Northwest's New Regional Jets Offer First-class Seats and Roomier Cabins
Northwest Airlines is adding 72 new 76-seat jets to its fleet through 2008. The airline's Mesaba subsidiary will be flying 36 Bombardier CRJ-900s, while Compass, Northwest's new subsidiary, will be flying 36 Embraer 175s.
The new jets are more fuel-efficient than the gas guzzling 69-seat Avros and older DC-9s which they are replacing. The CRJ900 airliner has the best economics of any airliner in its class, with seat-mile costs comparable to those of new generation narrow-body aircraft. Both jets have a very distinct first-class area which offers 12 roomier and more comfortable seats. Northwest officials hope business travelers will want to purchase the first-class seats, especially since many of the regional jets now travel much longer distances and passengers often spend two hours or more on board.
The first-class seats on the new jets will include the same level of meal service as on regular jet service flights. Northwest's new CRJ-900 is configured with 12 seats in first class and 64 seats in coach class. The 12 first class seats, arranged in a one seat-aisle-two seats configuration, have 36 inches of pitch, or space between rows. Coach class is arranged in a two seats-aisle-two seats configuration.
The CRJ-900s have 6 feet, 2 inches of room from floor to ceiling in the aisle, and windows that are 25 percent bigger than the earlier version of the CRJ-900. The airliner also boasts new LED lighting, longer range, reduced fuel consumption, lower trip operating costs and lower airframe and engine maintenance costs.
The new jets don't currently serve Memphis, but according to Northwest officials it is only a matter of time before Memphians get to travel on them.