DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky
July 22, 2024
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Passengers flying these sub-100 seat aircraft are immediately able to sense the limited space as they enter the cabin.  OEMs have to compromise to get in the seating airlines want and fit this into a tube whose dimensions must be light and safe.  Comfort is not truly the primary requirement, since flights typically are under 90 minutes and passengers have to deal with it for only a short time.  That said, who is the fairest of them all?  We took a look at the various models from Bombardier and Embraer in order to offer an equal comparison. The able below shows the key dimensions people have to deal with. We selected US carriers because they likely offer the longest stage lengths.

2015-03-02_15-04-17The Bombardier and Embraer aircraft are closely matched in terms of cabin.  But the CRJ seems to offer 2 inch wider premium seats – something Airbus says is a huge issue. In economy, the Embraer has the wider seat by an inch.  Our preference is the CRJ cabin in first class, but the Embraer cabin in economy to take advantage of larger seat width with similar seat pitch.

American Airlines CRJ-900 looks to be the most comfortable of all, with its mix of first, premium economy and economy seating.  Each of the three classes offers better pitch than the Embraer, which offers a wider seat in economy. United has an especially wide seat in First on the E-175.

2015-03-02_10-28-38When we take a look at aircraft dimensions we can see why Bombardier offers better pitch  – its cabin is longer.  Embraer’s cabin is slightly wider and can accommodate wider seats and aisle.

The primary reason that the American CRJ-900 seating remains comfortable is the scope clause limitation of 76 seats in its labor contract.  As a result, the length of the cabin that can accommodate 80 or 84 passengers in tighter pitch layouts has the luxury of a few extra inches thanks to the latest labor agreement with pilots, which was just renewed for five years.  So for the foreseeable future, the AA CRJ-900s are likely to remain roomier than most.

In terms of overhead bins, Embraer wins the battle for carry-ons, despite some recent improvements in CRJ bins.  However, the bags that often fit on A320 and 737 family aircraft may not fit on either of the regional jets, and gate-checking of carry-on bags remains a painful but commonplace occurrence for regional flights.

Bombardier has come a long way with the CRJ cabin from the original 50 seat models, including much larger and better positioned windows, enhanced overhead bins, new sidewalls and headliners, better lighting, and improvements to the seats themselves.  This has enabled the Next Generation models to catch-up to Embraer’s standard of comfort on the EJets that was a step-up from both the original 50 seat CRJs and ERJs.  The playing field is looking more even as airlines find ways to improve cabins to enhance revenues at the regional level, just as they have done with their mainline operations.   We can finally celebrate some additional cabin space on regional jets, if we’re willing to pay for it.

4 thoughts on “The E-Jet and CRJ cabins

  1. Interesting figures in this article. I have had the opportunity to fly on the E175/190 and CRJ-700 on longer trips more than a few times (eg : Denver-Montreal, Chicago-Salt Lake City, Montreal-Washington, Toronto-Kelowna). I can report there is a definite difference in the “feel” of these airplanes. The E-Jet feels like a mini A320, while the CRJ feels like a jet-powered Q400 (with which it shares cabin width). The seat on the CRJ is thinner than the one on the E-Jet.

  2. Why Embraer seats in first class are narrower in AA/US configuration? At aa.com, informed seat width is 20″. The seats in this class are quite similar in both models.

  3. It seems something is wrong in this comparison. No one in the world who have flown in both airplanes would agree that the CRJ is more comfortable than E175. Not even similar. It is a stretched Challenger whilst the E175 looks like a small A320, with the advantage of having no middle seat. Suggestion to get more reliable information and review the article.

  4. The characterizations of the CRJ’s as outrageously crowded, or as a poster on a certain other site I browse put it, “the Devil’s Chariot” are a gross exaggeration.

    I’ve yet to have the opportunity to fly an E-Jet, and I have no doubt it is a more pleasant cabin, but I have flown in the newer variant CRJ’s and had no significant complaints.

    The windows aren’t great, but that’s an annoyance, not a comfort issue. The bins are small, but work with carry-ons turned 90 degrees from the way they go in a mainline aircraft. You do have to stoop a little lower to get into your seat, but it’s not unreasonable. The seat’s themselves are the same width as on a 737, but I think the aisle is slightly narrower.

    On the other hand, I’ve also flown the Embraer 145, and that definitely crossed the line into uncomfortably small. 45 minutes was a long flight in that cabin.

    If all else were equal, naturally I’d choose the larger E-Jet cabin over the CRJ, but all else is seldom equal. Tickets on the CRJ are usually cheaper, because it’s less expensive to buy and operate.

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