Review: American Eagle CRJ-900 First Class (DFW-BTR)

After arriving in Dallas/Ft. Worth on my American flight from Austin, I had 1h 15m to kill before my onward flight to Baton Rouge. With all of the lounges closed at this late hour, I headed off to Terminal E in search of some food prior to my connecting flight.

Booking

My dates and times for this flight were pretty set as I needed to work a full day in Austin on Thursday and still make it to my meeting on Friday morning in Baton Rouge. I started my search on Google Flights and, while I would typically fly American or Southwest direct to New Orleans and make the hour long drive to Baton Rouge, this time it was actually cheaper to take the connection and fly straight into BTR.

The ticket, taxes and fees came out to $154 for my one-way Economy ticket (AUS-DFW-BTR) and for $100 I was able to upgrade both legs to First Class which seemed like a reasonable premium. I purchased the upgrades for both segments a week before departure.

Pre-Flight

My incoming flight arrived into Terminal C and my connecting flight was departing from Terminal E. Because of the late hour both the Priority Pass and Dallas Centurion Lounges were closed so I decided to head over to Terminal E and grab a bite to eat. While some portions of Terminal C have been recently remodeled, some are still stuck in the 80’s.

Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport Terminal C

Over in Terminal E, I found a restaurant near my gate that was still open. 2.0 Taco & Tequila Bar was the name of the game tonight. I ordered some chicken nachos, ate, and then headed off to my gate.

a menu on a counter
a plate of food on a table

Boarding

My flight to Baton Rouge was boarding from Gate E35A and boarding was already well underway when I arrived at the scheduled boarding time.

DFW Airport Terminal E Gate E35 Boarding Area

There was no line in the priority lane and with a quick scan of my boarding pass and I headed down the jet bridge.

PSA Airlines DBA American Eagle

AA 5056

DFW-BTR (Dallas/Ft. Worth International – Baton Rouge Metro)

Seat: 1A (First)

CRJ-900 (N856NN)

Scheduled: 10:34p-11:58p

Actual: 10:28p-11:44p

Our ride to Baton Rouge was waiting at the end of the jet bridge and I caught a quick peek before stepping on board.

American Eagle CRJ-900 N856NN at DFW Airport

Seat

Since I was late boarding I wasn’t able to get a picture of the first class cabin but it was arranged in the standard 1-2 configuration you’ll find on regional jets across the United States. I selected seat 1A, the first seat on the single seat side of the cabin. When flying a regional jet, this is my favorite seat as the legroom is good and there are fewer passengers around you.

American Eagle CRJ-900 First Class Legroom

Since this was the bulkhead, the tray table was located in the armrest. There was also a small tray on the armrest that could hold a drink. The overhead bins were small but had space for my laptop bag. My carry on bag had to be gate checked for this leg.

Departure

As boarding was wrapping up, the flight attendant working the First Class cabin came around with a cup of water.

American Eagle CRJ-900 First Class Pre-Departure Beverage

We finished boarding a few minutes early and started our taxi out to the runway. Departures were to the north which made it a quick taxi to our departure runway, 36R. With no traffic in front of us we were airborne in no time and made a hard right turn to head towards Baton Rouge. It was a clear night and we got a great view of the surrounding area on our climb out.

Overflying the DFW Metroplex at Night

In-Flight

Once we crossed through 10,000 feet, the cabin crew started the in-flight service. I ordered a vodka soda which was served just as the bumps started.

American Eagle CRJ-900 First Class Drink Service

The flight attendant working the First Class cabin was working extremely hard and was up and about the cabin even through some pretty significant chop. The snack basket made a pass and I grabbed a bag of pistachios.

a machine with cans and cans on a counter
a bag of pistachios on a person's leg

We had a brief respite from the turbulence and I headed for the bathroom once the seatbelt sign was switched off. Just like most of the regional jets flying, the bathroom on the CRJ-900 is tiny. I had to twist my neck just to fit inside.

PSA Airlines American Eagle CRJ-900 First Class Lavatory

Back at my seat, the flight attendant offered one last beverage refill as we began our descent into Baton Rouge.

Arrival

We landed in Baton Rouge early and made it to the gate 15 minutes ahead of schedule. With the game coming up, every gate at the airport was full and we got stuck at a remote stand for the second time in a row here. While it is inconvenient, for AvGeeks it is always fun getting to see the plane up close and personal. Also, since I had a gate checked bag they brought them to us on the tarmac instead of having to wait on the jet bridge.

American Eagle CRJ-900 at Baton Rouge Metro Airport

Bags in hand I headed into the terminal and up the stairs. For being a small airport, the main terminal area in Baton Rouge is pretty impressive.

Baton Rouge Metro Airport Rotunda

Fortunately with the game this weekend, I had no issues getting an Uber even at midnight and, after a short wait, I was in the car and off to the hotel.

a building with a sign and escalator
cars parked cars in a parking lot

Summary

While there isn’t anything special about flying a regional jet on short routes within the United States, American’s CRJ-900 had a comfortable seat and our plane departed on time and landed early. The crew can’t control the bumps but our flight attendants did a great job maximizing service given the conditions. I’d happily fly this flight on this route again!

In This Trip Report

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