Photo: United

MIAMI — United Airlines has begun testing its first re-configured Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft into the new CRJ550 configuration, which features an all-new premium seating cabin with 10 First Class seats.

Yesterday, the airline performed a crew familiarization flight from Montreal to its hub in Chicago-O’Hare International Airport (ORD), where it was spotted by several photographers.

This aircraft model will be the first triple-class 50 seat aircraft in the world, which will feature a new type certificate based on the CRJ700.

United is the launch customer of this configuration. The airline labeled the order as “50 spacious, 50-seat Bombardier CRJ550 aircraft.”

This particular release is part of United’s strategy to increase its Premium seat taking by 1,600, which is 50% more across over 100 of its aircraft.

United’s regional partner, GoJet, will begin operating this aircraft type as early as the second half of 2019, which is subject to final agreements being made.

In addition to the 10 First Class seats, the planes will also be fitted with 20 Economy Plus seats, featuring increased legroom for its passengers, and 20 Economy seats.

Source: United

According to United, these planes will be equipped with three closets, allowing passengers to bring their carry-on luggage on-board, therefore avoiding gate-checking them.

Fred Cromer, President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, noted that the plane “offers improved passenger experience with ample onboard storage for carry-on bags and more passenger living space.”

The CRJ550 will be the only aircraft in the family to actually offer a triple-class setup across all market segments.

United Airlines, in particular, will benefit from the cockpit commonality starting from the CRJ200 all the way to the CRJ900.

Also, the carrier hopes to improve its current position on smaller markets in the US Northeast, serving markets such as Chicago – Northwest Arkansas.