Review: American Airlines First Class E175, Vancouver – Los Angeles


Our departing early morning flight from Vancouver International Airport was on American Airlines today. It was a contrast from our other experiences whom were on Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines while we flew on a transborder basis. Our experience on American Airlines was comfortable and pleasant, although not super memorable.

This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Read More from This Trip

Review: American Airlines Compass Airlines dba as American Eagle, E175, Vancouver International Airport – Los Angeles Terminal Six

“American Airlines offered “lounge-less” no nonsense, but otherwise friendly First Class trans-border service from Vancouver – Los Angeles”

There is lots of competition on the Vancouver – Los Angeles route. The route has been serviced by previously independent Alaska, American Airlines (One World), Delta Airlines (Skyteam) and Air Canada and United Airlines (Star Alliance). This would be our “first in a while” effort with American on their regional transborder service.

American Airlines
Compass Airlines Operated as American Eagle
First Class
YVR-LAX (Vancouver International Airport – Los Angeles Airport Terminal 4)
AA 5987
April 14, 2016
Booked: Embraer RJ 175
Flown: Embraer RJ 175
Departure: 7:00 AM
Arrival: 10:06 AM

We had a not so wonderful 3:30 AM wake up to get to the airport today. It was about an hour to shower and button up the house and we were on our way to the Vancouver International Airport via the Aerocar Service.

It was not a great get away day today. The black Aerocar Lincoln Towncar that was sent to pick us up had a broken self levelling suspension so it rode like a low-rider all the way to the airport. This translated into two severely “shaken” travellers before we even got onto the plane. We only brought (or forgot) enough Gravol ginger for one for the trip, so I spent 15 minutes walking over to the other side of the Vancouver airport Pharmasave store looking for more, only to find it closed.

A Dark Arrival to Vancouver International Airport Transborder Departures
American Airlines Priority Check In

We were travelling on American Airlines First Class Vancouver – Los Angeles, followed by Qatar Airways Business Class Los Angeles – Doha, then Qatar Airways Business Class Doha – Johannesburg, and lastly British Airways Club Business Class Johannesburg – Cape Town on today’s tickets. We attempted check in at the AA kiosks, but the Titmatic Visa check blocked any further progress. Our AAgent was further unable to print out all boarding cards. By a stroke of luck, WT73 was able to get all her boarding cards checked through to Cape Town, whereas I was only able to get my American flight to Los Angeles. I tried, but was unable to list her for an upgrade into the business class cabin, despite 4 seats showing as available and her being on a AAdvantage business award ticket. When we booked the ticket, someone else had already grabbed the other business class reward saver seat so we had a reservation of one in business and one in economy for this flight segment today.

Global Entry was kind to us today and without lines, we were through the US Pre-Clearance at YVR quickly and into the dark airport. There were bizarre Donald Duck collections on display on the secure side, along with the usual world class First Nations art that is always around the Vancouver International Airport.

The US Departures Hall at YVR
First Nations Art at Vancouver International Airport
The Largest Collection of Donald Duck’s I’ve ever Seen

It was quiet at the airport this morning. There is no set lounge for American Airlines First Class Transborder travellers at Vancouver International Airport. If you happen to hold certain credit cards, the Plaza Premium Vancouver Transborder Lounge may be available to you as the only contract lounge in the Vancouver Transborder area. However, it’s not included with any American Airlines First Class Ticket. Instead, we ended up hanging out in the otherwise deserted departures hall.

The Quiet Vancouver International Airport Transborder Area

On Board American Airlines First Class:

When it came time to board, we eventually settled in on board the Embraer 175. The American Airlines Embraer 175 is set up like all others with a 1-2 seating configuration in First Class. The American flight featured a refreshed cabin with grey leather seating. Unfortunately, there was no in seat power, and as expected of the smaller aircraft, no video monitors.

American Airlines First Class E175 Seating

Pre Departure Service:

A pre-departure beverage of water was provided, followed by an public address announcement that they had run out of drinking water on board.

We pushed back next to the Westjet “Frozen” themed aircraft. Our departure was on runway 08R today, which meant a fly over of the Lower Mainland district eastwards towards the Rockies (away from the ocean). We enjoyed a nice and cloudy view of the North Shore mountains on our way out of town.

Push Back Next to the Westjet “Frozen” Themed B737 Aircraft
Pacific Northwest Views over the Air Canada Maintenance Hangar

The Meal: A Cold Breakfast

Starting off the meal service, there was the usual tired towel service. A cold breakfast was provided promptly about 40 minutes in the flight. There was only one choice today of granola and fruit, which was served plated all at once. By way of comparison, this is quite similar to the service on the Delta Airlines First Class Vancouver – Los Angeles route in the morning, with a cold cereal meal service on their morning flight.

American Airlines Towel Service
American Airlines Breakfast

It was pretty friendly service on the way down with a nice view of Mount Rainer peeking through the clouds.

Mount Rainier Peeking through Cloud Tops

Before we knew it, and a few winks later, we were in bound to LAX. We had views of the Coastal Mountains on our approach into Los Angeles International Airport. We also got great views of the Los Angeles International Airport Theme Building at the airport.

Los Angeles Coastal Views
Views on Approach into Los Angeles

We landed in Los Angeles Terminal 4 outfield terminal. I still find it fascinating every time I come through here how many aircraft are on the ground. Sure- it’s less than a state of the art facility but still awesome none the less. We passed by the Asiana Airlines Boeing 747 which previously took us in Asiana Airlines First Class Los Angeles – Seoul Incheon.

Asiana Airlines B747 Parked at Tom Bradley International Airport

We headed off to the American Airlines Admirals Lounge Los Angeles Terminal Four before continuing onward on our Qatar Airways Business Class Los Angeles – Doha flight.

My Thoughts on American Eagle Airlines Transborder Service:

Overall the flight was pretty consistent with what others (Alaska, Delta, American, Air Canada and United) are offering on this route. Even the Embraer configuration is comparable to Delta’s offering on this route. There isn’t much reason to pick American over Delta over Alaska on this route so perhaps it comes down to which lounge you favour leaving Los Angeles on your connecting flight since all 3 have access to none leaving Vancouver. Lounge hunters at Vancouver will have to stay on Star Alliance carriers of Air Canada and United.

If you’ve regularly fly Canada – United States on Transborder Flights, do you have a preference between Star Alliance, Skyteam or One World?

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