At Least 200 American Airlines Regional Jets Will Get Seat Power This Year

When American West management took over US Airways they removed seat power from Airbus narrowbodies that had it. Without the equipment the planes weighed less and burned less fuel.

Once US Airways took over American they were slow to add seat power to legacy US Airways aircraft. CEO Doug Parker said they thought they “could live with” not offering power.

However over the last couple of years American Airlines has been aggressively adding seat power and satellite internet to their fleet. They’ve made a strategic decision not to offer seat back video on demand the way that Delta does. Since customers need to use their own devices for entertainment, they need to power those devices.

And with the mainline fleet well underway for these modifications, the airline is now in the process of add seat power to two-cabin regional jets — Embraer ERJ-175s, Bombardier CR7s and CR9s. There are four planes equipped already but they plan to have well over 200 done by the end of the year.

Outlets will be added when an aircraft goes in for heavy checks. Each first class seat will get one, and each pair of coach seats will share one (one on each side of the aircraft per row).

You’d be excused if you thought you’d flown an American Airlines regional jet with seat power already. Republic was flying 19 planes out of Chicago O’Hare that had outlets, but those outlets were deactivated since American didn’t have a maintenance program for that system.

Embraer ERJ-145

There are no plans to add seat power to one class regional jets like the Embraer 140/145s or Bombardier CRJ-200s.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I find this funny that the large regional jets will actually be significantly better flying experience than mainline. None of this project oasis nonsense, no middle seats, and has almost all of the amenities of a mainline jet.

  2. I don’t get how American manages to actually have a worse product than United or Delta for the same price. Aside from FC upgrades, it seems like flying JetBlue is the better choice for amenities and sanity.

  3. I fly on a RJ to work on a weekly basis, and AA is usually the cheapest of the 3 major airlines, with schedules being about equal out of all three NYC airports. And generally speaking, I find the RJ experience to be better than mainline as there are no middle seats. However, AA flies E140s with no power, no WiFi, and no extra legroom seats. DL flies E175s and CRJ 700s, both of which have bins big enough for rollaboards, WiFi (with free texting and streaming entertainment), power outlets, extra legroom seats (“Comfort+”, and first class. Not that I care that much about first class on a 1.5 hour flight, it’s still nice. I’ll always go with DL, hands down.

  4. Having only one outlet for two passengers seems like it will lead to outlet battles when both passengers need power. AA is doing that to save fuel costs not because the outlet is expensive. If airlines want to save money they should incentivize flight crew to loose weight. Incentives could be based on ideal body-mass index for each individual or something and participation could be voluntary.

  5. Just spent 3 hrs on a 737 w/no power, no IFE, and satellite WiFi that kept cutting out-way to go for great Dougie

  6. I didn’t think they were ever getting, well anything…. That’s awesome! And sad my expectations are so low for AA, the only airline I fly.

  7. To seriously offer in seat power, AA will need to roll it out across the board, not 20 random planes. Personally, disconnecting for 1 to 2 hours, is preferred, but it would be nice to have a couple of magazines available that otherwise I dont have time or patience to read (not just the airline one.)
    I have looked at the airport battery rentals. That is really a good alternative if AA would just keep their prices low.
    The exception: holding patterns and tarmac delays. Then you need power to the seats.

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