Black Holes

I still open the refrigerator or pantry door and forget exactly why I’m there. It’s like a 2-minute black hole.

The CRJ-200

I’ve been on a Bombardier CRJ-200 over 100 times. Let me tell you what it’s like to be a passenger:

…this means we can fly for another airline at any time.

First, the good news; you won’t have to fight for overhead space. So boarding later isn’t a punishment for having a life beyond becoming an airport hobo. That’s because the overhead bins can’t fit anything larger than a duffel bag, laptop bag, or backpack. Most carry-on luggage won’t fit (there’s a few bags sculpted for it) in the CRJ-200’s overhead bins. You have to “gate check” the luggage beforehand, and either put in on a rack before boarding, or leave it at the end of the jet bridge for an attendant to chuck it on. I will say that I’ve seen the baggage loaders seem to take a bit more care with this luggage rather than traditional full-sized luggage.

This is a step up from emptying the lav systems, but I don’t know the chain of command.

I’m 5’10”, and have to duck when boarding. You’ll be surprised to know that even aircraft-grade aluminum doesn’t give very much when you strike it with the toughest bone in your body. After that, the sole flight attendant will warn you about the low clearance. Then there’s aforementioned luggage bins, better duck around those too. Walking inside the Bombardier CRJ-200 is a lot like being inside an elongated egg chair, but with far less privacy. This also makes finding your seat a little tricky, because the seat numbers don’t seem to match up. There’s the possibility of a conga line dance during the boarding process, as most people accidentally sit in the wrong row, and may swap.

The seats are narrow, and padding is minimal. They’re tolerable for a 45-miute flight, but uncomfortable as the clock runs towards two-hour flights. I enjoy a window seat, but the interior curvature intrudes into the footwell and pokes to your shoulder or the side of your head. The window is misaligned, placed about 6-12″ lower than any adult can look out of it, without putting their head between their legs. So I recommend you pick an aisle seat, unless you’re Elastigirl or a narrow-body human. Your seat will not recline very far; just enough that the passenger in front of you who also wishes to recline their seat will likely make your desired laptop usage extremely difficult. Use a phone, tablet, netbook (remember those? this is where they come in spades) or read a book instead. Try not to bang you knee into the seat hinge in front of you.

When you walked down the jet-bridge or looked at the in-flight magazine, you saw crystal clear images of gentle colors and a spacious, airy design. The perfect marriage of mechanized flight and heavenly comfort! You’ll be entertained, fed sumptuous meals, click on the Wi-Fi, get some work completed in silence, sleep like a gentle child, and wake up refreshed. None of that applies here, because it doesn’t exist in this regional jet. The interior will be worn out, and look as if it hadn’t been cleaned in a month. The musty smell of decaying plastics and worn pleather await you. What surprises will you find in the seat pocket (you have a seat pocket, right?) and there’s the comforting thought that the well-worn seatbelt must function properly as per some FAA regulation.

The interior will rattle as a 20 year-old car on takeoff, the intermittent reading light won’t click on, and the A/C condensation will drip right onto your laptop. If you treated yourself to the last row to the plane, you probably found your seat won’t recline, it’s close to the lavatory that hasn’t quite grown up to be an adult airplane restroom, and is close to the whine of a GE CF34 engine. Thankfully, it’s not loud nor very high-pitched (take that, Super-80s!) so it’s merely an annoyance. That window shade may take Herculean strength to open and close, or may not stay open. Sometimes the window is merely distorted, other times, it served as a cutting board in a previous life. If you’re lucky, the view won’t look like this:

Ginsu Knives have lifetime warranties.

Then there’s the temperature controls. Your feet and bag will freeze no matter what time of year, because the only apparent A/C setting is the one which keeps ice cream solid. (Note: they do not serve ice cream on regional flights.) The air vents above you may or may not work. On a hot summer’s day, expect them to blow as a house cat might sneeze. The condensation is amusing during the boarding; watch for at least one passenger to re-read the passenger safety information card when this happens:

Africa on top, Antarctica on the bottom. Just like nature intended.

You know what they say: Turbulence Happens. Just as rough weather invokes a Small Craft Advisory, a small aircraft is prone to performing all sorts of sudden dance moves. The flight attendant will come by with their tiny cart, if the flight isn’t too short to permit service. Hopefully your tray table will lower evenly, the coffee maker will operate, and they have running water. Don’t think about the cleanliness of the tray table. Or that you paid as much (or more) than passengers in a competitive airfare market for this flight. Or that it was operated by a regional carrier in contract with the airline, so good luck suing anyone with cash reserves should things get really pear-shaped.

But after you’ve enjoyed your hopefully short flight and maybe even a beverage, it’s probably time to land. Like many regional jets, landings are rarely smooth in the CRJ-200. Imagine accidentally running over a speed bump you couldn’t see, and the amplified sound of stepping on a box of graham crackers, and you’ve got the idea. Watch your head when you get up from your seat. Is there even a jet bridge? …if so, watch your step. If you had gate-checked luggage, wait to the side of the jet bridge where the tagged luggage appears. Usually, an orderly line forms, and then the last half-dozen disembarkers block everything because they have no idea what is going on. It’s okay…your luggage will be last. If you have a connecting flight to a larger city than where you came from, you may have to trot to your gate. Apparently, CRJ-200s and Boeing 737s growl at each other all day, and have to be separated.

Don’t worry, it’s not like you have to take the same aircraft home. I mean, you’ll get the same type of aircraft, but there’s only a 1-in-60 chance you’ll wind up in the exact airplane. Hopefully, it will be running on time (did I mention the regionals have the worst on-time ratios?) and maybe even cleaner than a nightclub. So the Bombardier CRJ-200 might be the best reason to rent a car and drive to your destination (or larger airport). Unless time is of utmost importance, or you’re getting a sweet deal to fly from home, try something else to fly in.

Visited Airports List


  1. BNA – Nashville International Airport
  2. BWI – Baltimore-Washington International Airport
  3. FLL – Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport
  4. BOS – Boston Logan International Airport
  5. EWR – Newark Liberty International Airport
  6. MIA – Miami International Airport
  7. ATL – Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
  8. BCN – Barcelona El Prat Airport (Spain)
  9. MAD – Madrid-Barajas Airport (Spain)
  10. DAB – Daytona Beach International Airport
  11. SJC – San Jose International Airport
  12. SEA – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  13. LAS – Las Vegas McCarrom Airport
  14. DAL – Dallas Love Field
  15. HOU – Houston Hobby Airport
  16. OAK – Oakland International Airport
  17. PBI – Palm Beach International Airport
  18. ORD – Chicago O’Hare International Airport
  19. DTW – Detroit-Wayne County International Airport
  20. CSG – Columbus Regional (Georgia)
  21. DFW – Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
  22. SAT – San Antonio International Airport
  23. TYS – Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport
  24. MEM – Memphis International Airport
  25. MCO – Orlando International Airport
  26. RDU – Raleigh/Durham International
  27. CLT – Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  28. GSO – Greensboro/Piedmont-Triad International Airport
  29. CMH – Port Columbus International
  30. LAX – Los Angeles International
  31. XNA – Northwest Arkansas Regional
  32. MBS – Saginaw-Bay City International
  33. PHX – Phoenix Sky Harbor International
  34. SAN – San Diego International
  35. CVG – Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International
  36. CID – Eastern Iowa Regional Airport
  37. MSP – Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  38. MCI – Kansas City International Airport
  39. IAH – Houston George Bush Intercontinental
  40. CLE – Cleveland Hopkins International
  41. HTS – Huntington Tri-State Airport
  42. EVV – Evansville Regional Airport
  43. FAY – Fayetteville Regional Airport
  44. CAE – Columbia Metropolitan Airport
  45. LIT – Little Rock/Clinton National Airport
  46. BRO – Brownsville International Airport
  47. ABY – Southwest Georgia Regional Airport
  48. GSP – Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
  49. AZO – Kalamazoo International Airport
  50. SMF – Sacramento International Airport
  51. ALB – Albany International Airport
  52. BTR – Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport
  53. SFO – San Francisco International Airport
  54. THL – Tallahassee Regional Airport
  55. PIT – Pittsburgh International Airport
  56. MSY – Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
  57. IAD – Dulles Washington International Airport
  58. STL – Lambert St. Louis International Airport
  59. LGA – New York La Guardia International Airport
  60. BGR – Bangor International Airport
  61. PWM – Portland International Jetport
  62. PHL – Philadelphia International Airport
  63. DCA – Reagan Washington International Airport
  64. JFK – John F. Kennedy International Airport
  65. CAK – Akron-Canton Regional Airport
  66. MDW – Chicago Midway International Airport
  67. BHM – Birmingham Shuttleworth International Airport
  68. SDF – Louisville International Airport
  69. CHO – Charlottesville Albemarle Airport
  70. HPN – Westchester County Airport
  71. MGM – Montgomery Regional Airport
  72. HSV – Huntsville International Airport
  73. OKC – Will Rogers World Airport
  74. DEN – Denver International Airport
  75. GNV – Gainesville Regional Airport
  76. OAJ – Jacksonville (NC) Albert J. Ellis Airport
  77. MKE – Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport
  78. MLB – Melbourne (FL) International Airport
  79. AUS – Austin Bergstrom International Airport
  80. FWA – Fort Wayne International Airport
  81. PVD – T.F. Green (Providence) State Airport
  82. DSM – Des Moines International Airport
  83. ORF – Norfolk International Airport
  84. PHF – Newport News/Williamsburg Regional Airport
  85. ELP – El Paso International Airport
  86. GRR – Grand Rapids International Airport
  87. RSW – Southwest Florida International Airport
  88. AEX – Alexandria Regional Airport
  89. SLC – Salt Lake City International Airport
  90. SNA – John Wayne (Orange County) Airport
  91. CRP – Corpus Christi International Airport
  92. SHV – Shreveport Regional Airport
  93. GPT – Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport
  94. BMI – Central Illinois Regional Airport
  95. BDL – Bradley International Airport
  96. ECP – Panama City / NW Florida Beaches International Airport
  97. VPS – Fort Walton / Northwest Florida Regional Airport
  98. CLL – College Station / Easterwood Airport
  99. POS – Piarco International Airport (Trinidad & Tobago)
  100. LFT – Lafayette Regional Airport
  101. SYR – Syracuse Hancock International
  102. YYZ – Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport
  103. YMM – Fort McMurray International Airport
  104. YEG – Edmonton International Airport
  105. ABE – Allentown Lehigh Valley Regional Airport
  106. GRK – Killeen Fort Hood Regional Airport
  107. BTV – Burlington International Airport
  108. CHS – Charleston (SC) International Airport
  109. STS – Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport
  110. JAN – Jackson–Medgar Evars International Airport
  111. AVL – Asheville Regional Airport
  112. SRQ – Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport
  113. PSC – Pasco Tri-Cities Airport
  114. GGG – Longview East Texas Regional Airport
  115. TYR – Tyler Pounds Regional Airport
  116. MDT – Harrisburg International Airport
  117. PIA – Peoria General Downing International Airport
  118. MLI – Quad Cities International Airport
  119. PDX – Portland (OR) International Airport
  120. MSN – Madison Dane County Regional Airport
  121. VLD – Valdosta Regional Airport
  122. MAF – Midland International Air & Space Port
  123. ICT – Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport
  124. AVP – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
  125. RIC – Richmond International Airport
  126. JAX – Jacksonville International Airport
  127. IND – Indianapolis International Airport
  128. SBN – South Bend Regional Airport
  129. ABQ – Albuquerque International Sunport
  130. CRW – Charleston (WV) Yeager Airport
  131. ROA – Roanoke Regional Airport
  132. YVR – Vancouver International Airport
  133. LGB – Long Beach Airport
  134. MHT – Manchester-Boston Regional Airport
  135. TUL – Tulsa International Airport
  136. SGF – Springfield-Branson National Airport
  137. BQK – Brunswick Golden Isles Airport
  138. TPA – Tampa International Airport
  139. MOB – Mobile Regional Airport
  140. BUF – Buffalo Niagara International Airport
  141. PNS – Pensacola International Airport
  142. FAR – Fargo Hector International Airport
  143. DAY – Dayton International Airport
  144. LEX – Lexington Blue Grass Airport
  145. YYC – Calgary International Airport
  146. ERI – Erie International Airport
  147. EYW – Key West International Airport
  148. SWF – Stewart International Airport
  149. MYR – Myrtle Beach International Airport
  150. ILM – Wilmington (NC) International Airport
  151. EWN – Coastal Carolina Regional Airport