Have you ever had to leave your carry-on on the ramp to the plane and check it in because the flight attendants informed you it won’t fit in the tiny overhead bin on a regional jet?

These sorts of problems may be in the process of being phased out as the U.S. airline industry transitions to larger regional jets — with bulked up overhead bin space.

A new era dawned for American Eagle airlines today as it began offering service in larger regional jets, 76-seat Embraer E-175s, instead of smaller regional jets and mainline aircraft in certain markets.

The aircraft will have American Eagle livery and be operated by Republic Airways, with the first flight departing from Chicago O’Hare enroute to Albuquerque International Sunport, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, and Pittsburgh International Airport.

American Eagle parent American Airlines says the move to larger regional jets, which will have full-size overhead bins for carry-ons, is part of a 12-year capacity purchase agreement it signed with Republic Airways Holdings.

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“In addition to strengthening our longstanding partnership with Republic Airways, this is a strong step forward in the diversification of our fleet and an important enhancement from one of our key hubs,” says Chuck Schubert, American’s vice president, network planning. “It’s also great news for our customers, who will now have even more flight choices and opportunities to travel in the First Class cabin.”

The introduction of the Embraer E-175 is part of an industry trend toward larger regional jets, and in addition to the efficiences they’ll offer, these aircraft will provide enhanced ancillary revenue opportunities for American.

American’s E-175s come with a two-class configuration, including 12 First Class seats and 64 seats in the main cabin. Tickets for 20 of the seats in the main cabin will be sold as Main Cabin Extra seats for an additional fee.

American plans to have 47 E-175 aircraft in service by the first quarter of 2015 as it introduces two to three aircraft per month.

American will be phasing out smaller regional jets, including ATRs and E-135s.

Tags: regional
Photo Credit: American Airlines begins large regional jet flying with Embraer E-175 aircraft. American Airlines