American Airlines Review: Flying American & American Eagle to Chicago in Main Cabin & Main Cabin Extra Economy

An American Airlines Boeing 737-800 parked at CLT airport

In this post we will be flying to Chicago O’hare from a small southern Indiana airport Evansville (EVV) on American Airlines & Piedmont Airlines the indirect way. Will I regret taking this itinerary? Let’s find out in this aa airlines review! 

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Background & Booking:

An opportunity came up to meet up with friends & family in Chicago (ORD). However I had two problems that I need to solve before I could join them:

1) I already had an existing ticket booked on American. I would have to change the ticket.

2) As of August 2023 Evansville (EVV) no longer has direct flights to Chicago (ORD). UPDATE the flight is coming back!

I was dreading changing my ticket as sometimes ticket changes can be annoying and expensive. Thankfully, made it relatively simple to change the ticket. The ticket change cost around $76+. Much to my dismay only gave me connections through CLT .I landed on a routing of Evansville (EVV) — Charlotte (CLT) — Chicago (ORD). I would have preferred another routing which I’ll discuss at the end of this review.

Another option to get my desired connection airport and itinerary, I could have cancelled my ticket and re-book through or for options on other airlines.

Flight Review Routing:

Video Format

Written Report continues

Transport To Airport EVV – CLT

Like most small airports you’ll need a car to get to Evansville Regional Airport (EVV). If your staying by the airport some hotels offer shuttle service, however, public transport options are nearly non-existent


Day of Travel

I got to the airport early as I wanted to watch my inbound arrive. I went straight through security as I didn’t have any checked baggage. While we wait for our plane to arrive let’s talk about EVV.

EVV is a very small airport. Only two legacy airlines American Eagle & Delta Connection serve EVV. Mini regional airlines operate these flights, I’ll explain how regional airlines work in the US in a future post.

Delta Connection flies to Atlanta, sometimes sending a mainline airplane Boeing 717. American Eagle operated by either Envoy or Piedmont serves Dallas- DFW & Charlotte. Allegiant also provides service at EVV with weekly flights to Orlando-Sanford (SFB) & seasonal flights to Destin (VPS).

EVV used to have a lot more flights like EVV — Detroit (DTW) on Delta Connection which was suspended. AA & UA used to serve flights to Chicago (ORD) nonstop. United pulled out in January 2022 & AA suspended the route in March 2022.


Coming back to the present day, as of late August 2023 B1 & A1 gates are closed due to repaving the apron. When B1 & A1 gates are in normal operation; they are used by American & Delta respectively. EVV was going to pave the whole apron but instead decided on paving the gate areas to keep construction costs low. 

As EVV is small no lounge or priority pass partner exists. However, EVV does have one restaurant & a few vending machines airside (past security). 

Pre Flight EVV – CLT

a plane on the runway

The plane taking me to CLT is an E145 made by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. This plane is operated by Piedmont Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines. The plane is configured in a 1–2 configuration in an all economy seating. We will go over the cabin later in the trip report.

a row of seats in an airplane

Flight info EVV – CLT

Airline: American Airlines operated by Piedmont Airlines 

Flight No: AA 5895

Route: EVV – CLT 

Plane: EMB 145 LR 

Registration: N634AE 

Age: 24 years old

a red tag with black text
An American Valet tag for Large Carry on bags. These are picked up planeside at the destination

A drawback of a small regional plane is having to valet check your carryon. Valet check means your carryon goes into the cargo bay of the plane & you claim it at the gate typically instead of the baggage claim. Alternatively, American allows you to complimentary check your bag to your final destination if your connection is tight 

Pushback & Departure EVV – CLT

Boarding began promptly & we departed the gate ahead of schedule on our Piedmont airlines operating for American Eagle flight. The passenger load was light only 25 passengers were onboard. The light load was surprising as usually this route has many more passengers. AA considers the EVV — CLT route to be a top performer among all Midwest routes. 

Scheduled Departure: 3:47 pm

AA/ BTS actual Departure: 3:33 pm

Flight time: 1 hour

All times in local time zone

BTS stands for Bureau of Transportation statistics; their definition is used in most airlines apps in the USA to measure applicable times for airline operations & tracking.

The pilot was great; he gave some details about the flight such as our cruising altitude would be at 35,000 FT & to expect some turbulence. 

As per standard on the ERJ 145 one FA would be looking after us.

We were in the air in no time 

a building with trees in the background
Inflight from EVV

Inflight Service EVV – CLT

Once in the air we encountered turbulence as the pilot had said so the FA announced that there would be limited service instead of the usual service. American usually gives soft drinks, water, and a small snack (Biscoff Cookies or Pretzels)

Image below: American’s limited beverage service

a clear plastic cup with clear liquid in it

We were treated to beautiful views as we got closer to CLT

clouds in the sky

Amenities, Seat & cabin

My favorite part about the ERJ 145 before I discovered what business class seats looked like. Are the throne seats on the ERJ 145. Meaning no one is seated right next to you. The A column in the image below. 

While that was a plus the seat is rather narrow and has tight legroom. As an AAdvantage elite frequent flier I selected an upfront seat for free. For a non elite flier this seat can cost extra. As it’s designated a preferred seat. American charges anywhere from $4 — $139 depending on the route, plane, and demand.

The interior was also rather dated as most American Eagle planes had adjustable headrests and leather.

No in seat power or Wi-Fi on board.


After one hour we touched down on a runway far away from the terminal

As we taxied to the gate the ERJ 145 felt like a race car.

While we were holding for ground crew to get into position I saw two Contour Airline aircraft parked at American Airlines’ gates. Contour Airlines flies mainly on Essential Air Service routes. A likely explanation for why Contour uses American gates is because American partners with Contour to sell flights. Contour Airlines operates as a separate brand from American Eagle. Contour Airlines is not owned by American 

Scheduled Arrival: 6:28 pm

AA/BTS Arrival: 5:58 pm

All times in local time zone

CLT Connection

a sign on a wall
The Club CLT A priority pass lounge that I’ve not been able to access due to overcrowding

Due to personal tasks I was bouncing from lounge to lounge. I decided to stop by the CLUB @ CLT as I’ve never been inside. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to gain entry as there was a 45 min wait to get into the lounge. I find this wait time common with some Priority Pass lounges.

Instead I decided to use the admiral club (AA lounge) and visit both B & D. As I was concentrating on my tasks at hand. I will review those lounges in a future trip report.

Possible Delay Analysis

Now for the nerd part. I hope you learn something from this section, however feel free to skip this part. 

As always I watch my flights like a hawk. My first plane N839NN was planning to fly  MIA – DCA – CLT before taking me on to ORD. However the plane  got stuck in MIA due to a mechanical issue followed by a ground stop in MIA. 

American proactively switched the plane to AUS – CLT it would arrive a bit close to boarding time.

Then something strange happened 

Here’s a fictional scene at American IOC center 

AA dispatch: hmmm AA 815 is going to be delayed due to this late inbound. Let’s switch it to a plane that’s been sitting on the ground for such a long time after coming in late from DTW. It probably doesn’t have anything better to do

AA APP: gate change 

Another explanation is that an American’s  computer system saw a plane sitting at a gate with no flights scheduled so it decided to switch AA 815 to it.

Why am I concerned about this switch?

Not always but sometimes when a plane sits on the ground for a while it’s a strong indicator a delay may occur. More than likely there is something wrong and maintenance  has not fixed it yet. 

Naturally American’s app indicated an ontime departure. From previous flights with American I had a feeling this was not going to happen. 

Before Boarding CLT ORD:

Upon getting to the gate, the infamous boarding shortly brightly blinked before us reminding us that we could expect boarding at any time. 

a screen shot of a computer

After some time had passed, the gate agents announced maintenance had told them the plane is too hot so boarding has been halted.

an airplane parked at an airport

I contacted one of my airline contacts:

Me: If a plane is too hot how long does it take to cool it down?

Airline contact: Pretty fast … I’ve been working on a couple planes with issues with the A/C and it starts throwing ice cold air immediately. 5–10 mins usually

Me: Thanks

A short time later American switched the gate to the plane that came from Austin, TX again… American tends to switch planes & gates as needed. I refer to this switching as musical gates & planes.

I made my way to the new gate. Once I got to the gate the drama wasn’t quite done yet. The agent announced that an FA was missing so we had to wait a bit more to board.

a screen shot of a sign

The FA came a short time later, however, once boarding began it was very chaotic. The following scene played out.

Gate agent: Concierge Key you may now board (AA’s invite only frequent flier tier):

Several passengers lined up and boarded the flight. The GA didn’t bother stopping them. To be fair I suspect that some of them were just tired of being stranded and thus didn’t respect the order. I can’t really blame them and the agent was tired after what I presume to be a long day at CLT.

Soon enough I boarded the plane. I typically have a good upgrade rate, considering this was a hub to hub flight. I was 10 billion on the upgrade list (Not really I was like above 10). On a hub to hub routing like this executive platinum or concierge key typically clear the upgrade list.

Flight Charlotte to Chicago (ORD)

Airline: American Airlines

Flight No: AA 815

Route: Charlotte (CLT) —  Chicago (ORD)

Plane: B737–800

Registration: N879NN

a plane on the tarmac

American’s 737 is configured in the industry standard 3–3. As an elite flier I’m thankful to be able to pick some of the best seats on the plane for free. Especially on a full flight like this one, unlike EVV —  CLT. I went with an exit row as that’s often a safe bet on a 737. The rest of the seats on AA’s 737 I find cramped.

American charges anywhere from $20 — $280 for main cabin extra pricing depends on the route, plane, and demand.

When this flight delayed a ton I thought about switching to the later flight to Chicago. 

However I decided to remain on my originally scheduled one as I figured we would depart shortly

an airplane wing at an airport

I had trouble hearing the pilot when he came over the PA. He mentioned something along the lines of we had to switch planes due to a broken part. 

Flight info 

Flight time: 1 hour 29 mins

Scheduled Departure: 8:32 pm

AA/BTS Departure: 9:12 pm

All times in local time zone

We soon took to the dark skies of CLT. Let’s take the time to discuss what you can expect aboard AA’s 737. 

Amenities, Seat, & Random Wi-Fi pricing

a row of seats on an airplane
The exit row onboard American’s Boeing 737

The 737 comes with more amenities than the ERJ 145 even in economy (main cabin) The seat is a typical American Airlines seat padding isn’t really well cushioned width is ok . Sitting in an exit row of course the legroom is phenomenal. Each seat has an AC power outlet underneath the seat and USB power in the seat back

American streams entertainment through their app, however, you must have downloaded the American Airlines app on your device before the flight. I would have preferred to have PTV (personal seat back TV) over entertainment streamed through the app as I like the bigger screen more than my phone’s screen. 

An instagram favorite Random Wi-Fi pricing:

a screenshot of a phone

In my experience each American Airlines flight has different prices i.e the name Random Wi-Fi Pricing.


The FA on this flight was awesome. She gave me two snacks instead of one. It’s always the little things that count. Can test passed  —  I use this as a service metric to compare different airlines. I don’t ask the FA directly for a can.

a can of soda and a drink on a table

American Airlines FA usually give one snack as part of the main cabin service. In this case however the FA went above and beyond.


The flight flew by before I knew it Chicago downtown passed underneath us and we were at the gate. 

Scheduled Arrival: 9:41 pm

AA/BTS Arrival: 10:06 pm

All times in local time zone

a white airplane on a runway

Upon reaching the gate a few passengers were in a rush to catch their flight to Dublin as this flight was delayed. The FA announced that they would hold the Dublin flight for these connecting passengers and asked everyone to stay seated and make way for them. Passengers were annoyed with the Dublin passengers as they just wanted to get off the plane. Most passengers remained seated though. The Dublin bound passengers screamed in celebration that they made their flight.

a screenshot of a phone

Thinking back to when I was thinking of changing to the later flight. I’m glad I decided to remain on AA 815 flight. As the flight I was thinking about switching to arrived the next morning at 12:42 am.

Would I fly American on this route again?

If there are no other routings or alternatives than yes I’ll take this routing pair again.Otherwise I’d prefer going through Dallas as sometimes you can get a wide body on ORD — DFW. I find the plane (E175) that operates EVV — DFW to be far more comfortable than the E145. Which I could have just rebooked on Expedia or

I do miss the non-stop EVV — ORD route. I’ll be honest though there are times where I prefer the more adventures routing.. In other words the most indirect long way to my destination possible 🙂

Why? I like planes.

I hope you learned and enjoyed this trip report (flight review). Please feel free to leave a comment letting me know how I can improve these in the future.

AA Airlines Reviews Conclusion

I’ve dropped ratings in lieu of a pros and cons list instead. I feel a numerical scale really doesn’t tell you what to expect. As a reader you have no way of knowing what a ‘10’ vs a ‘7’ means. Of course no solution is perfect I will continue to refine metrics relating to reviews. Please feel free to let me know what you’d like to see!

AA Overall

  • The ticket change was done seamlessly.



  • Throne seat
  • Great flight crew 


  • No Wi-Fi
  • No entertainment

Note: limited service did not count against this flight as there was turbulence which was beyond the control of American.



  • Great crew
  • Exit row had plenty of legroom
  • Bonus snack
  • Very quick plane swap
  • Can test passed 


  • Delays
  • Wi-Fi pricing
  • Seat Width & Padding
  • Entertainment through AA app
  • Chaotic boarding 

Note: Delays did count against American due to the extraneous plane swap. Usually weather realted delays do not count as those delays are beyond the control of the airline.


Special thanks to Aerolopa & airline staff!

All videos and photos are my own unless otherwise noted

If you would like permission to use them please contact

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