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…
An American Eagle CRJ-200 during boarding at LAX – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter
Occasionally, I’ll be as lucky as some of my AirlineReporter colleaguesÂ to be flying high in a premium cabin while being waited on hand and foot (see, e.g., David Delagarza’s vacation flight in first-class on ANA, orÂ Jacob’s Pfledger’s mile-high shower on Emirates). But as most of us can attest to, sometimes (or most of the time) we have to schlep it to get to where we want to go.
My wife and I traveled to Europe for a two-week whirlwind honeymoon tour that included 10Â cities in eight countries, as well as eight individual flights within Europe. We found a smashing deal from DeltaÂ to experienceÂ premium economy on Air France’s Airbus A380 to Paris. Â There was just one slight issue: our Air France flight tookÂ off from San Francisco, but we live in Southern California — over 350 miles away. Â The solution: flying in the much-maligned CRJ-200.Â What sort of life decisions did I getÂ wrong to lead me toÂ suffering this mighty indignity?
US Airways Airbus A319 getting work done inside the facility
All photos by Jason Rabinowitz
US Airways has a pretty large fleet of aircraft – over 340. From time to time, every aircraft needs to have some maintenance done to it; some scheduled and some not. We recently were able to take a photo tour of US Airways / American Airlines maintenance facility in Phoenix and wanted to share the photos. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show…