Pictures & Video: United unveils its first CRJ550

Chicago, Illinois - United Air Lines has revealed how the cabins of its Bombardier CRJ550s will look. The US domestic travelers are the first and probably the only ones who will fly with the United's new aircraft.

The CRJ550 is actually a modified CRJ700 with a lower MTOW and fewer seats for 50 passengers at most against the 70 that of the CRJ700.

The aircraft is designed as per the request of United to comply with the agreements with the trade unions. In the United States, pilots on regional jets with up to 76 seats are paid less than the mainline pilots.

To prevent this arrangement against the mainline pilots, the US carriers are allowed to operate a maximum of 255 regional aircraft.

United, or rather United Express, is now at that limit. However, there is a way to go around it. This limit only applies to aircraft with a capacity of 51 to 76 passengers, not 50 passengers or less.

This exception has been made so that thin routes (jargon for routes with relatively few passengers) can still be served.

United's current 50-seat ERJ145s, however, are tight, uncomfortable and inefficient.

To increase the number of its regional jets, and offer its passengers more comfortable seats in the Economy cabin along with a real First Class experience, United proceeded to cooperate with Bombardier.

The Canadian manufacturer reconfigured the CRJ700 in accordance with Delta's needs and CRJ550 emerged. On board, there is room for ten passengers in First Class and 40 in Economy / Economy Plus.

In the aircraft, there are extra cabinets for hand luggage and even a snack bar.

In total, 50 CRJ700 jets will be converted into CRJ550. The first aircraft will be in service this weekend. United will mainly deploy these new jets on short flights to and from its hubs in Chicago and New York Newark.