The sobering reality of Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class

The sobering reality of Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class

Trying to come up with a catchy intro for a Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class review is really hard.

There was no food or drinks served, so I can’t tell you how delicious it was. My seat was broken, so telling you that it was comfortable would be a flat out lie.

The flight was delayed 30 minutes, and the turbulence was gnarly times. It wasn’t all that fun if I’m being honest.

See? This isn’t easy!

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Monday, June 5, 2023
Aircraft: Embraer 175
Registration: N304SY
Duration: 23 minutes
Seat: 4A (first class)

Delta Connection E175 (N304SY) side view
Delta Connection E175 (N304SY) side view illustration by
dl4071 flight track
Our route from San Diego to Los Angeles today as DL4071.

My full review of Delta E175 first class from San Diego to Los Angeles

For the record, this wasn’t the first time that I had ever flown on a Delta E175 in first class between SAN and LAX. It’s been a while since I’ve done a review of it though, so I figured it was time for an update. Here we go!

Arrival at the airport

This flight to Los Angeles was scheduled to depart at 6:15 AM, so arriving by the airport by 5 AM and seemed like a good idea. I was there by 5:15.

SANspotter Arriving at terminal 2 San Diego International Airport
Bad news: they don’t pick you up in a BMW (or Porsche) and drive you to the plane when you fly Delta E175 first class. You’re gonna have to hoof it into the terminal under your own power just like everyone else.
Delta check-in counter San Diego International Airport
This blurry pic of the Delta check-in counter tells you everything you need to know about how much effort I took in getting this pic. I already had my boarding pass, so stopping to take pictures would have been a waste of valuable time. 

It’s worth mentioning that the line for TSA pre-check was longer than the regular security line this particular morning. I’ve never seen that happen here in San Diego, and I hope that’s not a sign of things to come. It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

inside of Terminal 2 West San Diego airport
Here’s a pic of the inside of Terminal 2 West (complete with people scrambling out of the way to avoid ending up in one of my stupid airline reviews).
Delta Connection Embraer 175 at SAN
At least I didn’t have to walk very far to reach the gate for my flight up to LAX this morning. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Delta Connection Embraer 175 at SAN!
Delta E175 first class boarding pass
To anyone who is curious to know what it feels like to hold a Delta E175 first class boarding pass: you’re weird.

The boarding process for flight 4071 to Los Angeles

Just when I was thinking that things were going well, the gate agent announced that there was a mechanical issue with the plane. To matters worse, it was so early in the morning that we had to wait another 20 minutes for the maintenance crew show up for duty. Poop.

Gate 35 San Diego International Airport
The delay announcement didn’t phase any of these folks. I admire their optimism!

In the end, they started the boarding process about 30 minutes late. It didn’t matter to me anyway, since I had a 4 hour layover at LAX before my first ever Breeze Airways A220-300 “Nicest” seat experience.

San Diego airport gate 35 jet bridge
Wanna know what’s worse than walking down the jet bridge to board an Embraer 175? Knowing that the plane is defective. Wanna know what’s even worse than that? Knowing that you’re gonna be late. The hits just keep coming…
Delta connection Embraer 175 boarding door
Poor dude almost got scalped just now. Heads up (I mean “down”) – the Embraer 175 boarding door is small!
Delta connection Embraer 175 entryway floor
How many people do you suppose have stood in this exact spot second-guessing their decision to fly Delta Connection? I’d bet anything it’s more than one.

A detailed look at the Delta Connection E175 first class seats

Fun fact: here in San Diego, all of the major airlines contract their regional flights out to Skywest Airlines. That means every E175 flight in and out of San Diego has nearly the same interior. The airline doesn’t matter.

If you’ve read my Alaska Airlines E175 first class review, these seats will look familiar. The same goes for both my United Express E175 first class review and my American Eagle E175 first class review. It’s basically the same experience.

Embraer 175 Delta First Class cabin
Welcome to first class on the Delta Connection Embraer 175! The guy in the flannel green shirt is either puking his guts out (because E175), or he’s trying desperately not to end up in a SANspotter review. Maybe both.
Embraer 175 Delta First Class seat 4A
Seat 4A is mine for the 23 minute flight up to LAX this morning.
Embraer 175 Delta First Class legroom
Good news: the legroom is fantastic (easily on par with what you saw in my review of Delta 717-200 first class).
Embraer 175 Delta First Class seat 4A misaligned window
Bad news: I chose the seat with a misaligned window. ****!
Embraer 175 Delta First Class seatback
Nope. No video screens. At least there will be plenty of padding to protect my delicate head if we end up plowing into the LAX Theme Building at 500mph.
Embraer 175 Delta First Class interior
Even though the front sides of these seats are cladded with Delta colors and textures, it’s kinda hard to tell what airline you’re flying when looking at them from this angle.  
Embraer 175 Delta First Class overhead bins
Also interesting (at least to us nerdy airline types) is the size of the overhead bins in first class compared to economy class. Scoring an upgrade means more than just getting a larger seat!
Embraer 175 Delta First Class seatback pocket
Hmmm. I’m struggling a bit to find anything interesting to say about these seats…
Embraer 175 Delta First Class power outlets
Then, just as I was about to give up, I spotted the full size electrical outlet in the armrest. See? Maybe Delta doesn’t totally hate us after all. 

The departure out of San Diego

I know. It’s really weird to see complete cloud cover in San Diego, but that’s what typically happens in June. We locals call it “June Gloom,” and it was in full effect this particular morning. Let’s just say that it certainly wasn’t the most scenic departure I’ve ever had out of SAN.

Delta connection E175 pushing off gate 35 San Diego airport
Misaligned window or not, you’re darn right that I sacrificed my lower spine to lean forward and get departure pics for the review.
Embraer 175 window view
Thankfully the windows in the Embraer 175 are large enough to see what’s happening outside without putting your neck (and spine) in compromising positions. For those of you who are a little slow, that was a subtle reminder of how poopy the highly competitive CRJ-200 is. 
E175 first class 1-2 seating configuration
FWIW, it’s the 1-2 seating configuration in first class which makes the E175 light years better than the CRJ-200. As a matter of fact, the CRJ-200s don’t even have first class. Neener neener!
Delta connection Embraer 175 takeoff from San Diego airport
FYI, making vacuum cleaner noises with your mouth will make these departure pics all the more interesting. I’m not sure if it’s the E175 that sounds like a Dyson, or if it’s the Dyson that sounds like the E175. But I think you get the idea.
New terminal 1 construction San Diego airport
Here’s a good look at Terminal 1 (with the all new T1 construction in the background). They’re making good progress!
Aerial view of terminal 2 San Diego airport
This is Terminal 2 (both East and West). It looks like our departure date hasn’t been backfilled yet – which is totally understandable considering how toxic Embraer 175 cooties can be.
Aerial view of ocean beach pier after takeoff from San Diego airport
It was also nice to get a look at the Ocean Beach Pier before punching through the thick *** marine layer. No San Diego based airline review is complete without it.
Delta connection E175 first class passengers
I don’t know, but I have a pretty good feeling that the guy over there on the other side is just as perturbed about the misaligned window thing as I am.

In flight entertainment

Sorry. There’s no in-flight entertainment to speak of these Delta Connection E175s (in either economy or first class). They are Wi-Fi enabled though, and they do offer free messaging for all. The only problem is I wasn’t able to connect to it to give it a proper test.

Delta connection Embraer 175 Wi-Fi and free messaging
“Logging in” my ***. Maybe they kept the Wi-Fi off on purpose to prevent people from messaging their friends and telling them about how crappy the Embraer 175 is? Just a thought.

The food

This was admittedly a bad route to review first class on the Delta E175. Total flying time was just 23 minutes, so it’s understandable that there were no drinks or snacks served on this flight.

Complementary water Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class
I suppose I could’ve reached for that little bottle of water wedged between the seat and the sidewall if I was desperate enough.
Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class drinks
I probably would’ve done it if I didn’t bring my own beverage!

Despite the complete lack of service on this flight, you can expect basic drinks and a little bag of snack mix on most routes that these aircraft fly on. San Diego to Los Angeles (and return) is just an anomaly.

Seat comfort

As I hinted at the top of this review, the recline button on my seat wasn’t working properly. It wouldn’t allow my seat back to stand all the way upright, so I was basically stuck in a slightly reclined position for the entire flight. 

Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class seat recline button
This little button had one little job to do, but it failed me. Come on man!

Other than the reclining issue, the seat itself was decently comfortable. Yes, it was narrow and hard, but the legroom was pretty darn good for a little regional jet.

Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class seat recline
Because I have a feeling that some of you are wondering why I consider seat recline to be annoying, this demonstration of how far back the seats actually recline is for you. We’re talking gangsta lean territory!
Delta Connection Embraer 175 first class seat recline space
The good news is that there’s so much legroom in these seats that you won’t even notice if the person in front of you has gone full gangsta lean.

The descent and arrival into LAX

Unfortunately, when June Gloom strikes Southern California, it hits hard. Los Angeles was just as socked in as San Diego was, so there wasn’t all that much to see on the way into runway 25L.

SANspotter selfie Delta connection Embraer 175 first class
One last spine-stretching look out the window in a desperate attempt to soak up as much blue sky as I can before June Gloom returns.
June gloom on approach into LAX
See? I wasn’t foolin’!
Delta connection Embraer 175 approach into LAX
My condolences to those of you who were expecting to see Pamela Anderson running on the beach (in a red swimsuit) at some point during the approach.
Delta connection Embraer 175 runway 25L arrival LAX
Welcome to Los Angeles, where the local time is…
7:47 arrival time
…the best minute of the day (at least for us AvGeeks).
LAX west taxiway
As you can see from our taxi to the north complex, every travel-related TV show and video you’ve ever seen about LA wasn’t telling you the complete truth. It’s not all sunshine and palm trees out here!
Southwest Airlines at LAX
None of that stopped Southwest Airlines from digging in deep here at LAX though. They pretty much dominate all of Terminal 1.
Delta Connection Embraer 175 winglet
I wonder what the punishment is for dragging a winglet down the side of a wall? Being relegated to flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog sh*t out of Hong Kong sounds reasonable I think.
Gate 21B terminal 2 LAX
Either that or that’s how these pilots ended up flying 25-minute hops on little Embraer 175s. Oh well. We made it to gate 21B unscathed.
Delta connection embraer 175 first class seatbelt
Well, that was interesting. I’m not willing to say it was fun, but I will admit that it’s fair to use words such as “amusing” and “satisfactory” as well.
Delta connection embraer 175 first class passengers retrieving luggage from the overhead bin
Judging by how eager this guy is to get off this plane, I’m not so sure that he would use such pleasant words to describe his experience.
Delta connection embraer 175 first class end of flight
And there you have it. I really hope you weren’t expecting anything more exciting than that.

Pros and cons of first class on the Delta E175

The fact that first class even exists at all on these little regional jets is a blessing. It’s certainly not what I would call luxurious, but the extra little bit of leg room makes a world of difference.


  • The 1-2 configuration of the first class cabin is ideal for both solo travelers and couples. As a solo traveler, I love the single seats!
  • Leg room is quite good (just as good as you would get in domestic first class on any other aircraft / airline).
  • There are power outlets out every seat. Woohoo!


  • There is no in-flight entertainment on the E175 (at least at the time of this writing).
  • Even though legroom is good, the seats are quite narrow.

Comments (13)

  1. JCC

    June 14, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      June 14, 2023
  2. Kevin in Louisiana

    June 15, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      June 15, 2023
  3. Peter

    June 15, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      June 15, 2023
      • Peter

        June 19, 2023
  4. Michael

    June 24, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      June 24, 2023
  5. Cara

    March 15, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      March 15, 2024
  6. AvGeek

    April 2, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      April 3, 2024

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