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If you’ve traveled on a major US airline’s regional arm without the last few years, there’s a good chance you’ve flown on an Embraer E170/175 or E190/E195. These short-haul aircraft fly under the liveries of American Airlines, Delta, United and a handful of other North American carriers, and they’re more or less unavoidable if you’re traveling from, to or through smaller markets throughout the US.
They have a bit of a bad rap, due to dated interiors, cramped cabins and those awful gate-check bag tags we all hate. While the situation has improved with updated versions of these jets, it’s about to get a whole lot better with the launch of the Embraer E2, which I had a chance to tour at the Farnborough Air Show.
Onboard the E190-E2
The first E2 series aircraft took its first flight in May, so Farnborough is the plane’s first major appearance. The cabin isn’t quite trade show ready, but Embraer invited some attendees for a brief tour.
The cockpit is the only part of the aircraft that’s near production-ready.
While the cockpit is clearly an update from older Embraer jets, it’s designed so that pilots can move between previous-generation and E2 aircraft.
The cockpit is more or less ready to go, though experts will notice a few extra cables and switches, which are necessary to operate the test environment on board this plane.
The cockpit feels surprisingly roomy for a regional jet. That’s a very good thing, considering that many future airline pilots will get their start here.
The E2 is currently loaded with ballast tanks rather than passenger seats. These tanks allow engineers to move the center of gravity throughout the flight so the plane can be tested with many different weight scenarios.
In a separate area of the trade show, Embraer has a cabin mock-up on display.
Mock-ups tend to be a bit more luxurious than what you’ll actually find on a flight, as designers can work with off-the-shelf products that don’t require FAA (and airline) approval.
This particular mock-up demonstrates a two-class configuration with staggered seating in first class.
These seats provide more privacy than what you’ll find in current Embraer jets, and they may not take up much more space, since airlines currently opt for a 2-1 configuration in the forward cabin.
The windows feel quite large as well — hopefully Embraer will add some tech to prevent them from getting so scratched up.
I definitely wouldn’t mind flying on this regional jet!
Meanwhile, the economy cabin is located just behind first class.
Seats here are in a 2-2 configuration, and they’re similar to what you’ll likely see in the air (though this cabin is noticeably shorter).
Since regional jets are typically used for very short flights, I wouldn’t expect to find a lot of legroom in coach.
The E2 does offer plenty of luggage storage, though, so unless your carry-on is too large, you should be able to keep it with you on the plane.
The mock-up lavatory, located at the far back of the cabin, was quite nice as well.
Regional jets are a necessary evil in commercial aviation, and while they historically haven’t offered the most comfortable ride, it’s great to see aircraft manufacturers working hard to improve the situation.
So far, US airlines have ordered more than 200 of these next-gen Embraer E2 jets, with the first expected to arrive in 2018. I’d expect the US versions to launch with an interior closely resembling what we have today — but you’ll still get that new airplane smell.
See below for more from Farnborough 2016:
- Bumping into British PM David Cameron at the Farnborough Air Show
- Tour Boeing’s Brand New 737 MAX, Launching with Southwest in 2017
- Inside the E2, Embraer’s Next-Gen Regional Jet
- Touring the Bombardier CSeries Jet, Now Flying with Swiss
- Watch an F-35 Fighter Jet Hover at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show
- Check Out Qatar’s All-Business-Class Airbus A319 Jet
- Inside the Gulfstream G650, One of the World’s Fastest Business Jets
- Explore Qatar Airways’ Incredible Gulfstream G650 Private Jet
- Take a Look Inside Honda’s $4.5 Million Private Jet
- Comparing Economy Seat Pitch, from 29 to 34 Inches
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