COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - No one likes cramped corners in an airplane.
That's why American Airlines and Columbia Metropolitan Airport announced Thursday that the airline will double the aircraft size and seating capacity on its flight between CAE and Dallas/Fort Worth beginning on June 7.
AA will replace their 76-seat regional jets with 140-seat mainline aircraft for the two daily flights - usually flying in the afternoon and evening - between CAE and Dallas.
This marks the return of large American Airlines jets to CAE, after 26 years of service with only regional aircraft. US Airways, who merged with American in 2013, last scheduled larger jets to Columbia in 2001.
"American is making a tremendous investment in the Midlands with their aircraft upgrades here and we couldn't be happier. Improving our flight options is always a top priority of ours and we expect this momentum to lead to more growth at CAE," said Mike Gula, Interim Airport Director.
Additionally, American has also increased aircraft size on its routes between CAE and Charlotte and Washington, DC. Up to five of Columbia's seven daily trips to Charlotte, along with one of three daily flights to Washington Reagan National Airport is now being flown with larger regional jets that seat between 65 and 76 passengers. These larger aircraft offer more passenger amenities such as first-class seating and in-flight wifi.
"Two years ago, American only operated two flights here that were on an airplane with more than 50 seats. Now, they are flying half of their schedule with larger aircraft. The jet you will board to fly from Columbia to Dallas will be the same size airplane that you would take from Charlotte or Atlanta to Dallas. Passengers are often saying they wish we had larger airplanes in Columbia. These are those airplanes," said Anthony Gilmer, Air Service & Marketing Manager.
American Airlines operates 15 peak day departures between Columbia Metropolitan Airport and its hubs in Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC and offers connections to more than 300 destinations worldwide.