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Inside the E2, Embraer’s Next-Gen Regional Jet

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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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

The cockpit is the only part of the aircraft that’s near production-ready.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

Cabin Mock-Up

In a separate area of the trade show, Embraer has a cabin mock-up on display.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

This particular mock-up demonstrates a two-class configuration with staggered seating in first class.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

The windows feel quite large as well — hopefully Embraer will add some tech to prevent them from getting so scratched up.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

I definitely wouldn’t mind flying on this regional jet!

Embraer E2 Farnborough

Meanwhile, the economy cabin is located just behind first class.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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).

Embraer E2 Farnborough

Since regional jets are typically used for very short flights, I wouldn’t expect to find a lot of legroom in coach.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

The mock-up lavatory, located at the far back of the cabin, was quite nice as well.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

Bottom Line

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.

Embraer E2 Farnborough

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:

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