SkyWest Airlines purchased seven Embraer E-175 regional jets last fall to operate on behalf of Alaska Airlines and just recently placed another order for eight more to be delivered next year.
But delivery has already begun for the original seven: pictures on Airliners Gallery show the new Alaska-branded E-175 landing and taking off. Alaska and SkyWest plan to operate it on three new routes beginning July 1.
- Seattle-Oklahoma City
- Portland-St. Louis
The E-175 is a big improvement over Alaska’s current regional fleet, which includes the Bombardier Q400 (with the big propellers, typically flown on short routes or to small towns) and the Bombardier CRJ-700 (a more direct comparison to the E-175, although I haven’t flown on an Alaska CR7 yet).
Unlike these two aircraft the E-175 has a two-cabin configuration with 12 first class seats and 64 economy class seats. That’s almost one first class seat for every five in economy, which I think is a great ratio. Although it’s nice to see first class on a regional jet, keep in mind that these are longer routes which would probably not have been operated with a CR7.
This aircraft still has not been added to Alaska’s fleet page or SeatGuru, but you can see an example of Delta’s configuration. Note that Delta has both Economy Comfort and standard economy, so my guess would be that Alaska will provide slightly more legroom throughout coach since it has the same number of seats and doesn’t differentiate them.