Although I haven’t availed their service till this year, American Airlines has been notoriously known for poor service, ageing aircraft and grumpy flight attendants. I’ve heard these horror stories from my friends, colleagues and fellow travellers. Well in fact, the social media accounts of American Airlines are usually inundated with complaints and terrible travel stories.
I flew recently from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – the ninth busiest airport in the world and one of the many hubs of American Airlines – bound for Baton Rouge (BTR), the state capital of Louisiana. The aircraft that was used for this route is the single class CRJ500 (Canada Regional Jet) which could accommodate up to 50 people. Technically, I flew with American Eagle – the regional brand of American Airlines which traces it roots back in 1984.
What made this flight special was that for many years of my air travel, this was the smallest aircraft that I had ever flew with. The aircraft was so small that it requires a small passageway – sort of a gangway – to connect the aircraft to the aerobridge. There were no inflight entertainment for this 1 hour flight. There were no food being offered although the single flight attendant did offer us some drinks – either orange juice or water.
The seat pitch was better than I thought it would be. For such a small aircraft, the seat was comfortable and the flight was not full so I had the entire row of two seats for myself. The aircraft was single aisled with two seats for every row – so small really that I worried on how will it react in case of a bumpy weather. I am quite thankful that it was all smooth all the way to BTR.
Baton Rouge is supposed to be the largest city in Louisiana but New Orleans thrived so most of the businesses went to that lower portion of the Mississippi River. One can certainly just drive from Dallas all the way to Baton Rouge but the flight I took served as a feeder to the Dallas hub of American Airlines. Similarly, from Baton Rouge, Delta has a feeder route to Atlanta and United has the same for its Houston hub.
I would like to mention that BTR is a wonderful airport. It is not busy and it is decent in size with manicured lawns, good restaurants and active shops. Meanwhile, American Eagle has put to rest all my negative notions about the airline. It is not the best but certainly not the worst. Perhaps I have to fly regularly with this airline to know more about them but for this trip, I wouldn’t mind choosing American Eagle on my regional trips.
Categories: Flight Reviews