A British Airways Boeing 747-400 – Photo: Cory W Watts | Flickr CC
I think of my nearest airport as the worldâ€™s biggest little airport. Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) serves the 12th-largest metro area in the country, yet its only intercontinental flight is a daily British Airways 747-400 to London Heathrow (LHR). The laundry list of reasons to explain this doesnâ€™t make the situation any more palatable when I book a long-haul flight â€¦ and have to go through Los Angeles, Chicago, or San Francisco. I even get envious when I see the internationalÂ flights from cities like Portland, Seattle, or even Charlotte.
Often overlooked, there are many great international options are smaller airports. There are benefits likeÂ being less busy, parking is cheaper, and it provides a little different experience. I started researching long-haul flights that would let me skip the big airports as much as possible. Hereâ€™s what I learned:
An American Eagle CRJ200 taxiing at LAX, with an Embraer 175 following – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter
Let’s face it… the 50-seatÂ Bombardier CRJ200 isn’t very popular. Â At all. Â You’llÂ find countless articles and blogs about how much flyers dread flying in it, and how all-around terrible the experience was. Â Complaints were numerous: claustrophobic cabin, tiny overhead bins that fit only the smallest of carry-on bags, no first class, inoperable lavatories, and so on. This wasn’t limited to just one airline either;Â CR2s are found in the regional fleets for most of the major U.S. airlines. Â Coincidentally, manyÂ of them are operated under contract by the same regional carrier, SkyWest Airlines.
Does the CR2 deserve its bum rap? Maybe, maybe not (but probably). Â For someÂ passengers,Â however, there is hope just over the horizon…