United Airlines will woo high-fare passengers by retrofitting more than 100 planes to add more premium seats on key routes.
The airline also plans to start using a new 50-seat jet with mostly premium seats on some key business-travel routes.
These moves are part of an industry trend to give more space and better service to high-paying passengers who account for a disproportionate share of airline revenue.
The airline also plans to add a few more first-class seats to its Airbus A319 and A320 planes. By year's end, it hopes to begin flying new 50-seat Bombardier CRJ 550 jets between Chicago and smaller markets with many business travelers, such as Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Walmart.
Small, 50-seat planes are notoriously cramped and unpopular with many travelers. United's new small planes — 18 feet longer than the planes it uses now — will have 10 business-class seats, 20 "economy plus" seats and only 20 regular economy seats.
United is the nation's third-biggest airline by revenue, trailing American and Delta.