Flying never gets old for me. It doesn’t matter if it is a 12-hour trek across the Pacific in economy (ok, actually that does, at least in the moment) or a 17-minute hop between Santa Rosa and San Francisco. It’s still a thrill more than something I dread. But that is not to say I haven’t started playing favorites with both airlines and aircraft.
If I’ve logged all my flight information correctly into OpenFlights, I’ve flown a total of 31 different aircraft types. Sound like a lot? It’s not quite the variety it sounds like. In most cases I’ve tracked variants (i.e. Boeing 737-700 vs. Boeing 737-800 vs. Boeing 737-900), but I’ve not done this across the board. In some cases, the information wasn’t readily available, and I had no clue two years later whether I flew a 757-200 or a 757-300 on a particular trip. So I decided not to care.
Over time, I realized how much I look forward to flying certain aircraft, and how little I do to flying others. Today I wanted to share my five least favorite aircraft that I’ve flown.
The Worst: CRJ-200
I’ve already expressed every bit of my distaste for the CRJ-200. It’s the worst. The very worst. There is no aircraft I dislike more. Even the smaller aircraft I’ve flown are better, at least in terms of novelty. My single segment on a Saab 340 to Portland was quite enjoyable. Same for the couple hops I made on the old Embraer 120 (Brasilia) and our round-trip on a Pilatus PC-12. That last one was probably the closest I’ll ever come to flying private.
See…I’ve already distracted myself from horrible CRJ-200.
The CRJ-200 is the worst of the bunch, but its siblings are only marginally better. The aircraft are basically the same. Tiny, cramped, and with little overhead bin space. At least you can hope for an upgrade with the CRJ-700 and CRJ-900.
Except that has never happened for me. Now the Embraer E175, that’s a nice regional jet with a phenomenal chance of an upgrade. I would also give United’s new CRJ-550 a chance, with the vain hope I’d end up in the front of the cabin. They just aren’t on any routes out west yet.
The only saving grace of the CRJ-200/700/900 is that I’m often traveling with just one of my kids, which means we have a pair of seats to ourselves.
There. I’ve probably made many av-geeks clutch their pearls. The Boeing 767 is a commercial success, especially including its military and cargo sales, and it’s a fine wide-body jetliner. It was also a major milestone for twin-jet aircraft.
But now it’s old. Even the CEO of American agrees. The Boeing 767 leaves so much to be desired in terms of passenger experience these days. My last two 767 flights haven’t been all that great, and the second was even in business class! Compared to other wide-body aircraft, it is less spacious. It also lacks some of the modern passenger-friendly changes, such as improved pressurization and humidity of the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.
My nose bleeds every time on the 767, which I attribute to the dry air. When you’re 11 hours into a flight to Beijing on one of these, the only I place I want is off that plane. The near-100% load factor on that flight didn’t help, either.
People may look at the MD-88 as an “oldie but goodie”, but I’m not one of them. Any novelty the aircraft had when I first flew it has completely worn off. Folks have been flying these for years. Years. Living on the West Coast and flying SkyWest regional more than anything, I didn’t set foot on a Mad Dog until 2017. Sitting in the back of one early in the morning on my way to Atlanta, all I could think was, “man, this thing is loud.”
At this point, let’s retire them all. I’m sure Delta plans to replace them with a whole fleet of A220s. They are the most crap of Delta’s crap airplanes.
What? The most successful passenger aircraft ever is on the list of least favorites? Yes. The Boeing 737 is so mundane now, it’s not even funny. It’s my most-flown aircraft by a long shot (54+ segments), and I expect it to continue to be. The switch-up on my most recent cross-country trek to a 757 was actually quite nice.
I don’t mind flying the 737, not at all. It’s just not exciting any more.
There are a few common commercial aircraft I have not yet flown, including the Airbus A340. The A350 would also be on the “yet to fly” list, but I finally made my first trek on the aircraft on a recent Finnair flight!
What are your least favorite aircraft to fly?