Public Relations Agency: “Regional jets mean more direct routes and fewer layovers.” If you work for a NY PR Agency representing any of the major airlines flying in and out of JFK, chances are you are given the job of presenting the benefits of regional jets – which factor into the Travel PR of the airport.

Frequent airline travelers are beginning to take notice of the additional numbers of smaller, regional jets at major airports. As airlines reduce daily cross-country flights, major airports such as JFK, O’Hare, Dallas and Atlanta are seeing more regional jets on their runways.

These smaller “short-flight” jets or “RJs” are cheaper to maintain for the airlines, which can then pass along the savings to their passengers. At least that’s one of the chief benefits being touted in airline marketing and creative public relations. Critics charge that more jets using the same number of runways will lead to increased flight delays. In response, convenience and value dominate the marketing PR surrounding this strategic change.

More regional flights mean more direct flights for business clients. Fewer layovers translates into better rest and increased productivity. Anyone who has done a good bit of flying for business can appreciate that. Both airlines and airports are wagering that passengers will accept occasionally increased delays as the price of value and convenience.

Will passengers agree that waiting a bit for a direct flight is preferable to layovers and switching planes? The market will answer this question in the coming months. Layover flights on larger jets are still readily available. It will be interesting to watch which flights frequent travelers choose.

Texas-based Delta regional flights have introduced “RJ” upgrades including more legroom and overhead storage, something not offered on all regional jets. If it works for Delta, expect to see other airlines offer similar benefits.