Why Delta Connection’s Bombardier CRJ900 Is Not All That Bad

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Regional flying in the United States comes in many different flavors. The larger of regional jets, the Bombardier CRJ900, fly for several regional brands including Delta Connection. While some passengers may cringe at the thought of spending a couple of hours in a CRJ900, here’s why it isn’t all that bad.

Delta Connection CRJ900
While some frequent fliers will balk at regional jets, there is still a lot to love. Photo: Delta

What role do regional jets play in the United States?

The Bombardier CRJ900 is the second-largest regional jet in Bombardier’s Canadair lineup. Just above the CRJ900 is the CRJ1000. However, no regional carriers fly the CRJ1000 because the aircraft is too large. The reason for this is due to airline scope clauses. Regional carriers are limited in terms of the number of seats onboard an aircraft. Usually, this is about 76 seats. Thus, this makes the CRJ900 one of the largest aircraft types that fly under Delta’s regional partners

Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet 900
The CRJ900 is the largest Bombardier CRJ variant flown commercially in the United States. Photo: Bombardier

Most importantly, regional jets allow for greater aviation connectivity. Many small communities are now able to be connected to hubs. From there, passengers can connect to destinations around the country and the rest of the world. Furthermore, while Delta could fill an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 between Williston, North Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota on a daily flight, partnering with regional carriers and flying CRJ aircraft allows the airline to offer multiple daily frequencies between the two cities. Which, then, is better for connections.

Delta Connection CRJ900
Delta Connection’s CRJ900s are well-known at many regional airports in the United States. Photo: Getty Images

Onboard a Delta Connection CRJ900

Inside the aircraft, Delta Connection CRJ900s are outfitted with First Class, Comfort+, and Main Cabin classes of seating. Depending on the carrier, the aircraft seats either 70 or 76 passengers.

Delta Connection CRJ900 Interior
The CRJ900 seats up to 76 passengers. Photo: Simple Flying

First Class on a CRJ900

First Class on a Delta Connection CRJ900 is outfitted in a 1-2 configuration. The cabin seats up to 12 passengers. If you’re traveling alone, then the solo, “A”, seats are fantastic since you can have direct aisle access and also get a pretty great view from the large windows.

Solo Seat in DeltaCRJ
The solo seats are great for solo travelers. Photo: Simple Flying

Every passenger has access to their own power outlet which makes charging a device nice and easy.

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Power Outlet
With individual power outlets, every passenger can keep their device charged. Photo: Simple Flying

Legroom is also just as good as any mainline Delta flight.

First Class legroom
Legroom in First Class on a CRJ900. Photo: Simple Flying

Comfort+ and Main Cabin on a Delta Connection CRJ900

While premium economy has been growing in popularity, regional jets have yet to receive any sort of true premium economy product. Instead, airlines tend to put extra legroom products onboard. On the CRJ900s, Delta has installed Comfort+ seats in a 2-2 configuration. These seats have a few more inches of legroom compared to economy class seats.

Legroom
After First Class, there are a few rows of Comfort+ seating. Photo: Simple Flying

The CRJ900s have 20 Comfort+ seats. This is a fantastic number of extra legroom seats onboard this aircraft. Ultimately, passengers can choose to either pay with miles for an upgrade, pay cash for a Comfort+ seat, or, for elite members, wait for a complimentary upgrade. And, with 20 seats, the chances are better than a number of other jets since just under 30% of the cabin is comprised of these extra-legroom seats.   

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Delta Comfort+
Several rows of Comfort+ seating means opportunities to use miles, cash, or complimentary upgrades to enhance a journey. Photo: Simple Flying

The CRJ900s have power outlets between the seats for passengers in Comfort+ and the Main Cabin. While you might have to share and trade on-and-off with a seatmate, having power is still great. Most importantly, though, there are no dreaded middle seats on the CRJ900!

CRJ900
There are no middle seats on board the Bombardier CRJ900! Photo: Simple Flying

What about storage onboard a CRJ900?

The CRJ900s do have less storage than other mainline aircraft. First off, the overhead bins on board these regional jets are smaller than they are on other aircraft. This means more passengers have to gate-check their bags and claim it at the jetbridge at the end of the flight.

Although, on several occasions, I’ve had gate agents complimentary check my bag to my final destination if I have a tight connection. But, if you are traveling with a smaller roller bag or a larger backpack, you should be able to fit your bags in the overhead compartments.

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Overhead Bin Space
Overhead bin space on the CRJ900 is a bit tight compared to other aircraft. Photo: Simple Flying

However, this is not necessarily bad. For one, it means faster deplaning since most passengers are not pulling out a carry-on from the overhead bin. Moreover, some passengers who truly do not need to access a carry-on in flight, which ends up being most people, can travel a little lighter.

Nonetheless, if you do not need to access a carry-on inflight and if you have a complimentary bag check through a credit card or elite status, this is a perk worth taking advantage of when flying a CRJ900 or even any other kind of aircraft.

Delta Connection CRJ900
Gate-checked bags can be picked up after deplaning in a jetbridge. Photo: Delta

Inflight entertainment

Now, the CRJ900s can operate some longer flights. For example, this type can be found operating between San Antonio, Texas to Detroit and Minneapolis. These flights end up being close to three hours in length if not less.

So, having some inflight entertainment onboard is great. While the CRJ900s don’t have seatback screens, it is amazing that these aircraft are equipped with wifi capability. Though it is not free (yet), the service is available. Also, you can even access complimentary entertainment through Delta Studio on your own device.

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Wifi CRJ900
Most CRJ900s under Delta Connection are equipped with wifi. Photo: Simple Flying

Inflight service on a Delta Connection CRJ900

Similar to mainline Delta flights, select Delta Connection services also come with meal service in First Class. While you probably will not get beef tenderloin due to the lack of ovens, you’ll still get a cold option like a chicken salad or, for breakfast flights, granola cereal. For a little extra touch, Delta Connection services use the same Alessi-branded dishware that mainline Delta flights use.

Meal Service CRJ900
Southwestern-style chicken salad meal service on a Bombardier CRJ900 in First Class. Photo: Simple Flying

As for flight attendants, it is a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes you will find some young flight attendants who are starting their career. In other cases, you will find more polished flight attendants who have been at their job for a while. In either case, as usual, the quality of the crew varies. Do note that these crewmembers are not employed by Delta. Rather, the crew works for the regional carrier operating as Delta Connection.

Delta branding
Delta branding on a CRJ900 seat. Photo: Simple Flying

Overall

There are not a lot of frequent fliers who absolutely love flying the Bombardier CRJ900. But, if you have to fly a regional jet, the CRJ900 is a great choice. The CRJ900s are definitely better than the CRJ200s! With fantastic ratios, frequent fliers have some great shots at upgrades. If you have to check your bag to your final destination, Delta also guarantees bags within 20 minutes.

What do you think about the Bombardier CRJ900? Let us know in the comments!

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