American Airlines’ regional affiliate, American Eagle, will introduce first class service on its Bombadier CRJ-700 jets starting July 2, 2010. When the first class seats are added, the CRJ-700 aircraft will have either 63 or 65 seats in the main cabin and nine first class seats. In addition to a premium seat at the front of the plane, first class passengers will receive a continental breakfast and yogurt and lunch or dinner with a salad or sandwich and dessert. On short flights, a gourmet snack mix will be offered with a beverage. First class service will be available on routes between American Airlines’ Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth hubs and select destinations. Passengers in first class will also receive Priority AAccess boarding privileges and Premium Baggage service.
Bottom line: American Airlines will have 243 more first class seats in its route network when American Eagle’s 25 CRJs are converted to a two-class cabin configuration and the first two of 22 new CRJs are added to the fleet. American Eagle’s regional jets primarily serve shorter routes and elite members may not want to use their complimentary upgrades on a quick trip from Chicago to Minneapolis. But Executive Platinum members who receive unlimited complimentary upgrades on domestic flights will now have more opportunities for first class service on American Eagle flights after July 2, 2010. All members can redeem 15,000 miles plus a $75 co-pay for an upgrade to first class or 50,000 miles for a first class flight award.