How Would You Feel Boarding This American Airlines Flight?

A passenger passes along a photo from on board Thursday’s American Airlines flight AA3145. The SkyWest Bombardier CRJ-700 (registration N716EV) was headed from Phoenix to Santa Rosa.

This 18 year old CR7, ex-Atlantic Southeast and ExpressJet, moved over to Skywest in December 2018 and sat in storage until Feb 2021. And the interior looked like it should never have been taken out of storage. Or at least you might think the airline would do a little more interior work before turning it to the skies.

However I often see the bare minimum done on regional jets, especially that change owners or that start flying for another carrier. You’ll see the armrest colors of one airline even when seat covers are changed to the branding of another. Still, you expect the cabin interior to be fully intact.

Credit: @AllisonInWanderland24

This is a terrible customer experience, because a reasonable person outside of aviation wonders if an airline is skimping on maintenance in the ways they can see, what are they skimping on that they can’t see?

I reached out to SkyWest for comment on Thursday evening but they haven’t responded. I will update this post if I hear back.

Update: SkyWest offers,

SkyWest Airlines maintains a robust maintenance schedule for all of our aircraft, including regular inspections. While the condition near the interior window of this aircraft would not pose a safety concern, it does not meet our high standards and our technicians are further inspecting the issue. If a customer ever has a concern about something they see onboard an aircraft we encourage them to notify an airline employee so it can be resolved or reported to our maintenance teams.

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 flew from DFW to Rapid City on a POS like this. The overwing exit door was showing an error light in the cockpit. They took the door off and jammed a bunch of metal tape around one side to fool the sense into thinking the door was OK. Several of us asked the crew about it and inquired about alternate flights. Nothing available. Ended up taking the flight (with a one hour delay for door repair). Probably should not have flown.

  2. Any Bombadier CJ700 is about the worst possible regional jet you can fly on right now. Flew recently on an Alaska Air Embraer 170/175. It is a wayyyy better regional jet.

  3. I’m not sure if it says more about Skywest for operating a plane that looked that bad or American for allowing them to do so.
    According to flightaware, that particular aircraft is in service right now and is scheduled for multiple more flights today and tomorrow.

  4. Skywest also flies for Delta, but that doesn’t get mentioned by commentators who have a vendetta against American and want it to be liquidated.

  5. I believe the aviation maintenance expression originally was ‘put together with spit bailing wire and chewing gum.
    Wonder if they would tolerate an A&P onboard as a passenger fixing it enroute.

  6. American is too busy dealing with trying to ban alcohol from airports to deal with something as petty as aircraft maintenance.

  7. All I see is a bored child/pax acting like a child getting entertained by poking holes and peeling those cracks during a flight.

    IME Skywest is usually better at appearance MX items from being on their planes, but this looks like a pain to fix quickly.

  8. Looks like the same features of a plane I flew out of Tangier on Royal Air Maroc 7 years ago…

  9. Now broken seats I can understand. I’ ve watched many obese passengers squeeze and twist their girth into a seat to the point of breaking it!

  10. Radio,
    the aircraft in question is flying for American.
    I would think someone like you would recognize that each major airline has different standards for its regional carriers. There is no evidence that Delta would have allowed that plane to fly in its own colors.
    The question is why the plane hasn’t been pulled from American’s schedule if it still looks like that.
    And Skywest also flies for United. You somehow managed to fail to mention that little fact.

  11. There are fire barrier requirements that, obviously, aren’t being met with this kind of sidewall deterioration. The Sky West CMO needs to be opening an EIR, I’m thinking.

  12. But if they took the time to come take the aircraft out of service to fix it and repair the damaged interior then it would’ve been hell at the gate. Passengers complain about the plane, they complain about the maintenance, they complain about everything. You can’t win, somebody always has a problem. The airlines provide a service, it gets you where you need to be one way or another, that’s what you asked, thats what you get, if you don’t like it then drive. But for the love of god stop complaining and stop torturing the people that love what they do and stop yelling at them for what they have no control over.

  13. I hate regional jets! I have to fly from DTW to ORD, EWR or IAH to go anywhere! I see that picture and I know I would’ve said something. If the interior is that bad, how can we trust that the planes are getting maintenance as often or as much as needed? UA has so many of their DTW-ORD cancelled or delayed because of those little planes. On top of that, they seem to always be full, with a lot of standby pax. They don’t FEEL safe and the worst landings I’ve been through have all been on CRJ’s between EWR and DTW. Now that I’m a million miler with UA, I have considered joining Delta, as they’re our hub. But I don’t want to start all over again. With my luck I’d still get regional planes!

  14. Nothing as reassuring as flying on an airline that should be junked. AA has gotten terrible, but it’s not anything new. The old Northwest used to fly DC9’s with holes in the cabin fashion large enough to store a small carry-on bag. At least McDonald Douglas used to build really sturdy planes designed the last for decades. I’m not so sure about the Canadairs.

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