Review of American Eagle flight Houston Los Angeles in Domestic First

Airline American Eagle
Flight AA 5931
Seat 4F
Aircraft Embraer E-175
Flight time 03:58
Take-off 03 Mar 16, 07:00
Arrival at 03 Mar 16, 08:58
MQ   #85 out of 108 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 58 reviews
NGO85
By 2403
Published on 5th March 2016
Background:

This series will cover a quick trip out to LAX. The ticket was purchased for $247 roundtrip in Y. UA was a little bit more expensive at $270 and I didn’t check WN(ex-HOU)/NK’s fares. This route is heavily monopolized by UA, who operates 10+ flights per day IAH-LAX mainly on wide-bodies (internationally-configured B789s are no strangers to this route). AA has more modest operations, with 3x daily service on ERJs operated by Compass Airlines (American Eagle). For the outbound, I picked the early morning flight that would get me into LAX by 9am. Returning, I picked the afternoon flight to get back to IAH at a reasonable hour. The flights were upgraded from Y to F using six 500-mile upgrades, which both cleared 72-hours prior to departure. This leaves a very simple routing:

Part 1 – IAH-LAX [AA 5931, Embraer ERJ-175, First] – You are here
Part 2 – LAX-IAH [AA 5934, Embraer ERJ-175, First] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13489.html



Pre-flight:

I arrived to IAH by car at 6:00. AA leaves from Terminal A, which can be called the “domestic others” terminal (yes, Canada is considered our 51st state and is serviced out of the domestic terminal). Terminal B is UA Express, Terminal C is UA domestic, Terminal D is “international others,” and Terminal E is UA domestic/international. Walking into the terminal from the parking garage you can see the carriers that operate out of IAH’s Terminal A.

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Up to the check-in lobby.

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A merger of what most people associate with Houston: Beef, NASA, and oversized Texas flags.

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The AA check-in area was buzzing this morning. I wasn’t checking bags so I used the kiosks to quickly reprint a boarding pass since I checked in at home.

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Thankfully, AA has a Priority AAccess line at security otherwise things would have been getting dicey. The line was close to 200 people long for security, but I was able to quickly bypass the long line and cleared TSA within 5 minutes. FIDS reaching airside. You can see that all 3 carriers that operate IAH-LAX have flights around 7am. If your eyes wander further down, you’ll see IAH-MIA is operated by AA at both 7am and 8am.

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Almost everything was still closed in the dining area after security except for Starbucks, which had a very healthy line at 6am.

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Terminal A is not easy on the eyes, but a new AA Admiral’s Club is being built right now.

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It’s still very dark outside, but I’m able to get a couple of decent shots.

AA A321 in US livery.

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AA ERJ-175.

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——————————-

American Airlines, AA 5931
Equipment: Embraer ERJ-175 [N213NN, delivered September 2015]
Departure: 7:00 (ATD: 7:25)
Arrival: 8:58 (ATA: 8:39)
Flight time: 3:14


I arrived at the gate around 6:25 as boarding was getting ready to commence.

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Boarding started right on time and I was down the jetbridge quickly.

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A blurry shot boarding. There are only 2 FAs on the ERJ-175s, so both FAs were retrieving jackets from already boarded passengers when I entered the plane.

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My seatmate is already in her seat, so here is a shot of Rows 2 and 3.

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Seat pitch is standard for F, a hand’s distance from your knees to the seat in front of you.

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The blankets were preplaced in the seat.

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The slide-out cup holder from the middle console.

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The right armrest contains the tray table.

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The FA came quickly to my row and welcomed me onboard before taking my PDB order. I just asked for a glass of orange juice.

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The plane quickly filled up (last passenger boarded at 6:46). A view of the cabin as we wait for pushback. F load was 10/12, Y was announced 100% full. AA seems to be competitive with UA to fill up its cabins.

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NK A320 getting pushed back for service to LAX.

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AA A320 in US livery getting towed to a gate.

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The seatback contents.

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American Way and its American Eagle fleet information.

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Safety card for this ERJ-175. I love how Compass Airlines still has its old logo from when it was owned by NW and operated NW Airlink flights. Compass Airlines also operates flights for DL in LAX, SEA, and MSP.

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After sitting for 20 minutes, the pilots finally came on at 7:05 and said that they had just finished their last minute paperwork and we’d be pushing back shortly. UA B739 taxing by.

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As we push back, the FAs do the safety demonstration. Taxing out to the runway past the AA operations.

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A very common sight at IAH: a sea of 5 UA Express ERJs taxing to the runway.

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DL’s early morning operations are also departing.

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It will be 15R today.

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Our GEs come to life and we are quickly up into the air on a cloudy day in IAH.

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We soon reach blue skies.

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As we level off, the FAs are released. The FA asks me if I’ll be joining them for breakfast and what I would like to drink. I confirm I’ll take breakfast and request coffee. She says the coffee will be a couple of minutes so asked if I wanted anything else in the meantime so I took a glass of water first.

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Hot oshibori were distributed.

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No linens were laid, the meal tray as delivered. This flight was listed as “continental breakfast” on the website. This was a little perplexing since the flight time is >2 hours and the flight departs during meal hours. That said; I do not generally like hot breakfast items on planes, so this actually looks like a very full tray. An excessive amount of granola, raspberry yogurt, banana, milk, Danish, and a cheese plate.

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I ate everything except for the Danish. A decent breakfast offering and surprisingly filling. I was skeptical of the continental breakfast before the flight, but was satisfied with the meal that was offered. Coffee was regularly topped off by our very attentive FA.

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After the meal trays were removed, mints were distributed.

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The cabin mid-flight.

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The FA regularly came down the aisle checking on us. She asked if I wanted anything else to drink so I took a cup of tea to sip on while I did my crossword puzzle.

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The downside of the ERJs is that there is no IFE, which is a bit of a problem on a 3+ hour flight. You can access AA’s WiFi, but there is no media to stream for free. I just used aa.com to check the flight status.

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Crossing over West Texas.

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About 2-hours into the flight, the FA came around with the snack basket.

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Passing over the Chino Mine near Santa Rita, New Mexico. An open pit copper mine.

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The Rockies are less impressive in New Mexico, but still beautiful.

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We crossed directly over PHX; I can only see Scottsdale and Paradise City from my window.

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More drinks were offered 2.5-hours into the flight, which was accompanied by a second pass of the snack basket. I declined snacks, but took a coffee.

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Near the Arizona/California border.

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Reaching the LA basin, we cross the San Bernardino National Forrest. The snow-capped peak is Mt. San Gorgonio.

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Redlands and San Bernardino.

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Looking back at Mt. Baldy as we cross over Pomona and Ontario.

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Heading towards Downey, you get a nice view of the early morning fog that sits in the LA basin. It almost feels like you are landing on a lake.

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Downtown LA as we are now aligned for our approach into LAX.

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I found this amusing. This church must know that it is directly under the approach to LAX so painted its parking lot to advertise its “Faith Dome.”

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The sprawl of houses in South Los Angeles.

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Traffic jam on the I-405 heading towards I-10.

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The famous In-n-Out Burger for spotting.

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We touch down 20-minutes early into LAX.

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Crossing the runway, you can see a DL B738 starting its turn to the north if you look very closely.

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HA A332.

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The pair of VA B77Ws spending the day sunbathing before their return to Australia at night.

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We taxied along the active runway so I tried my best to get some take-off shots as we slowly made our way to the Remote Terminal. Battling the sun was difficult.

UA B738.

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AS B739.

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UA B738.

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AA A321.

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The masterpiece of the day was barely catching this QF B744 lifting up.

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AA ERJ tails at the Remote Terminal.

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We pull in next to our twin.

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Deplaning, the FA thanks me for flying. Fuselage shots stepping outside. Our pilot followed me out to do his inspections and gave me the stink eye when he saw me taking pictures.

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The line to catch a bus from the Remote Terminal back to Terminal 4.

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I made sure I stood by the door in order to do some more spotting.

UA B789.

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DL B717.

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AS B738.

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DL B752 in ST special livery.

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After getting dropped off at Terminal 4, it's down the escalators to head towards the baggage claim. Advertisement for the new Fast&Furious ride, how this series has survived this long, nobody knows.

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Moving walkway to the exit.

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I exit towards rental cars, where I will catch a bus to pick up my car.

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I will leave off this series here as I begin my stay in LAX; I’ll pick up next time for the return to IAH.
See more

Verdict

American Eagle

6.9/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi2.0
Meal/catering8.0

Houston - IAH

6.2/10
Efficiency6.0
Access4.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.0

Los Angeles - LAX

8.2/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

A strong performance by AA made for a very comfortable flight. The E-Jets are really comfortable, the service was extremely attentive, and we got there early. The catering was above average IMO (others may feel a hot dish is expected, but I prefer cold breakfasts), but the lack of IFE on long flights is a problem AA should address with tablets.

Cabin comfort: Brand new and clean E-Jet. The seats are comfortable in a 1-2 configuration. I thought about sliding into the empty 4A seat, but didn't feel crowded with a seatmate. The huge windows on the E-Jets is also a bonus.

Crew: Very good. The F cabin FA looked really tired and I don't blame her, this LA-based crew was probably working on little sleep. She wasn't full of smiles, but was extremely attentive and polite. I have to tip my hat the ERJ crews, having 1 FA work 10 F passengers and 1 FA work 60+ Y passengers is a formidable task.

Meal and catering: The continental breakfast was a decent offering and was more than enough food for me. Very attentive drink refills. Two passes of the snack basket later in the flight. Overall, a good performance by AA.

Entertainment: No newspaper offered and the standard seatback literature. No IFE on 3+ hour flight. AA should give out tablets on long flights operated on regional jets.

On-time performance: Left a little late, but landed 20-minutes early.

Information on the route Houston (IAH) Los Angeles (LAX)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Houston (IAH) → Los Angeles (LAX).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is United with 6.7/10.

The average flight time is 3 hours and 56 minutes.

  More information

10 Comments

  • Comment 159040 by
    marathon SILVER 9602 Comments

    So FR is becoming a billboard for a megachurch ?
    Great plane spotting at arrival, and kudos for the QF 747 !
    I wonder what was in that pilot's mind.
    Thanks for sharing !

    • Comment 336076 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      So FR is becoming a billboard for a megachurch ?
      - Football games and FR ;)

      kudos for the QF 747 !
      - I couldn't see the planes coming so had to guess when to take the picture based on the roar of the engines.

      I wonder what was in that pilot's mind.
      - Most regional airline pilots are really young and probably don't have as much experience to appreciate their jobs (or the people that appreciate their jobs).

      Thanks for stopping by Marathon!

  • Comment 159065 by
    757Fan 595 Comments

    Looks like a great flight with AA. Breakfast looks tasty, and the AA livery is really growing on me, especially on these EMB-175 aircraft.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 336077 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      When I first saw continental breakfast I had a really bad snack box in mind (yogurt and muffin) like they offer on the transcon redeyes so this was a welcome surprise.

      The AA livery is growing on me too, I didn't like it at first, but it actually looks nice on most of the fleet.

      Thanks for your comments Matthew!

  • Comment 159137 by
    socalnow 980 Comments

    Thanks for the report NGO85.

    I have occasion to fly this route in May and I have been wondering about AA's E175 service. It looks totally passable up front.

    The QF 744 rotating! Nice grab.

    Thanks again and happy flying.

    • Comment 336078 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks for your comments!

      I have been wondering about AA's E175 service. It looks totally passable up front.
      - Read the return leg before you make that judgement ;) Definitely a tale of two reports. Cabin comfort is fine (a vast improvement over the CRJs they used to send), but the service is hit or miss.

      The QF 744 rotating! Nice grab.
      - The lighting also made it sexy. I found Imperial Hill to be great for spotting to catch the heavies on departure.

  • Comment 159187 by
    Numero_2 9986 Comments

    Thanks for sharing.

    Bypassing the long security is one of the status / booking class advantage I mlike the most because it can be very helpful sometimes.

    An excessive amount of granola, raspberry yogurt, banana, milk, Danish, and a cheese plate. -> The cheese plate is what I'd call a grape and crackers plate. lol

    • Comment 336079 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci Clement^^

      Bypassing the long security is one of the status / booking class advantage I mlike the most because it can be very helpful sometimes.
      - 75% of the time. TSA is just so slow since they don't have enough body scanners running that it can be 30-60 minute waits for security otherwise. T2 will probably be a mess when you go through LAX^^ But AC should probably have a priority lane for security.

      The cheese plate is what I'd call a grape and crackers plate. lol
      - The spreadable brie is not really cheese at all since it is so processed and has the consistency of cream cheese. My description was how it was described by the FA, don't shoot the messenger^^

  • Comment 159560 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    I've always wanted to fly on an E-Jet but I've never done it yet. This E-175 cabin looks very clean and pretty comfortable. Would love to fly in one of these (even though I'd end up in Y).

    Catering looks alright on this flight, nothing extraordinary but it seems like it got the job done. The cheese plate didn't look like a proper 'cheese' plate though. It's nice the FAs also came up with the snack basket twice and they seemed to do a good job with the refills.

    A tablet for the IFE would have been nice. You did have pretty good natural IFE though, better than what I've seen on my flights.

    Absolutely fantastic aerial shots! Can't describe how amazing your shots were!

    Great spotting shots, especially of that departing QF 744!

    Have a good one, see you!

  • Comment 159596 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5376 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR!

    247 R/T is a really decent price for a 3+ hour flight. Sometime we get $300 RT flights from the East Coast to LAX, but it's pretty rare. NK has been growing like crazy lately, and the competition is nice to have on a route to keep prices down, but I don't think I'd ever consider them.

    I like that Compass pretty much kept the Northwest Airlines logo. I was a fan of NWA back in the day.
    Compass Airlines also operates flights for DL in LAX, SEA, and MSP.
    - And still have their company headquarters at MSP

    The catering is disappointing. I just don't get how inconsistent AA is. I've had meals on 1.5 hour flights, but you get cereal on a 3 hour flight? There wasn't even a choice? Just continental breakfast? Maybe they don't have ovens in the E175s.

    Awesome aerial shots--always love flying out west for the beautiful scenery. Nice spotting on arrival.

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