Alaska Airlines Embraer 175 is replacing all CRJ-700s and Q400s in favor of larger and more comfortable regional jets. The E-175s will replace all CRJ-700s by the end of November 2016. I was fortunate enough to fly Alaska Airlines E-175 on the second day the plane replaced the single class CRJ-700 on the Seattle to Fresno. As an Alaska MVP 75K I was provided with a complimentary upgrade from Economy class to First Class.
The Embraer 170, e190 and e195 are similar jet variants from the same jet family. Fuel consumption and passenger volumes differ slightly, but the inflight experience is fantastic on these regional jets. The E175 has the long range needed to fly further with reduced fuel burn. Perfect for long and thin routes.
Alaska Airlines Embraer 175 First Class
In Seattle, Alaska Airlines boards the E-175 from their outdoor regional plane stands at the C gates. The remote stands are accessed by a semi-permanent enclosed structure to protect passengers from the weather elements, such as rain, wind and sun, but do require a short 20 feet walk to the aircraft unprotected. Thankfully for me, it was not raining in Seattle and boarding was painless. Upon Arrival in Fresno Alaska Airlines is now using a jet-bridge. A jet-bridge is a bonus, especially on hot summer days!
I was assigned seat 1A in the first seat in the First Class cabin. Unlike some single class regional jets, the E175 features 2 classes. Alaska Airlines Embraer 175 First Class seating is a 1×2 seat configuration. The typical seat configuration for most regional jets variants which feature a First Class.
Seats 1-4A are the best for single travelers, whereas seats C&D are better for couples. 1A is a bulkhead seat and provides plenty of legroom without worrying about a passenger reclining into one’s personal space. I am 5”10” and I had plenty of room to stretch my legs. If you are taller, consider a non bulkhead row.
A bottle of water is awaiting each First class passenger and serves as Alaska Airlines pre-flight beverage. Other complimentary beverages, including alcohol, are available once in the air. There’s a single dedicated flight attendant for first class. Depending on the luck of the draw, sometimes even preflight beverage service is available. This is typically coffee or orange juice in the morning and a cocktail or a glass of champagne in the morning.
First Class Meal Service
Seattle to Fresno is a short 2 hour flight, just 750 miles point to point. Despite the short distance, Alaska Airlines caters a light meal service. My flight departed at 9:05am, but was catered for lunch. Although Breakfast would have been more appropriate, I will not complain about free food!
Lunch service began with hot towel service and was followed by warm nuts and drink service. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought I was on a mainline jet! Alaska airlines E175 is one of the few that has an oven in first class. Most regional jets do not feature hot food. American Airlines e175s for example do not have ovens or hot food service.
As passengers snacked on warm nuts, the flight attendant warmed up chicken skewers to be served with a light and delicious couscous salad. A package oatmeal cookie was on the meal tray for dessert. Service was from front to back.
The Embraer-175 is a very comfortable aircraft and includes Alaska Beyond Entertainment, Gogo Wi-fi, power at each seat in First class, and mid-size overhead luggage bins. The bins are capable of holding standard size carry-on luggage, in case you didn’t take advantage of a free checked bag. My Tumi carry-on fit perfectly, but the expandable pocket must be closed/zipped in order to fit. So no over packing!
The E-175 provides a better overall flying experience! Compared to the CRJ-700s, theseat configuration of the E-175 features a larger cabin with updated on-board amenities. It’s fantastic to fly on a small plane that has two bathrooms (one for each class). This is especially true when there is a cart in the aisle, allowing passengers to still comfortably get to and from a restroom. Furthermore, the larger windows make for better views outside.
Finally, I love flying these regional planes because everything about them feels as though you’re on a larger full service aircraft. Even service wise the entire flight is better. If you are stuck in the rear, the plane is stocked with the famous Alaska Airlines fruit and cheese platter, which is a huge win! No more settling for pretzels, when you can pre order a meal. The downsize of course, teh complimentary beer or wine is no longer available in economy. A hallmark of Horizon air service on the Q400s and Crjs.
For those who are booking a first class ticket on this flight or any Alaska Airlines flight, know you always get priority boarding, free checked bags, express security screening at select airports. Plus, on any flight over 670 where meal service is done, you can pre order a meal, or a fruit and cheese plate free of charge.
If you have the opportunity to fly the E-175, I would highly recommend it! These planes are flown by many regional airlines including republic airlines, United Express, Republic Airways, Air Canada, American Airlines’ American Eagle, and Skywest. The planes feature a large open feeling like a mainline plane and with 1×2 seating in First Class and 2×2 in Economy class, every seat feels more like First Class. Everything is just more spacious! Alaska in-flight service is almost always awesome and these new planes on these long and thin routes are warmly welcomed to reduce fuel consumption while flying us directly to where we need to go!