Now flying on American Airlines: First class on every route from Washington, DC

Apr 19, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

American Airlines is sticking to its word.

The Fort Worth-based carrier made a notable schedule update during the weekend for its Washington flying, per Cirium timetables. Specifically, American removed the Embraer 145 regional jet from routes to or from Reagan National (DCA) airport through the end of the schedule in April 2022.

Stay up-to-date on airline and aviation news by signing up for our brand-new aviation newsletter.

AA is upgauging the affected service, including short hops to Albany, New York, and Lansing, Michigan, with larger regional jets, like the 65-seat CRJ-700, 76-seat CRJ-900 and Embraer E175. American’s Embraer 145s had just 50 seats in an all-coach configuration with just three seats marked as extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra.

This means that every route to or from DCA (as well as those at nearby Dulles/IAD airport) will be operated by planes featuring both a first-class and coach cabin, a long-term play that was promised alongside American’s move to the new 14-gate DCA regional concourse.

For years, American’s regional operations from DCA were largely confined to the universally hated and notoriously overcrowded Gate 35X, a ground-level bus operation that served 14 remote stands for regional operations that saw more than 250,000 flights during its tenure.

Washington airport authorities, along with American Airlines, built a brand-new concourse to replace the bus operation, giving each regional aircraft its own jet bridge and terminal waiting area. That concourse opens Tuesday (April 20), marking one of the airport’s biggest improvements in nearly two decades — and one that comes amid the broader “Project Journey” initiative that will reshape DCA’s main concourse.

DCA’s new concourse opens on Thursday (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

During TPG’s preview tour of the new regional concourse, American’s managing director of DCA operations, Radney Robertson, explained that it “allows us to offer more connections. There will be no 50-seat aircraft in this market. Our entire regional product will be in a two-class regional jet with a first-class cabin. From service to more seats to more connections, it’s a win-win.”

American’s making a similar move about 200 miles away along the Northeast corridor. Flying larger regional jets equipped with a first-class cabin was one of the major selling points for AA’s new Northeast alliance with JetBlue. As part of the pact, American promised to upgauge all New York flying to jets equipped with a first-class cabin.

Related: First look at the new 14-gate DCA concourse

This spring, AA is adding 22 spacious, 65-seat Embraer 170 jets to its Eagle subsidiaries to support its upgauge strategy in New York. By offering first-class cabins on every flight, American likely is hoping to woo business travelers who are booking with a corporate budget and might appreciate the extra space.

Upgrading its Washington and New York regional operations comes as American is gearing up to retire its smallest jet, the Embraer 140, this May. Brian Znotins, American’s vice president of network planning, recently told TPG that “we are publishing our plans now to phase out that aircraft type. As we continue bringing larger regional jets into our system, the Embraer 140s are the first we are phasing out.”

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.