A lot of people would say that AA
is a lot more reliable than Mesa since Mesa does not have a very good reputation and on Anet and in much of the world there is an impression that bigger is better. With AA
you will get an older and likely more professional crew than on Mesa. MD
-80 seating is 2X3 while CR7 seating is 2X2. So you can get a pretty good seat on either plane. The seat pitch is also the same at 31 inches on both planes. The AA
seats on the MD80 are .3 inches wider, so that isn't a very big difference either. As far as noise goes, the CR7 is quieter than the MD80. Not only is engine noise less in the back, but the wind noise in the plane is also reduced. This has a lot to do with the fact that the CR7 design is about 15 years newer than the MD80, so it is a little more modern. As for service, you will get the same on both. Just a drink in economy and something of the pretzel variety.
One big benefit of the CR7 on Mesa is that there won't be big crowds. The plane only has 64 seats which can be nice because boarding is quicker, there are fewer lines, and baggage claim will be less crowded, and the bags will probably show up quicker. One downside to the CR7 though is that it has limited space in the overhead compartments. The ones on the MD80s are a little bit bigger and can hold a full size rollaboard suitcase.
If you want a more spacious cabin and the mainline feel, then take AA
. If you want less crowds and a younger crew take Mesa as United Express. Or if cost allows you to take an MD80 one way and a CR7 the other way and write us a trip report critiquing both and telling us which is better. Personally I would probably go with United Express since I am a loyal UA
flyer and don't mind the smaller cabin and prefer fewer crowds.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!