Reasons to hate RJs

 
Old Feb 16, 04, 3:00 pm
  #1  
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Reasons to hate RJs

DL is now flying regional jets into 97 of the 245 cities it serves and is the largest US regional jet carrier.

Reasons to hate RJs from the passenger/frequent flyer perspective:
- No chance at an upgrade. DL can now give unlimited upgrades to make Medallion members think that the program is improved, but with RJ service into 40% of its market (soon to be over half), the unlimited upgrades that DL started this year are useless and are a major hoax foisted on its most loyal customers (we'll give you unlimited upgrades, of course you can't use them because most of our aircraft, i.e. RJs, have only one cabin.
- Seating discomfort. It is torture flying in one of these planes. The bottom seat cushion is about a 1/2 inch piece of foam rubber on top of metal. And as with most other DL coach seating, the pitch is miserable.
- RJs are much noisier than mainline jet aircraft, sound as loud as 90 dB is routinely found in the cabin of RJs. Unions for AA flight attendants have raised this issue with American Eagle.
- No overhead bin space, must put "carryon" luggage in the back. Not only does this restrict what you can have in the cabin with you, but also leads to delays while waiting for "carryon" baggage to be unloaded
- Less experienced pilots. Certainly one of the reasons why airlines like RJs, they pay these folks less, but as the proliferation of these aircraft continues, I believe that it will lead to significant safety concerns.
- Low ceilings. Even those of average height can't stand straight in most of these aircraft. I am 5'10" and my head touches the ceiling of the Embraer 145. Continental restricts flight attendants on RJs to no taller than 5'9".
- In many airports, must climb stairs and walk outside on the tarmac to board these aircraft. An inconvenience to most of us, a major impetiment to the handicapped and ill.

Certainly many of the majors are making moves toward RJ rather than larger jet service; none more than DL. I suppose if all the carriers are flying RJs to a given destination and there is no choice, then there's no choice. But I will always choose to avoid a RJ is there is a choice, even if that means I have to fly cattle car Southwest over a cramped, cattle car DL RJ.
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Old Feb 16, 04, 3:31 pm
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At the time of this post (4:30 PM EST on Monday Feb 16) there are currently 403 aircraft in the skies in the service of Delta. Statistics courtesy of Flight Explorer. Of the 403, 170 are regional jets.

This means that about 42 percent of the available lift is on this kind of equipment.

I'll tell you what 3 million miles has taught me about these things. It's not the cramped space but the third parties that fly them.

None of these people (and I'll name names, Comair, ASA, SkyWest, Chataqua, and Atlantic Coast) seem to take owership of delays or seem to respect that many of us here have flown Delta metal for years.

I strongly resent that these third parties have been handed the business out of Knoxville and they did not have to compete for it.

With that in mind, I leave now for two RJs tonight to CVG and on to MSN. I don't mind them on routes like this.

But there is too much dependence on third parties.

Everybody take good care

Jerry

------------------
"Burnin' out his fuse up here alone"
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Old Feb 16, 04, 3:33 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">- Seating discomfort. It is torture flying in one of these planes. The bottom seat cushion is about a 1/2 inch piece of foam rubber on top of metal. And as with most other DL coach seating, the pitch is miserable.
</font>
I actually find the seats of the CRJ-700 to be quite comfortable. If only my knees didn't hit the seat in front of me...

The CRJ-700 cabin is slightly larger and feels more spacious then the smaller CRJ.
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Old Feb 16, 04, 8:04 pm
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The exit row of the CRJ70 has much more leg room than any other row on the plane. This is not true of the CRJ50 or CRJ40.
The only way that I feel comfortable in a CRJ is if I have an empty seat next to me. I like CRJs for the fact that they give me more service to smaller markets. On routes that Delta serves with a mix of RJs and mainline equipment, I will go out of my way to take the mainline. I like to upgrade. I have even connected mainline to mainline in ATL to avoid a non-stop CRJ from my home base of CVG.
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Old Feb 16, 04, 8:51 pm
  #5  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FlyingDoc:

- Less experienced pilots. Certainly one of the reasons why airlines like RJs, they pay these folks less, but as the proliferation of these aircraft continues, I believe that it will lead to significant safety concerns.
</font>
Such insight! Where's Scary Mary when we need her?!!!
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Old Feb 16, 04, 9:17 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JS:
Such insight! Where's Scary Mary when we need her?!!!</font>
There is real evidence to back up my contention that experience is important in such technically demanding professions. I'm certainly not a pilot, but I am a physician and in my profession, there's strong evidence that experience is really important in patient safety. There are now multiple studies in the medical literature showing that the death rate in hospitals that do a large number of coronary bypass operations is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than in hospitals that perform fewer operations. There is an outpatient surgery clinic in Canada that only does hernia operations, but they do many thousands a year. Their complication rate is much, much lower than others.

When a human is performing a technically demanding procedure, like performing heart surgery or landing a jet aircraft in stormy weather, you don't want a novice doing it for you. Experience does count in these things. My point is really that just in the last 3 years, major airlines, particularly DL, have substantially moved to these commuter flights which are usually piloted by those with less experience. Now, about 40% of DL flights are operated by these commuter companies whose pilots generally have less experience. That's a big move toward less experienced pilots and I think it is a safety issue. That's all.
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Old Feb 16, 04, 9:34 pm
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I'm not a fan of RJs either, but today from MLB to ATL I had an average size person sitting next to me instead of a big guy, and it made a big difference. We took off early (on ASA no less), and were supposed to land early but had to go into a holding pattern for about an hour before landing. ATL had some clouds, why we were delayed is beyond me. And then of course, we had to wait about 1/2 hour for a gate. Instead of being early, we were 45 minutes late. But, to sum it all up for me, the size of the person next to you makes or breaks the flight.
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Old Feb 16, 04, 9:50 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FlyingDoc:
There is real evidence to back up my contention that experience is important in such technically demanding professions. I'm certainly not a pilot, but I am a physician and in my profession, there's strong evidence that experience is really important in patient safety. There are now multiple studies in the medical literature showing that the death rate in hospitals that do a large number of coronary bypass operations is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than in hospitals that perform fewer operations. There is an outpatient surgery clinic in Canada that only does hernia operations, but they do many thousands a year. Their complication rate is much, much lower than others.

When a human is performing a technically demanding procedure, like performing heart surgery or landing a jet aircraft in stormy weather, you don't want a novice doing it for you. Experience does count in these things. My point is really that just in the last 3 years, major airlines, particularly DL, have substantially moved to these commuter flights which are usually piloted by those with less experience. Now, about 40% of DL flights are operated by these commuter companies whose pilots generally have less experience. That's a big move toward less experienced pilots and I think it is a safety issue. That's all.
</font>
Your analogy would be relevant if there were airline pilots who were flying every couple of years rather than a few times a week.
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Old Feb 16, 04, 10:25 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FlyingDoc:
There is real evidence to back up my contention that experience is important in such technically demanding professions. </font>
FlyingDoc....absolutely correct! And for anecdotal evidence, I suggest folks check out this site and read a fascinating story of how an experienced crew of pilots saved an airliner twenty years ago and all aboard survived a four engine flameout... : http://www.ericmoody.com/
Youíll need Adobe Reader to view this four part .pdf file.

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Old Feb 16, 04, 10:26 pm
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In regards to safety, has there ever been a fatal inncident with an RJ?

While they've only been flying for a decade, the safety record seems good.
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Old Feb 16, 04, 10:35 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by sxf24:
In regards to safety, has there ever been a fatal inncident with an RJ?

While they've only been flying for a decade, the safety record seems good.
</font>
Iím not aware of any and, in fact, I realize that air travel....evn in the dreaded RJ....is infinitely safer than almost anything else in life you can do.
But I donít want to push the odds and all things being equal, give me the jut-jawed, steely-eyed, grey-haired DL mainline pilot.

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Old Feb 16, 04, 10:47 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Cholula:
Iím not aware of any and, in fact, I realize that air travel....evn in the dreaded RJ....is infinitely safer than almost anything else in life you can do.
But I donít want to push the odds and all things being equal, give me the jut-jawed, steely-eyed, grey-haired DL mainline pilot.

</font>
One need not be an expert in demography to realize that you cannot produce more elderly Delta mainline pilots in a short period of time (yeah, I know, some are furloughed, but there are A LOT of regional jets out there). You have to wait about 40 years, and by then you might not be around to fly on their planes.
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Old Feb 16, 04, 11:49 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FlyingDoc:

- Less experienced pilots. Certainly one of the reasons why airlines like RJs, they pay these folks less, but as the proliferation of these aircraft continues, I believe that it will lead to significant safety concerns.
</font>
This is really a faulty point... As RJ operations grow at the expense of mainline, the time required for a pilot to move up from regionals to majors also increases. The senior pilots at the regionals aren't really any less experienced, in the grand scheme of things, than the junior pilots at the majors. "As the proliferation of these aircraft continues," the major carriers will have fewer job openings, so they will higher fewer pilots, and pilots will accrue more seniority at the regional carriers flying RJs. At least a Comair captain has been flying RJs for a while before he becomes captain... it's entirely conceivable that a Delta pilot can step into the cockpit of a particular model as a captain even having never flown it before.
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Old Feb 17, 04, 1:09 am
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The statistics speak for themselves..

These come from the NTSB database and include only flights conducted by airlines operating under FAR Part 121..

First delivery of the CRJ: 1992
Number of fatal CRJ accidents: 0

First delivery of the ERJ: 1996
Number of fatal ERJ accidents: 0
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Old Feb 17, 04, 3:27 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JS:
Your analogy would be relevant if there were airline pilots who were flying every couple of years rather than a few times a week.</font>
You don't think that a pilot with 20,000 hours has more experience than a pilot with 250 or 500 hours? I think that the analogy is quite clear, at least in the medical literature, more experience equals better patient safety; less experience equals less patient safety, more complications, and more deaths. If you do lots of coronary bypass operations (i.e. have more experience, have more "hours of surgery experience", like hours of flying time for a pilot), you'll be better at it than someone who hasn't done many. Really pretty common sense, but it's also been scientifically studied and proven.

I understand that even a pilot or a physician with many years of experience can make a fatal mistake. The AA1420 crash in LIT in 1999 had one of the most experienced pilots at AA as the flying pilot. He made a mistake, didn't arm the spoilers, and tried to land the aircraft in a thunderstorm (all according to the NTSB final report). The first officer that night had only about 250 MD-80 hours; would a more experienced first officer have made sure that the spoilers were armed? Don't know, but maybe.

My point is simply that if I was choosing, I'd pick a pilot with more experience rather than less, just as I'd pick a seasoned heart surgeon rather than one who has only done a few heart bypasses. But, that's the great thing about liberty and free enterprise; everyone can choose for themselves!! Those who like RJs can fly them and those of us who don't can fly larger, mainline aircraft. (Unfortunately, this choice increasingly means that I will choose another airline instead of DL in spite of several years of Medallion status on DL.) And my primary objections to a RJ as a passenger relate more to lack of comfort, the third party companies that fly them, the hassle of "carryon" luggage, etc more than the pilots.

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