I booked this flight about two months prior to flying and the first class cabin was completely empty when I booked, so the likelihood of receiving a complimentary upgrade was high as a result of my Platinum elite status. The E170 has 12 first class seats. Sure enough, my upgrade cleared 72 hours prior to departure. If only I knew the fun was just beginning….I previously wrote how I was stuck in ORD until 3 am on Christmas waiting for this flight and that American compensated me with 8,000 redeemable miles as a result. Needless to say, when it arrived, this was one of my most anticipated flights of the year.
Hard product: if this plane were a hot sauce I’d call it a medium. I was surprised to learn that ALL ROLLER LUGGAGE MUST BE CHECKED AT THE GATE. The plane was not big enough to hold carry-ons of that size.
My seat was the best of both worlds-it’s an aisle and window seat.
The seat itself was pretty basic. No electronics. The tray is tucked in the arm rest.
The plane itself was certainly wasn’t as nice as the 737-800 that I flew to ORD, but it was much nicer than the 50-seat CRJ that I flew in 2015. The first class cabin is organized in an asymmetrical 2-1 layout so you can have both an aisle seat and a window seat!! Immediately upon receiving notice that my upgrade cleared, I changed my seat to a row by itself. Only three seats were occupied (I think other folks with elite status found seats on different planes?) but I was thinking ahead. The seats do not recline as far as you’d hope and the tray was wobbly.
Food/ drink: this flight attendant served pre-departure drinks, but champagne was not an option. Given that it was 3 am, I ordered a water and ate a bag of bite-sized oatmeal cookies.
Service: I slept almost the entire duration of this flight but there was one flight attendant for the three members of the first class cabin, so I’m sure I would have had great service. He kept us updated as to the reason for the substantial delays that we incurred. The refueling tanker was late and then the weight in the fuel tanks had to be balanced? In theory it makes sense but I’ve never heard of that before.
It’s not my favorite plane but I’d certainly select it over CRJs (Canadian regional Jets) that also fly short domestic routes. Be prepared to wait when you deplane because the ground crew will need to retrieve your checked carry-on luggage.