Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First-class cabin service returns to Idaho Falls

SkyWest began flying 76-seat Canadair RJ 700s in and out of Idaho Falls this week. This marks the first time a regular commercial service has offered a plane with a first-class cabin since 1997, when Delta quit landing 737s in Idaho Falls.
Since Delta stopped flying 737s into Idaho Falls Regional Airport in 1997, one of the major complaints from an economic development standpoint has been the lack of first-class cabins in the regional jets that took their place.

That ended Wednesday, when SkyWest began its early morning flight to Salt Lake City with a larger Canadair Regional Jet 700. The 76-seat aircraft has a first-class cabin, which means corporate types who would never fly coach under any circumstance may be likely to feel more at ease about visiting Idaho Falls to check it out.

It's also good news for people who fly all the time, said Airport Manager Len Nelson. "When you have people who are premium fliers, those upgrades are signficant," he said.

SkyWest, which operates the Delta Connection to Salt Lake City and the United flights between Idaho Falls, Denver and San Francisco, has brought RJ 900s into service, freeing up the RJ 700s for other routes. Right now it's only the plane that comes in late and leaves early in the morning, but if the flights are full a second RJ 700 could be added.

Idaho Falls was ranked second among 228 SkyWest locations for operations efficiency and on-time performance in April. "This is a good indication of the competency and steady performance of the SkyWest managment and staff here at Idaho Falls," Nelson said. "Given the volatile weather conditions we have from day to day, it is no easy task to keep flights running smoothly and on time."