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There was a thread about this in july or august under the United board (set your flyertalk server for WAY back). The summary was that they are far, far better than the prop planes that UA used to fly on routes now served by them (more comfort, *quieter* and faster...best of all they get ABOVE the weather rather than having to fly through it as J31s and 41s do).
But also that they were not as comfortable as even a 737 or a 757 in coach. Complaints included, as I recall, too cramped, claustrophobic feel, narrow aisles and small storage areas.
I have flown on 2 round trip routings (IAD-ATL and IAD-TPA) and they were fine. Not great, not horrible. Fine.
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I have used CO's Embraer 145 Regional Jet and I find it tremendously better than the "rivet rattlers". The 50 seat jet has seating for 1 on the A-side and 2 on the B-C side. I found the seats a little more comfortable on the B-C side. Especially the aisle. Also, the bulkhead seats offer more legroom. The overheads are somewhat small.
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I had the unfortunate experience of flying on a UA to IAD last week. I thought the planes would be nicer. The seats were impossibly narrow (I am "narrow" too) and very uncomfortable. I was lucky enough to be in an exit row so I actually had more leg room than a 727 or 757, but I felt cramped. I personally wasn't impressed.
Thanks guys. I actully have flip through other threads, including the AA one one regional jets before I posted the question. But I believe the Canadair is newer than most regional jets and only used by US Air and America West. So I thought I poke around more to find anyone with recent experience.
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Canadaair RJ's are quite new (only a few years old at most) and are generally used on fairly short routes. IMHO, much better than props, about the same comfort as most narrow-bodies. I prefer RJ's as the 727's/737's I've been on tend to be on the ancient side of things.
ASA and Comair, two of Delta's partners, fly the CRj, also. I fly on them fairly often and pretty concur with the previous comments. There's nothing especially good or bad about them; they are, however, light-years ahead of turboprops AND break down less often (hence more reliable schedules). ASA's ATR turboprops are notorious for mechanical delays & cancellations.
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I find them an acceptable mode of short duration air transport (i.e less than an hour). On Air Canada they seem a bit more cramped than the Dash 8's (less overhead bin space) but they are quiet and very fast. I like them because they are quick to load and quick to go. I haven't flown on a 2 hour flight in one but believe that would be pushing the limits.
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I've flown Comair's several times from Manchester, N.H., to Delta's Cincinnati hub. They make that connection practical--it would be absurd in a turboprop. Versus "real" jets, seats are smaller and don't recline as far. Overhead bins are small, but Comair lets you hand over bags as you board and pick them up when you walk off so you can still avoid baggage claim delays. And, of course, there's no front cabin. All in all, they're OK for this 90-minute flight but wouldn't want to be in one much longer.