I have been complaining for years to Delta about the lack of any “real” jet service out of my home town airport South Bend or SBN. One person, who no longer works for Delta, joked with me to only fly on Notre Dame football weekends with Delta and I could then always fly mainline jets. I did not think that was very funny at all. 🙁
Delta at one point, with their connection partners, upgraded SBN to CRJ700 and CRJ900 service and I spent 50,000 SkyMiles to fly in 1A on the first such flight. But that service was short lived. So again, for years to Atlanta, Minneapolis and Detroit it has been up 1-2 hour flights on CRJ200s. Not much fun. These are old, beat up and just horrid jets to fly on. The 1st row Comfort Plus is an insulting joke.
But should we actually be afraid to fly these due the age of the aircraft and the fact they are not flown by Delta Corp themselves? Notice what happened last night to FlyerTalk user “gypsycsc”, who in his (or her) bio says is from South Bend, on Delta connection flight 4734 from DTW to SBN:
“Experienced my first emergency landing. Loud noise coming from the rear of the plane and the pilot announced we were returning to DTW and the flight attendant would brief us on emergency landing procedures. She went through all the instructions, told us how to brace, instructed those of us in the emergency exit row, asked for any military or law enforcement personnel. Never explained the problem, but I believe it was a landing gear issue. The loud noise continued throughout the return to DTW. Plane was met by a number of fire trucks and ambulances. Fortunately, landing gear worked, and all was good. Deplaned, eventually got another plane and pushed back, only to sit on the runway a while and be told there was a mechanical problem. Returned to gate, deplaned, eventually got another plane and pushed back, only to be told there was another mechanical problem and we had to return to the gate. This time they were able to fix it, we pushed back again, fourth time was a charm, and we made it to South Bend. Upon reaching home I already have an email from Delta apologizing for the delay and saying I have received 10,000 miles. I’m simultaneously amused and insulted. I was not going to ask for anything as I’m grateful to be alive, and don’t feel miles in my account can make up for what we went through. The emergency landing was truly frightening, followed by mechanical problems on the two other planes they tried putting us on. But seriously, Delta, if you’re going to make a good will gesture, please don’t insult us by throwing us 10,000 miles.” – gypsycsc on Flyertalk.com
Yikes. Double yikes. Even 4x yikes! I have never been through an emergency landing but have experienced any number of go-around (not at all the same thing, I know). But I have to tell you I am always a little bit concerned every time I get on a CRJ200 knowing how many cycles each of these old jets complete in their lifetime of flying.
I also agree with the Flyertalker that 10,000 SkyMiles was a ridiculous offer. Either just apologize sincerely and offer no points or if you do offer SkyMiles make it much more in a situation as bad as this Delta!
Clearly, the regional carriers must be doing a decent job of maintenance since they keep flying them day after day so maybe I should not be concerned at all.
But that brings me to you, dear reader. Are you ever worried to fly a CRJ200? Does it make any difference to you that you are flying an older Delta mainline jet vs. a non-Delta (but painted to look Delta) regional connection partner? Let me know in the comments below! – René