Typically I go out of my way to avoid regional jets. They’re loud, tight, require you to gate-check your bag, often don’t have first class, etc. However, there’s one regional jet I love — the Embraer E175 (perhaps more accurately, the entire family of Embraer jets, as I like the Embraer E190, etc., as well, but just don’t fly them as much).
I most frequently fly the Embraer E175 on American Eagle, and I think I almost prefer the plane to American’s domestic mainline fleet. Why?
No middle seats on the entire plane
There aren’t really any bad seats on the Embraer jets, as there are no middle seats. This is great if you’re traveling with someone, since you can have a window and aisle. Not only that, but the seats are over 18″ wide, making them among the widest economy seats you’ll find on any plane.
Great ratio of first class seats
This of course varies by airline, but American Eagle’s Embraer E175s have a fantastic ratio of first class seats. The planes have a total of 76 seats, and 12 of those are first class seats (~16% of the plane). Compare that to:
- American’s 737s, which have a total of 172 seats, only 16 of which are are first class seats (~9% of the plane)
- American’s A319s, which have a total of 128 seats, only eight of which are first class seats (~6% of the plane)
Upgrade chances don’t get much better than on the Embraer E175, thanks to the percentage of first class seats.
Single first class seats
As someone who loves looking out the window but also likes having access to the aisle, this is something I value. While economy on the Embraer E175 is in a 2-2 configuration, first class is in a 1-2 configuration. If you’re lucky, you can snag one of the solo first class seats and have both a window and an aisle.
This might sound minor to some, but continuing on the above, I love looking out windows. Many regional jets have small windows that aren’t even at eye-level. The Embraer E175 has huge windows (at least they feel that way) at the perfect level. I feel like they’re bigger than on typical Airbus or Boeing narrow bodies, though perhaps that’s an illusion.
Feels like a big jet
In terms of the passenger experience, the Embraer feels more like a big jet than a regional jet. You don’t have to crouch when walking down the aisle, the seats and aisle are wide, the overhead bins are big enough to store full size carry-ons, the plane is fairly quiet, the engines are under the wings, etc. While the CRJ-700 is about the same size, it does very much feel like a regional jet. If you’re someone who usually gets claustrophobic in regional jets, the Embraer E175 may be the plane for you.
It’s always a joy to fly Embraer jets. They’re comfortable, regardless of whether you’re in economy or first class, and I don’t even mind them for long stretches.
As someone who frequently flies American Eagle Embraer E175s, my only frustration is that Wi-Fi on the planes is slower than on the mainline fleet. Other than that, I’ll almost take an Embraer E175 over an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737.
Anyone else love Embraer jets as much as I do?