representatives have described the plane as an “innovative solution to meet premium demand in small markets,” letting higher-paying passengers travel in first class on flights from smaller cities to larger hubs.

In June, United entered an 10-year agreement with GoJet Airlines for the regional operator to fly 54 CRJ-550 planes, starting in the second half of 2019, its securities filings show.

The aircraft’s other initial destinations from Chicago include Des Moines; Bentonville, Ark.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; St. Louis, Mo.; Greensboro, N.C.; Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; Allentown and Harrisburg, Pa.; Richmond, Va.; and Madison, Wis.

United plans to add CRJ-550 flights between other cities and its hubs in Newark, N.J., and Washington, D.C., into early 2020.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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