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Even though I make an attempt to keep my av-geekinees contained, I often cannot help myself. Last week a couple coworkers and I were lamenting the experience of flying regional jets. Since one is from the central valley of California, I dug into my box of useless trivia and unearthed the fact that United operates a nonstop flight between Chicago and Fresno, a distance of over 1,700 miles. Using? Yep. A regional jet.
I’d been curious when I first saw the route being added, per the map the back of United’s in-flight magazine. It intrigued me enough to look it up, and my jaw dropped when I saw it was being operated by an ERJ-175.
The only redeeming factor of such a trip is that it was on the one regional jet I actually like flying (SEE: 3 reasons why the ERJ-175 is my favorite non-wide-body jet). But that’s still a ridiculously long way to go in a tiny plane. First class is awesome on the ERJ, specifically the window/aisle seats where you don’t have anyone next to you.
When I went looking for the flight on Google Flights last week, it wasn’t there. I eventually figured out that the service ended in August. Maybe United will fly it seasonally? I don’t know. Maybe there weren’t many people who wanted to fly that far in an ERJ.
There are others, and they’re worse
United actually has other regional jet routes that are about the same length. The longest is San Francisco to Madison, Wisconsin, which clocks in a little under 1,800 miles. It is also operated by an ERJ-175.
Turns out United isn’t the only carrier to fly long routes with regional jets. Air Canada operates one between Calgary and Houston with a CRJ-900. That one might be a hard pass. Even a CRJ-900 isn’t as nice of a ride as an ERJ-175.
Would you fly nearly 1,800 miles in a regional jet?
Route map images courtesy of Karl L. Swartz and Great Circle Mapper.