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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200

Last night I was on a plane. I was just on a plane last Thursday and again on Monday of this week.  Now again last night.  I am too often on a plane. This was a different flight than the one described below in the blog entry entitled “Not Another On-Time Departure”.   The plane I was on last night was a Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200.  I am on this model of plane a lot. It is possibly the most uncomfortable plane one could fly on. If the government forced prisoners to fly on this plane, the government would be sued for cruel and unusual punishment.
It is very smallplane.  The seats are narrow.  It is hard to fit carry-on luggage in the overhead bins.  There are 12 rows of 4 seats (Seat A, Seat B, Seat C, and Seat D.)   Row 13 has two seats, Seat 13A and Seat 13B.  Next to 13A and 13B is the lavatory which is essentially the size of a large microwave oven.  Once you are in the lavatory you almost have to back out of it in order to get out of it.  It is very difficult to even turn around in this lavatory.  You have probably heard of the Mile High Club (of which I am not a member) well I am pretty certain you are not going to join the Mile High Club in this bathroom unless they have solo memberships.

Seat 13B is without a doubt the worse seat in airline history.  It is literally in the lavatory. You can hear and smell everything that goes on behind the folded door to the lavatory.  I have been assigned to Seat 13B more than once.  On one occasion, I am pretty certain the guy in the lavatory, who just inches from where I was eating airline peanuts and drinking a diet coke, asked me if I had any spare toilet paper. Maybe this is a lie but it feels true.

The seating plan of the Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200 is as follows.


There is a website  called the Seat  This is a real website. I did not make it up.  This is what it says about the Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200:

The Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) is configured with all coach seating and every seat is a window or aisle; there is no middle seat anywhere.  No video equipment or audio in-flight entertainment is installed and power ports are not equipped on this plane.

The least desirable jet in the fleet, since there is no chance to upgrade. This plane is so small that window seat passengers can really feel the curvature of the fuselage intruding into their shoulder and leg space.

 Did you get that? This plane is so small that window seat passengers can really feel the curvature of the fuselage intruding into their shoulder and leg space.  Tell me you want to sit in a window seat on this plane.

The aisles are so narrow that if you are seated early during the boarding process, say in row 3 or 4, which are the rows I try to book, every boarding passenger crashes into you as they walk by.  People do not take their purses, satchels or other bags off of their shoulder strap as they walk past so you are literally struck by each person’s bag as that person walks by.  If you have to get up to go to the lavatory during the flight, when you walk down the aisle to the back of the plane, yes back by seat 13B, you crash into almost every passenger behind you in seats B and C of each row.

I always try to book a seat on row 3 or row 4 so that if the plane goes down, I die first. On this flight I was sitting in Seat 4C, fourth row back on the aisle.  The plane left as scheduled from the gate but inasmuch as it was snowing hard in Salt Lake, we had to get de-iced.  That delayed us 15 minutes or so.  I have been de-iced more this winter than any for a long time. 

Once we were airborne I started reading my Economist magazine.  I was reading an intriguing article about “mass dissatisfaction” in Bangladesh. Apparently, a large number of people in Bangladesh are not just pissed off, they are very dissatisfied. I suppose if a friend meets a friend for coffee in Bangladesh and the first friend asks the second friend “How are you?”, the second friend will answer, “I am very dissatisfied”.  They must have recently flown on the Canadair CRJ 200.
The guy next to me in 4D was clipping his nails.  The guy in 4A asked the flight attendant for "lots of napkins" because he really had to blow his nose.
Anyway, as I was reading the mass dissatisfaction in Bangladesh article, I heard the guy in 5D (the window seat behind me that, to quote the Seat Expert, “is so small that window seat passengers can really feel the curvature of the fuselage intruding into their shoulder and leg space”) ask the guy in 5C what he did for a living.  The conversation went as follows:

5D:  What do you do?
5C:  I am in the milk business.
5D:  You are in what business?
5C:  I am in the milk business.
5D:  Are you a farmer?
5C: No I market milk.
5D.  Wow, that is very interesting, I love milk.  If I don't have at least two glasses a day I don't feel right. Very  cool.
5C: Well it is an interesting business.
At this point I silently offer a Prayer ("Beam Me Up Scotty, There is no Intelligent Life Here").
5D:  I have always wanted to be in the cheese business.
5C: Really?
5D:  Yeah, Have you seen how much some of those cheeses cost?  I can't afford to buy most of them. Whats the big deal they take some spoiled milk and add different flavors and then they sell it for a bundle.  I would really like to get in the cheese business.
The conversation between 5D and 5C went on in this general manner for the entire flight.  I learned that 5D sold software to call centers and other businesses.  His company's software is what comes on your phone when you call any business and the recorded message says, "This call may be monitored for quality assurances." No wonder the guy wanted to be in the cheese business.
We landed on time and I was picked up at the airport curb by the Lovely Sharon.  It was nice to see her.  I wish I had brought her some cheese.

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