American Airlines/American Eagle ERJ145 Review
Updated: Jun 28
I have been busy these past few months and have not written a review in a while. With airlines finally returning to normal service due to the pandemic I hope to have several out within the next few months. So, I thought I'd start by reviewing American Airlines Embraer 145 because there is not too much to review ;) and it is the most recent flight I have taken (Feb '23) when I flew between Chicago ORD & Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID).
Two airlines fly the ERJ145 for American/American Eagle; Envoy (ORD) and Piedmont (PHL & CLT). This can get confusing because American Eagle operates American Airlines Regional flights and American has several airlines that fly for American Eagle (SkyWest, Republic, Mesa, PSA are a few besides Envoy & Piedmont). The truth is outside of the pilots and crew everything else is the same. Both the Piedmont and Envoy E145's have the same layout and your interaction and experience is all American Airlines. American typically uses these planes on shorter routes serving smaller markets. Like Cedar Rapids, Buffalo, NY (from PHL) or Evansville (from CLT). It seats 50 passengers and has a range of about 1500 miles.
American's Embraer 145's are all Economy Class and have 18 rows in a 1X2 configuration. Rows 1 & 2 only have the A seat and are next to the galley. Starting in row 3 the seating is 1X2. All rows have the same leg room (seat pitch) of 31" inches. Seats 1A and 3B&C may have less as there is a wall in front of these seats. Row 12 is the exit row and these three seats are designated as Main Cabin Extra. It definitely has a few more inches of pitch. Besides the additional leg room, the tray table on the exit row seats are on the seat back, leaving the same amount of width (17") as the other seats. The bulkhead seats (1A and 3B&C) may have a little less width as the tray table is in the outer armrest which makes for a little less room. However, in row 3 the middle armrest does raise, so it may not be as constrictive as other seats where the armrest doesn't raise. American/Eagle also flies the ERJ140 (they may have done away with these during the pandemic) which has the same layout as the E145 other than it has two less rows and the MCE/exit row is row 11. I sat on the single side in seat 4A & 6A and I will say having a single aisle/window seat (A) is a plus. I was comfortable on each flight, but the flight time between ORD & CID is only 50 minutes.
I am not a fan of Regional Jets other than the Embraer 175 (hope to have review soon) and E195. Both these aircraft have sizeable overheads where you do not need to gate check a carry-on suitcase. But the Bombardier CRJ's (Canadair Regional Jet) and ERJ 140 & 145 have much smaller overheads. Forcing you to gate check a carry-on. The ERJ145 only has carry-on space on the 2-side. So, they can easily fit a backpack, purse, briefcase or even a small bag. But, definitely not a rollaboard suitcase. Those need to be gate checked which can be a pain. After deplaning you must wait on the right side of jet bridge for gate checked bags to deplane. This can take several minutes and can be frustrating if you have a tight connection. Even worse, when the temperature is 8 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees it can be quite uncomfortable. Because of this in some cases, it is actually easier to check a bag.
Boarding is the same as other American flights (except no First Class) by group numbers. Typically, Concierge Key members board first along with active Military followed by Group 1 (Oneworld & AAdvantage Elite members) and on down the line. The ERJ145 has no bells or whistles. No Wi-Fi, no power plugs and no IFE (despite having Barclay's Card Booklet in seat pocket with IFE info on it). Neither onboard nor through your own device. One positive of the ERJ's over the CRJ's is like the E170/175's the 145 has large windows. Allowing for a better view of the scenery.
The seats are blue leather with grey headrests. Similar to a regular Economy Class seat on AA but slightly narrower and with less seatback pocket space. There is only 1 lavatory which is in the rear of the plane. I didn't visit the lav on these two trips but have been on enough RJ's that I am sure they are a little cramped.
There is only one flight attendant on board who managed to serve a beverage cart to the entire plane on the short flight to CID. He came by with soft drinks, juice and water. I am not sure about beer & wine. I only ordered a Coke and don't remember seeing if Beer was on the cart. I know they do not offer it on shorter flights (I think under 250 miles) due to time limitations as there is a charge for alcohol ($8 for Beer and $9 for Wine). I do know that on longer flights with the E175 that the service would be the same as on a similar length mainline American flights. Snacks for purchase as well as Alcohol. On the ERJ145 the only snacks offered would be the complimentary packet of Pretzels or Biscoff Cookies. On the return flight to ORD the pilot said we would hit turbulence and the Flight Attendant would remain seated. So, no service going back and I would imagine this happens frequently as these smaller planes are subject to feeling turbulence more than a mainline jet (that does not make them less safe to fly - they are very safe aircrafts). With shorter flight times it is easier just to suspend service (and saves some money ;)). As a side note we did not even feel a bump flying to Chicago, but the Flight Attendant did come by at the end providing gate connections.
Flying on the Embraer 145 is not something I would normally choose to do. If it was a longer flight like; ORD to Albany, NY (over 2hr) I may try to connect at another airport flying a larger aircraft and especially as an AAdvantage Elite member, one where I have a chance getting upgraded to First Class. But, if fares or times are better, it is certainly tolerable on an hour long flight. Having the single side (CRJ's are 2x2) also makes for a much more comfortable experience.