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I don’t travel for work much, but when I do, I nearly always opt to fly out of Arcata, California (except for the one stupid time I didn’t). The alternative is driving 3.5 hours to Santa Rosa or driving 5 hours to the Bay area. When flying for leisure, driving that far can sometimes make sense. When flying for work, it almost never makes sense.

So flying out of Arcata it is. I have a love-hate relationship with our tiny airport, as I’m sure other people do if they are stuck with a minuscule regional terminal like I am. Arrival, check-in, and security are a breeze (except when it’s not). I try to arrive with a mere 30 minutes until scheduled departure if I’m not checking a bag. But the delays and cancellations are a plague.

Recently, the experience has gotten a bit better, as United switched to flying three ERJ-175s per day instead of the old CRJ-200s on all but one of the daily departures.

Since I’d booked this as a refundable fare and wanted to actually confirm that it was 100% refundable, I’d done it over the phone (*gasp*). The agent told me she gave me a window seat on every leg, and I went my merry way. I didn’t even bother to check what equipment I was flying. Until yesterday.

Initially, I was super excited when I reviewed my reservation and saw I was in seat 2A on the first leg! Had she upgraded me to first class for no reason? What luck!

Alas, it was a complete letdown when I logged into and realized the equipment was a CRJ-200. It doesn’t even feature first class! Seat 2A was just like any other tiny seat on that tiny plane. Argh.

I’m not against tiny planes, just this one

Let’s face it, I really don’t mind getting on most aircraft, even in cramped economy on a Frontier or RyanAir flight. My most recent trip included travel on a 8-seater (SEE: Boutique Air Flight Review: the closest I’ll ever come to flying private), so, as Yoda would say, size matters not.

But the CRJ-200 is just so…ugh. Tiny seats, the awkward curve of the fuselage cramping your head and shoulders at the window, and the neck-cramp-inducing placement of the windows. It’s all bad. I’m not even especially tall. There is nothing that really redeems the CRJ-200. Many others share my sentiment.

I’d thought I’d seen the last of this plane on the ACV-SFO route. But unfortunately it came back to haunt me. I hope United eventually gets rid of them. Every. Single. One.


You can definitely file this under #firstworldproblems. But I’m still annoyed United changed the equipment up a bit over the holidays on the ACV-SFO route. Can’t you scrounge up another ERJ-175?

What are your least favorite aircraft to fly?

Featured image courtesy of Quentin Soloviev under CC 4.0 license


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