Would You Ride the Last Delta CRJ-200 Flight?

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A Delta Connection CRJ-200 regional jet.

Delta continues to plague itself (and passengers) with one phrase: “CRJ-200.”

Notice I worded today’s headline as “Would You Ride…” instead of “Will You Ride…” Because it feels as though Delta will never get rid of Satan’s Chariot. (Which really exemplified its nickname when a CRJ-200 “assaulted” a priest!)

In 2012, ch-aviation reported that SkyWest (a Delta Connection contractor) and Delta “reached an agreement to amend their existing Delta Connection contract allowing Delta to retire its 66 CRJ-100s and CRJ-200s currently operated on its behalf by Skywest either in Delta Connection or Skywest colours. The CRJ-200s will be retired as of (May 2012) with the last of the 66 CRJ-200s to be retired by December 2015.”

Nearly four years later, SkyWest CRJ-200s are still operating Delta Connection flights. (Like this one. And this one. And this one. And another.)

Many #AvGeeks enjoy riding an aircraft model’s final flight with a specific airline. Some even get married during the ride. It’s a bittersweet moment bidding farewell to a plane that hosts so many memories for so many people.

But I personally can’t think of a good memory from a CRJ-200. Can you? If and when Delta finally says “enough!” and retires these birds, would you want to be on the future beer can’s retirement flight?

Why All the CRJ-200 Hate?

For leisure travelers or those who don’t fly often, the Bombardier’s CRJ-200 is the bane of passenger travel.

The seats are tiny.

Leg room on a Delta Connection CRJ-200 regional jet.

Hardly anything bigger than a backpack will fit in the overhead bins cubbies. That means checking your rollaboard as you enplane — and then waiting in a hot or cold jet bridge for it after your flight.

Hot or Cold – your pick!

As René noted, their fuel efficiency is practically nil. And they’re used for so many operations (takeoffs and landings) because they fly so many short routes each day. That wears down on a plane.

Simply put: these 50-seaters are well past any prime they enjoyed.

What About the Bigger CRJ Models?

Don’t get me wrong: I like most Bombardier jets. Let’s not forget the brand-spankin’ new A220 was originally designed by Bombardier; Airbus got involved only when Boeing pitched a hissy fit. (And look how well Boeing’s done since…) The CRJ-700 and CRJ-900 aircraft are comfortable — and include first class seating and real C+ product, as opposed to the CRJ-200. While you’re not exactly flying an A350, the -700 and -900 are far better than their little sibling.

When I worked on The Captains, we rode a beautiful Global Express jet from Van Nuys to Toronto to Luton to Teterboro.

Bombardier makes great airplanes. It’s just, y’know, the CRJ-200 that’s kind of a problem.

Any Logical Reasons Why Delta Must Keep Some CRJ-200s?

To be honest, Delta needs to operate some CRJ-200s for the foreseeable future. Some smaller markets simply might not provide enough business for Delta to use the 69-seat CRJ-700 or Embraer ERJ-170? If Delta thought they could make more money with slightly larger planes, don’t you think they’d have either of the larger birds operating those routes?

Perhaps airport limitations may factor in Delta’s reasoning. Some commercial airports are just plain (no pun intended) small. Runway size and other factors may come into play. But all of the destinations in my examples above have mainline service with at least one airline — and their respective 737s and A320s sure don’t have any problems.

How Would Delta Mark the Occasion?

What would be the final flight? SLC to St. George (SkyWest’s headquarters)?

Maybe Delta would do us a favor and make it SBN to DTW 😉

Seat next to a toilet onboard a Delta Connection CRJ-200 regional jet.

Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure: it’ll be too short to meet Delta’s 250-mile threshold for cabin service!

Like I mentioned in Friday’s post about the Fourth of July themed Delta flight 1776, the mothership throws a great theme party. Whether it’s inaugural flights or Sky Club openings, Delta is great at creating fun celebrations.

What do you think Delta might do when/if they ever retire the CRJ-200?

Maybe Delta would give passengers these Barbie Careers 60th Anniversary Pilot Dolls and Barbie Dreamplane Playset (a nod to the CRJ-200’s “Barbie Jet” moniker)?

I wonder if the plane will receive a water cannon salute?

Meeting about arrival of the first flight with water salute in airport. Airport tradition (Photo: ©iStock.com/Nimdamer)

(Photo: ©iStock.com/Nimdamer)

But the darn things are so tiny that a couple of garden hoses would probably do the job. 😉

Share your ideas with us!

So Would You Make a Special Trip to Ride the Delta’s Last CRJ-200 Flight?

Rene went out of his way (and pocket) to ride the first passenger flights for Delta’s 737-900ER and Airbus A350. Would spend time and money to buy a ticket on Delta’s final CRJ-200 flight? Depending on where the flight departs from and where it arrives, you’d have to spend money on at least one positioning leg. Would you take time off work or other commitments for the “special” occasion?

Tell us in the Comment section below!