After a rough start on the ground, my flight up to San Francisco the day before was good and unremarkable. That’s how I like my flights. But the next morning, I was going to try something new-ish. This was going to be my first ride on an American Eagle Embraer 175 (this one operated by Compass). Why do I say new-ish? Well I’ve flown Delta Embraer 175s operated by Compass before, but this flight really stood out thanks to a stellar crew.
I had dropped my car off the night before, so I just took the shuttle from the Aloft Hotel (which was not bad, but very loud). I was at the terminal by 7a and the Pre Check line was strangely empty… except for one woman in front of me who was trying to use a screenshot of her boarding pass to get through security. It didn’t scan. The ID checker let her keep trying for a couple minutes before finally making her stand aside.
Once through, I had time to kill, so I plugged in and logged on as the dark and cloudy sky began to brighten. Soon we were boarding.
October 25, 2015
American Eagle 5922 Lv San Francisco 8a Arr Los Angeles 932a (operated by Compass)
San Francisco (SFO): Gate 57, Runway 1L, Depart 2m Late
Los Angeles (LAX): Gate 44F, Runway 25L, Arrive 18m Early
N214NN, Embraer 175LR, Ugly flag colors, ~75% Full
Seat 15F, Coach
Flight Time 55m
I couldn’t help but notice how nice and new the cabin looked when we got on board. Sure enough, this airplane was only a month old and the interior looked fantastic. But I really liked the look of the dark seats with the red accent.
After boarding, the captain came out and got on the PA in front of everyone giving full information on the flight. He said it was expected to be mostly smooth, there shouldn’t be any delays, enjoy the great service, etc.
I found the legroom to be good and the seats to be comfortable. Considering how new the seats were, I was surprised that they weren’t too stiff for my tastes. But what really stood out? This:
Northwest lives! Compass used to be wholly-owned by Northwest, and it had a very similar logo. But I didn’t remember that the airline had kept the old logo alive to this day. I had to do a double-take.
We were ready to push back on time, but a mainline flight to Chicago blocked us so we were out a couple minutes late. As we started taxiing, the captain came on and announced that we had a very short delay due to traffic in LA. We would be off the ground at 915a, so we’d only have to wait 7 minutes. I appreciated all the detail.
We took our place on the runway and I could see some clearing out to the west. I figured we’d soon be above the low clouds and it’d be a great sunrise. Nope.
We took off, had a nice view over the city, and then pointed back toward LA. There was a front rolling through and despite all weather forecasts, it had brought in a lot of clouds. We went into the soup and started bouncing a little. We stayed in it the entire time we were at altitude.
The flight attendants came through and had big smiles on their faces. Despite the occasional jolts, they were diligently serving drinks as if they’d been doing it for years. They were very friendly with everyone onboard, and made a point to have short conversations at each row. (I emphasize “short” because it didn’t slow down their service.)
It became clear they were friends with each other. I heard one say to a passenger who asked that they really liked working together so they bid together when possible. The combination clearly works well.
I logged on to wifi on my phone for a few minutes, but the bumps made that a bit challenging. Once we started descending, the captain came on again and apologized for the ride. He said that they had looked at all altitudes and they just couldn’t find a smooth ride despite previous reports. He was sorry that he had to keep the seatbelt sign on.
We did get under the clouds and had a really nice approach into LAX from the north. Once we were on the ground, it was a relatively quick taxi back to the remote gates, where all Eagle flights still go. Once we landed, I saw a guy and his kid get escorted up front by a flight attendant. I figured that he had a tight connection (despite our early arrival), and thought nothing more of it.
There was a delay in getting off, because, as the captain explained, the agent who needed to move the little gate thing (I wouldn’t call that a jet bridge at those Eagle gates, but I guess that’s what it is) was finishing up on another aircraft and would be with us soon.
When we were all walking off, I glanced up at the cockpit. That kid who was escorted up? He was beaming with a giant smile as he sat in the Captain’s seat, both pilots standing behind smiling as well.
Once I was off, I had to take that bus back to Terminal 4. Then I made a quick break for baggage claim and got on the shuttle back to my car.
Kudos to the entire crew for doing an excellent j
Very nice. It is amazing but a little pride in your job and a good attitude will do to make life better.
This is why, I feel, “the smaller the better” Many of my trips involved a a commuter to Philadelphia and a connection to , whatever.Give me the commuter ( or regional jet) any timeGood article!!!!!!!!!!!! Floyd R.Kenderdine, Jr.
You may be the first person to ever say that!
Let me be the second.
And I am the third, enthusiastically!
I agree with you there, Floyd. I enjoy the convenience of gate checking bags on a RJ, turboprop, or Cessna. Also, as long as no one loses their lunch on my person or belongings I actually like a little chop, makes things interesting and reminds me that I’m still on a plane. My favorite commercial flight so far was a 8 or 9 seat EAS flight from Dallas to central Arkansas. I claimed seat 1A, and without a door to the cockpit I may as well have been a check airman looking over the pilots’ shoulders, it was a lot of fun.
I suspect that even with the insane amount of debt that many of them carry and the food stamp level wages, many of the pilots and FAs on the smaller planes have great attitudes because they enjoy the wonder and thrill of flight, and are not yet at the point where they seriously question whether pursuing their passion is worth sacrifices.
If I were to guess I’d say you are not a taller individual. When I knock my head on the ceiling of the cabin in a CRJ or have to distort my body to the contour of the fuselage in a window seat of a regional jet I long for mainline metal. A surly FA is easy to get over…the day long pain of flying on a CRJ is not….and I fly on A LOT of those abominations.
This was the bigger ERJ. More head room where a person up to about 6’3″ can stand up with some room to spare.
There is a world of difference between a CRJ and an ERJ. An ERJ has no shortage of headroom at all. I recommend you fly one sometime. You’ll enjoy it!
Could it be, that because I’m not a US citizen, I love the tail design? I don’t have the same feelings for the flag, on the other hand: I would love to see KLM do something like this with their tail ;)
As a US citizen, I agree with you. I really like the tail. It is a little modernistic/contemporary, and for some reason makes me think British Airways or European design aesthetics, but I like how bright it is and find it much more interesting than the old eagle wings.
So, my theory just went down the drain ;). I must say, that in the many years I’ve been working with North Americans, I have gotten the feeling that in general ‘you’ like classic designs more than ‘we’ do. I work in marketing/communications and when I look at American ads, brochures, etc,, we tend to use sans serif fonts (like Arial), while you use serif fonts (like Times New Roman). I consider Times New Roman to be more conservative. At least it has been in use way longer ;). This is just one example of why I feel that way.
Maybe that’s a reason then, why many Americans dislike the new tail? It’s hip, it’s modern and gives a sense of speed: I love it!
1. I ?? these trip reports and especially love what a great crew you had and agree that it makes such a difference. When the crew shows joy and pride you can’t help but feel it and for me it means I smile the whole flight because it’s just fun. I would urge you to send a comment to AA complimenting the crew because it does reach them and it’s always good to get positive feedback, which is rare.
2. Amazing tail colors :)
Oh no! I used a heart emoji and it showed up as ?? instead above! So please know I said I HEART these trip reports, not ??
The 175s are a welcome addition to the AE inventory, which heretofore had been kinda creaky. They’re getting more aircraft with first class, like the CR7, which are also good rides. There also seems to be a corellation between the attitude and performance of FAs and the newness of the a/c. More of my AA flying has been on AE lately (MIA-BNA has moved exclusively to RJs now), which is fine. Once at atitude, all you really miss is a convection oven.
Those seats did look nice. HAHAHAHA…..I liked the ‘ugly flag colors’ notation.
13 hours, 32 minute flight? Talk about endurance! lol
Rob M – The crew was so nice that we asked them if we could go on an aerial tour of the US and they agreed… or it was a typo. One of those. (Fixed now)
Just joined on as a new FO to Compass. Love the old NW ties since I grew up in Minnesota. All our AA planes are brand new and I’m glad to hear you had a good experience with my new company!
Flew DL/Compass for the first time last weekend LA-Austin r/t. Outbound (which was on one of their 6 170’s) was good, but return service was better. One f/a was ex UA, NW and USA 3000, while the other was ex ATA with 35 years and started when it was Ambassadair Travel Club and worked until they ceased operations. She even did one of their 35 day Private L1011 trips around the world.
Do you have any current (the industry today) stats giving the percentage of AA, DL, and UA flights that are operated as American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express branded?
I saw something on Wiklpedia that 60 percent of AA flights are operated as American Eagle. Is this current? DL and UA?
jaybru – I don’t have it at my fingertips but it should be in the most recent 10-Q for each airline I’d think. I assume most are 50/50 on the big 3.
That guess is by number of flights, not capacity, right? By capacity (and even more so by passenger seat-mile), the mainline share is of course much larger.
Alex – Sure, that was just a random guess on flights. But of course mainline would carry more. But again, that was a generalization anyway.
I remember reading not too long ago that United led this statistic with around 70%, while Delta has been reducing their regional jets and was around 50%. American was somewhere between the two, but it was before the merger completed so I don’t know how US Airways may have impacted that as well..
The best service I’ve had in a long time was on a CP DL Connection flight a few months ago DFW-LAX. Obviously, they’re doing something right.
That safety card is interesting — the design is almost identical to Delta’s current card. Though on Delta Connection the cards carry DL branding…
The logo on the card was the same for the American Eagle flight and the Delta Connection flight because both flights were operated by Compass. That was a Compass safety briefing card on each flight, hence, the same logo.
Good to hear a positive story. We all complain about the lack of attention or caring from flight crews, gate agents, and other airline employees. It’s good to know some crews still get it right.
Nice touch with the captain allowing the youngster sit in the left seat. That will be something that kid will never forget. Heck, I’d like to sit in the captain’s seat too!
PS: I’ve done the LAX-SFO route on DL in the EMBs a number of times and never had a smooth flight, no matter the time of year. Most times it was around the central coast that things get choppy.
Come on, CF: what you really wished was that it was you playing in the left-hand seat! Fox Lake Jim
I have been on that flight as well and noticed the amazing crew and their efforts to please everybody.
It makes such a difference when your’re greeted with a smile and feel like you’re the most important person for a brief moment. Great article and job well done to the Compass crew and the captain.