Regional Jets Get More Fly Time and Hopefully Get Bigger

Regional jets have many disadvantages such as cramped seats, low ceilings, no first class cabins.  We are seeing these jets more and more in the past decade and they have been on longer flights.  Delta and American Airlines are beginning to use larger regional jets.  

Regional Jets, 30-90 seats, have been getting more and more air time in the past ten years.  Travelers find themselves on a smaller plane with less amenities going longer distances.  The average flight distance for these jets have grown over 50% in the past ten years.  Some routes include New York City to Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, Texas to San Francisco.  The Wall Street Journal outlines some characteristics of these smaller planes:

  • Carry-on Bags: most carry-on bags are too small to fit in the overhead compartments.  They have to be checked at the jet-bridge and returned once passengers get off the plane.  I personally like this feature!  I don't have to worry whether or not I will get a space in the overhead bin and it never takes that long to get my baggage once I get off the plane. 
  • Cramped seats: the space between each seat in sometimes an inch shorter than in full-size planes.  Anyone with long legs will find themselves cramped and uncomfortable for the entire flight. 
  • No First Class: some of these jets don't have first-class seats and those that do have limited amenities such as no Wi-Fi, limited food availability, and no extra leg-room. 
  • Shorter Ceilings: this problem effects bathrooms, doorways, and aisles.  Anyone over 6ft tall might have to hunch over to fit in the bathroom, walk through the aisles, and get onto the plane.  The aisles are also narrow so you might see people walking sideways and hunching over.

American Airlines recently reached a deal for larger regional jets.  These planes will have 76-seats and a first class cabin.  Delta Air Lines is also listening to the customer.  They will stop using many 50-seat regional jets and replace them with 70 and 90-seat regional jets with first class cabins and extra legroom.  Hopefully these extra seats also mean the ceilings are higher and the aisles are wider.   

The regional jets are difficult to feel comfortable in but for some they are necessary.  Some places would have less options or no options at all if regional jets were not in service.  I don't mind being on a regional jet if I am going a short distance.  When I used to go to school in Buffalo, NY I was on many regional jets but the flight from NYC was only 45min.  If I had to be on a regional jet for over 2 hr I would be complaining too. 

How do you feel about regional jets?  What problems or benefits do you get from flying on them? 

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