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Review: American Eagle CRJ-700 Economy (BTR-DFW)

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

48 hours after we arrived in Baton Rouge, our weekend with friends was coming to an end. We headed off to the airport to catch our flights back to Austin.


Booking

Typically when I travel to Baton Rouge it is cheaper to fly into New Orleans and rent a car but, for whatever reason, United wanted almost $700 per person to fly to New Orleans while American had flights to Baton Rouge for under $400 round trip, which made American a no-brainer.


Pre-Flight

Due to some delays and a misconnection on our outbound flights, we ended up getting rebooked on United through Houston. Because of the rebooking and changes, our reservation got broken and Mrs. ATX Jetsetter and I got split up on separate reservations. We headed to the airport a little early just in case we had issues as I could select Main Cabin Extra seats at check-in while she couldn't.


As we rode to the airport I checked our inbound flight and saw that we had a delayed inbound flight. The delay was already showing 20 minutes and that would only grow as the updated departure time was almost 15 minutes in the past.

American Airlines flight delay notification in app
So it begins...

We pulled up curbside at Baton Rouge Metro Airport and headed over to the American Airlines counter. The place was a ghost town and the only person in the ticketing area was the American AAgent and one of the ramp workers.

After taking a look at our reservations, the AAgent was able to assign us seats 4A and B in the first row of Main Cabin Extra, meaning we would get a bit of additional legroom on our flight up to Dallas. With boarding passes in hand, we headed upstairs towards the security checkpoint, which was also deserted.

Up until we reached security I still hadn’t seen a single passenger, only a couple of airport employees. This gave the whole place an eerie feeling.

Baton Rouge Airport Security Checkpoint
Where are all the people?

It took about 30 seconds for us to clear security and we found ourselves airside facing the large glass wall of windows overlooking the empty ramp. I used to fly through Baton Rouge fairly frequently and don’t ever remember seeing it this deserted. It makes for a pretty great passenger experience though when you can go from curb to gate in just a couple of minutes.

Turning the corner from security, I found some of the passengers for our flight hanging out at the bar. We grabbed a couple of seats to kill time while we waited for our inbound aircraft to arrive.


Boarding

Our scheduled boarding time arrived and there was no sign of our aircraft at the gate, or any people for that matter. I walked down a little further to see our plane parked at a remote stand near the end of the terminal with passengers deplaning via stairs. Apparently the pushback tug was broken so we couldn’t use the jet bridge.

SkyWest CRJ-700 at Baton Rouge Airport
Our ride up to Dallas this afternoon

With the inbound delayed and the broken jet bridge requiring a gate change, boarding didn't begin until 15 minutes before our scheduled departure time. We boarded with Group 4 and headed out across the tarmac to our waiting American Eagle CRJ-700.

Baton Rouge Airport Boarding Gate B5
Not many ground boarding gates in the United States, so this is a treat

Today's aircraft was in the SkyWest house colors and I was able to get a great shot of it as we walked across the tarmac.


SkyWest DBA American Eagle

AA 4906

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

Seat: 4A (Economy)

CRJ-700 (N603SK) (SkyWest House Livery)

Scheduled: 5:30p-7:09p

Actual: 5:33p-7:03p


SkyWest CRJ-700 at Baton Rouge Airport
SkyWest CRJ-700 in house colors

We were met at the stairs by the Captain who was helping to load bags onto the aircraft to try and get us out on time. I really appreciated the hustle of the Baton Rouge AAgents and SkyWest crew to make up for lost time.


Seat

We climbed the stairs and walked through the First Class cabin back to row 4, the first row of Economy which American brands as 'Main Cabin Extra'. Seats 4A and 4B had virtually unlimited legroom but 4B has the downside of being bumped by passengers trying to walk through the aisle.

American Eagle CRJ-700 Economy bulkhead seats
American Eagle CRJ-700 Economy bulkhead seats

As is typical for a regional jet, there was no IFE screen available though American did offer streaming via WiFi, which is something you won't find on United's CRJ-900s.

American Eagle CRJ-700 Economy Legroom
American Eagle CRJ-700 Economy Legroom

Departure

Even with the delayed inbound, we still rolled off the gate only a few minutes behind schedule. We had a very quick taxi across a still deserted airport over to Runway 13.

We took off towards the southeast and had a very low initial climb before making a sweeping left turn to the northwest to head for Dallas.


In Flight

We climbed out of Baton Rouge, dodging some storms as we went, and the flight attendants began their in-flight service.

Thunderstorms departing Baton Rouge Airport
Thunderstorms departing Baton Rouge

I connected to the inflight WiFI and looked up our connecting flight to Austin which, shockingly, was also delayed.

One of the perks of flying in Main Cabin Extra on American, in addition to the extra legroom, is complimentary alcohol. Knowing that our connecting flight was already delayed, I relaxed with a vodka soda. This was accompanied by a small bag of pretzels.

American Eagle CRJ-700 Economy Snack and Beverage Service
American Eagle CRJ-700 Economy Snack and Beverage Service

After about an hour in the air, I visited the restroom at the rear of the plane. While it was no frills, it was kept clean and stocked during the duration of our flight.


As we approached Dallas, I passed the time looking out the window at the building storm clouds our pilots were doing their best to avoid.


Arrival

We took a unique approach into DFW and ended up landing on the far out Runway 31R.

Since we landed on far out 31R, we had a 15 minute taxi over to our arrival gate of E38.

Once we deplaned, it was a short wait on the jetway for our gate checked bags and, from there, we headed off to the SkyLink train and Terminal D to catch our connecting flight to Austin.

DFW Airport jet bridge interior
Waiting for our gate checked bags

As I headed up the jet bridge and into the terminal, I managed to snag one last shot of our plane.

American Eagle CRJ-700 at DFW Airport Gate E38
N603SK at DFW Airport

Summary

Our flight from Baton Rouge to Dallas/Ft. Worth was your standard American Eagle flight. What really stood out though was the effort of both the ground crew in Baton Rouge to get us boarded, and the SkyWest Captain who was loading bags to try and get us on our way as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, my overall experience with American's reliability continues to be poor.


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