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American Eagle ERJ-170 First Class New York LGA to Toronto YYZ

Osman Dadi
I wasn’t sure what to expect on my short flight with American Airlines. I was treated to cheerful, professional and courteous staff every step of the way. My flight was inexpensive and convenient, spotlessly clean and quite pleasant. Experiences like this make me realize sometimes the major American carriers are closer in quality than we think.

My latest journey to Japan in February 2024 began with a short American Eagle ERJ-170 First Class positioning flight from New York LaGuardia LGA to Toronto Pearson YYZ in Canada.

Even though it’s called First Class, it’s really a Business Class Regional Jet.

This was the most cost effective means to connect to my Air Canada Signature Class flight to Tokyo Haneda in a B777-300ER, a review I’ll have out soon! In the process I also tried the awesome Chase Sapphire Lounge at La Guardia.

I’ve flown a similar route on Air Canada’s A220 a couple of times now, to and from Montreal Canada.

I wanted to see how American Eagle compares with a smaller aircraft.

Overall, I was very satisfied with American Eagle’s service and offering. The aircraft was very clean and comfortable, the crew in good spirits, and the service suitable for this short flight.

Although Air Canada still offers the best service and product if you can snag their A220. It might not be worth the extra $100 USD. American usually runs $220-240 on the route, versus Air Canada for $330.

Booking My American Eagle Flight

My flight was originally booked for $219.35. I ended up changing this reservation to fly a few days earlier.

When I later changed to an earlier flight date, this cost was updated to add an additional $13.98.

In all, this ended up being approximately $235 in First Class (Business Class) for a one hour flight to Canada. That’s great value!

I selected seat 1F for its anticipated excellent views out the window.

Ground Experience

I began my journey very late at 6:25am, and I had not checked in yet. This was still plenty of time before my flight was to depart anyway.

I took the subway to Queens and then a taxi to LaGuardia Terminal B. By the time I arrived it was 6:50am. I was delayed and thought I would miss my opportunity to use the Chase Sapphire Lounge.

By the time it was I had clear security it was already 7:18 AM and I was making my way upstairs so I don’t think I would have time to properly enjoy the lounge I really want to try for so long.

Check In at LaGuardia Terminal B

Check-in was so smooth and easy.

I was dropped off on the northwest side of Terminal B right at the American Airlines Priority Counters.

When I walked in, the airport was almost totally empty. What a great day to fly!

First of all there was no line whatsoever and I was able to check in both quickly and also with smiles.

I checked in two bags, and both received priority tags.

Security was also so fast. I’ve never seen LaGuardia airport this empty. There are nice perks to traveling midweek in February.

Chase Sapphire Lounge at New York LaGuardia

I first tried to get into the AMEX Centurion Lounge using my Delta Reserve Card, but could only do so if I was also flying on Delta.

Instead I opted to try the new Chase Sapphire Lounge at LaGuardia. Read my full review at the link – it’s an awesome lounge to be frank!


I ended up leaving the lounge at 8:05am, which was a bit late in the game.

I had to run all the way to Gate 30, which was a bit stressful.

It’s all the way on the opposite wing of Terminal B.

When I arrived, there was almost no one in line.

By this point the flight was already almost fully boarded!

I hurried down the jetbridge and onto the aircraft.

American Eagle ERJ-170

The American Airlines ERJ-170 is a two cabin single aisle aircraft, with 2+1 in First Class and 2+2 in Economy Class.

First Class Cabin

The American Eagle ERJ-170 First Class cabin has four rows of seats in a 2+1 configuration. Row 1 offers the best legroom and window alignment in the cabin.

The single seats are on the left, and pairs on the right – when facing the front of the aircraft. This is reversed in boarding of course.

There are no seatback In Flight Entertainment IFE systems of any kind.

One of the things I most noticed is how clean the cabin was!

Seriously am I flying American Airlines?

It was spick and spam tidy, despite aircraft age.

Note that the windows do not align all that well on the second row thru the third row – you want seats in rows 1 or 4 if you enjoy looking out the window.

Overhead you have a basic set of lamps and an air nozzle per seat, and a call button. It’s standard for an Embraer.

First Class Seat 1F Details

This is a standard ERJ170 seat in First Class – which is really just Business Class to be honest.

Seats in Row 1 offer more legroom than the other rows, but no underseat storage (or any storage really).

The American ERJ170s are missing one window at the very front. However, the remaining window has perfect alignment for views in Row 1.

I absolutely love the ERJ-170 series for their huge windows.

It provides for some of the best aircraft window views you can find in the air.

Since I was on the right side, I didn’t get to enjoy the coverage of New York on takeoff.

There is no inflight entertainment system. In front of the seat is a single document tray, not even large enough to hold a laptop.

The dual seats have a large, curved console in the middle.

Above this is a pop-out drinks tray.

The fronts of the seats have two power ports and two USB-A ports in the center console.

The seats recline with the small button on the side of the seat. And it’s quite a deep recline, I must say!

Given the legroom and recline I could easily sleep on this short flight. The bulkead

On the opposite side is the tray table, which comes in two folded halves inside the seat armrest.

First you have to pull it out, and then it folds out in two pieces.

There is a small cupholder inset on both sides.

Overall the table is unstable in the middle. You can only move it forwards and backwards, and it bends down in the middle.

Note that aisle seats have the same configuration, with the tray table coming out from the aisle side.


I used the restroom at the front of the cabin. It’s tiny but still extremely functional.

AA restrooms on the E170 come with a host of features.

There’s a single mirror on the wall. American uses DS&D URGA soap.

There’s a baby changing table tightly integrated into the space.

There’s an air nozzle for when you’re sitting down.

Although I could tell everything was old and had been repaired many times, equally noticeable was how clean everything was.

This restroom was spotless!

Economy Class Cabin

As it turns out, this flight was flying nearly empty even in Economy Class.

American offers a nice leather finish 2+2 layout in economy class.

The first few seats have additional legroom. Actually Row 5 is excellent on both window sides, offering tons of space and great window alignment.


The WiFi is complimentary for T-Mobile customers after 10,000 feet in the air.

Otherwise it was $13.00 for the flight, which is pretty steep for less than one hour.

My next Air Canada flight would be approx. $25 USD for a fourteen hour flight!

However, the WiFi was smooth and stable for the duration of the entire flight.

In Flight Entertainment

There’s no IFE system installed, but you can connect into the American WiFi entertainment system using the Free Entertainment option above on the WiFi connection.

The Flight

Pre-Departure Service

No pre-departure beverages were ordered. No drinks orders were taken.

However, my jacket was taken as soon as I sat down, which I appreciated! The FA serving Business Class was courteous, professional, and in good spirits.


Captain made an announcement at 8:22 that it would be a beautiful day to fly! I got excited. We were on our way at 8:30, right on time.

It was one hour of flying time. The captain also announced perfect winter conditions for Toronto – 28F, clear skies and calm winds.

By 8:35 we were third in line for take off, and upwards in flight soon after!

At 8:41 we took off for our short one hour flight.

The captain lined up and floored it!

We turned left and eventually flew past the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River.

Post Departure Service

Cabin service began at 8:50am less than ten minutes in flight.

One snack was handed out.

The Flight Attendant kindly brought these out in hand, with individual napkins separated.

It was a KIND bar, and only a Dark Chocolate Chunk bar was offered.

I also requested and received a fresh, tasty hot coffee.

This coffee was promptly refilled twice in flight.

Landing and Arrival

Landing announced at 9:22am with about thirty minutes of flying time left. My jacket was returned to the adjacent seat.

We would be arriving at Gate B8 in Terminal 3.

The Pilot also very kindly announced that Niagara Falls was passing on the left. The passenger in seat 1A kindly offered me his seat so I could grab some images. If you’re reading this – thank you, kind sir!

On top of that, the Flight Attendant also offered me the tiny porthole on the door for photos. LOL! I love flying on days where everyone is in a good mood.

Before we landed I made my way to Economy – to notice our flight was mostly empty. What a day to fly!

Toronto popped into view after 9:30am, and we touched down at Pearson at 9:43am.

We spent a long time taxing to our gate B8 in Terminal 3. B8 is a remote terminal gate.

I would be transferring from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 at Toronto, which I’ve done before. It’s not too difficult and takes about twenty minutes ideally.

I was already quite satisfied with the service on my flight at this point – very well done for a cheap ticket.

Transfer at Toronto Pearson YYZ Airport

On arrival I now needed to migrate to Pearson’s Terminal 1 to catch my Air Canada Signature Class flight to Tokyo.

After arriving at the eight I made my way down a series of Corredor‘s and signs into the immigration area.

This pathway curves around and consolidates at one immigration entry point.

I’ve been thru here once before, coming in on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Toronto late in 2023, also when I was returning from Japan.

The immigration process in Canada was pretty quick. I entered the country for one day for transit purposes only.

This turned out to be quite seamless and fluid. Eventually I cleared and was able to get out into the main terminal baggage claim area. As it turned out, all bags were already delivered long ago!

I had to pick up my luggage in the oversized baggage area, which I wasn’t expecting. The carousels were already empty when I arrived.

Note that the signage on exit is a bit confusing – because everything “Connections” or the “Exit” ultimately goes to the same place on the lower level of arrivals.

For connections you’ll need to go upstairs one level to a separate check in area, or alternatively transfer to the train to go to terminal one for Air Canada flights. In my case, the train was only running every three minutes, so the transfer took a while. After Check In and crossing security, it was also a long walk to the E Gates. This felt like it took ten minutes. I’ve extensively documented this in my Air Canada review.

The journey continues with a too-short visit to Air Canada’s Signature Suite Lounge, and then onwards to Tokyo on Air Canada’s B777-300ER in Signature Class.

Final Thoughts

I wasn’t sure what to expect on my short flight with American Airlines.

To my pleasant surprise, I was treated to cheerful, professional and courteous staff every step of the way.

My flight was inexpensive and convenient, and quite pleasant.

The aircraft was very clean, and the seat comfortable, despite being clearly old.

Experiences like this make me realize that maybe quitting Delta isn’t so bad after all – the major American carriers are closer in quality than we think.

Only Air Canada stands above and beyond with its service offering on this route. I think Air Canada still offers the best level of service on this route – better seats on a better aircraft, free WiFi, and a fresh meal.

I chose this flight because it was cheaper than Air Canada and just as convenient.

If you’re wanting to save some money, American is next best in line!


  • Relatively inexpensive compared to other carriers – and the experience was also seamless.
  • The E170 seats are quite comfortable. The windows are huge.
  • Row 1 offers a spectacular amount of legroom.
  • The aircraft was spanking clean, even the restrooms, despite aircraft age.
  • The Agents and FAs were courteous, professional and in good spirits the whole journey.
  • Free WiFi if you have T-Mobile.
  • The snack and service was stellar, with frequent coffee refills and a friendly service oriented demeanor.


  • No In Flight Entertainment system.
  • Only one snack offered en-route. No pre departure beverage.
  • Not much of a service offering. My OneWorld Emerald Status wasn’t acknowledged. Even despite this, I really enjoyed this flight – the Flight Attendant on this flight was very kind.

Verdict: 9.5/10

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