Willard Airport leadership frequently meets with American Airlines, our incumbent carrier, working to secure more capacity and to better serve the region. The Airport built a business case for American to replace 50-seat regional jets on the Dallas/Ft. Worth route, with larger and more comfortable 76-seat Embraer ERJ175 planes. American agreed that the market can support the additional seats, and most DFW flights shifted to the larger planes on November 30.
The new planes are much larger, with 2-by-2 seating in economy and 1-by-2 seating in American’s first class. Each plane is configured with 12 first class seats and 64 seats in economy. The planes have much larger overhead bins, allowing you to stow your roll aboard in the bin above your seat, instead of having to gate check your bag and wait for it when you arrive.
The additional seats represent a 25% increase in capacity for Willard this winter, providing much needed seats in a market that fills more than 90% of departing seats. Increased capacity should lead to lower fares.
While some flights to and from DFW will still operate with 50-seat jets, virtually all flights should feature the larger plane by spring.
If the Champaign-Urbana community fills DFW flights on larger aircraft, American will consider replacing 50-seat seats on the Chicago O’Hare route in 2023.