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United Targets Big Spenders With First Class in Small Cities

The airline designed its own regional jet to close an amenities and revenue gap with its two biggest rivals.

The first class cabin of the new United CRJ-550 regional jet.

The first class cabin of the new United CRJ-550 regional jet.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

It’s not often that an airline decides to design its own airplane.

On Sunday, United Airlines Holdings Inc. will fly customers on a new regional jet crafted to its exact specifications, an aircraft that comes with 10 first class seats. By putting premium perches on a small regional jet with a total of only 50 seats, United hopes to close an amenities gap for a highly competitive group of travelers from smaller cities to its Chicago and Newark, New Jersey hubs.