You Think RJs are Tight?


My friend has recently relocated to London, and he’s been taking advantage of the unique aviation scene over in Europe by getting on some pretty cool flights. But when he sent me this picture, I just had to post it as a reminder of how bad travel could be, despite the fact that I know he loved it. Every time you feel compelled to complain about cramped RJ quarters, take a look at this picture.
Manx 2 Metro
This is a Manx2 Fairchild Metro that my friend rode from East Midlands Airport to Isle of Man Airport. How would you like to fly an hour in this bad boy? It’s not easy to get on one of these anymore. I believe Manx2 is phasing them out themselves.

19 comments on “You Think RJs are Tight?

  1. It looks about the same as a Beechcraft 1900.. the one with the tail on upside down. Maybe there is some more head room, but the effect is the same. Not a close second for being awful are the J-31s, the ones with the wing spar in the aisle so you can trip and injure yourself.

    Of course you get to the tropics and things change dramatically. Ever fly from Belize International to San Pedro? Charming. They let passengers sit on the copilot’s seat. Of course Cape Air from Martha’s Vineyard to Boston used to do the same thing. (Just don’t touch the peddles or stick).

  2. Ah takes me back to a flight on Air Midwest Metro from Fort Wayne to ORD. There were summer thunderstorms in the area and it was quite the ride, and a bit amusing too. Before departure from FWA, “Joe Aviation” was bragging to his friends about what a seasoned and experienced air traveler. If they could only have seen him once the turbulence hit. He was screaming and crying all the way to ORD.

  3. Steve, I flew on one of those J-31’s a few years back and had always wondered what the “hump” in the middle of the cabin was. Thanks for the clarification!

  4. I flew a much older model of this (smaller so even more cramped) for more than 2 hours each way over the southern ocean earlier this year, between Christchurch and Chatham Islands. And flew right back again less than an hour later. It was the same day that saw (in front of my eyes), New Zealand’s first attempted aircraft hijacking. So quite an unusual travel day and one I won’t forget in a hurry.

    Years back I used to commute with these on one of the most turbulent prone routes around, between Nelson and Wellington. We flew low over mountains with lots of thermals for 25 minutes and the other 25 minutes was across Cook Strait (one of the windiest places anywhere) on an angle to the prevailing winds. Never a fun trip.

  5. Little bit confused by your post ?….what’s the issue ?, no arm wrests to battle over ?…trying flying eco class, middle seat for 6+ hours in the middle seat….I have recently returned from a Biz trip to the USA/Canada spanning 2 weeks with 10 internal fligts and I can tell you my friend, give me the above cabin config any day pal !

  6. Haven’t we all flown on such small puddle-jumpers? I live in Colorado, and small commuter craft crossing the windy Continental Divide can provide the bonus of a real rock-and-roll ride — a lot like The Global Traveller’s New Zealand flights. Then there was the small Soviet-era commuter plane between San Pedro Sula and Roatan (or was it Le Ceiba?), Honduras with patches welded onto the engine cowling where the engine might have once thrown a rod — and oh yes, the door rattled throughout the flight. In situations like that, tight quarters and little headroom are the least of it.

    Claire @

  7. This just sends me back to the days of flying into Binghamton on every which plane US Air and US Air Express used. Oh and I remember often getting a ghetto upgrade on their DC-9s on the last flight in. Those were the days, but alas such is the downsides of living in a major metro area.

  8. Steve — when I saw this post, it reminded me of my upcoming flight on Tropic Air from Belize City (BZE) to Placencia. Last time around, I got to sit behind the copilot seat (still a great position to take pics through the front window). This time I know what’s going on and will run straight for the copilot seat :)

  9. Oliver,

    TROPIC AIR! Thats the one. I flew from BZE to San Pedro to Corozal. I’m not sure there really is an airport in Corozal. I think we landed on a cow path. I did see a little jungle shack that I think was the terminal. Yes, run and get the co pilot seat. It really was a nice flight from BZE to San Pedro. I loved the fact that the strip was right in town and you could walk.

  10. They also fly Soviet made turboprops. Heh! check out their website – good reading for us plane-geeks.

  11. I´m taking a travel break so I can respond to some comments here. This is a great comment thread!

    Steve – I haven´t flown the Metro but I´ve done the J31 (EWR-IAD on Atlantic Coast) and the Beech (YUM-PHX on Air Midwest) and I´d take the Beech over the J31 any day. Then again, I did get stuck right on that wing spar . . .

    Global Traveller – The thought of 2+ turbulent hours on one of these makes me nauseous. I don´t know how you do it.

    IPCRESS – I was really posting this as a response to those who think that the regional jets are tight. This airplane makes RJs look downright spacious, but yes, I´d probably rather take it than sit in a middle seat in coach (unless it´s on a two hour turbulent flight with The Global Traveller)

  12. CF:

    I completely agree. The J-31/32 is a “hard flying short winged” airplane. EVERY bump is awful. I frequently, until Skyway Airlines got dumped by Midwest, used to fly them to Flint from MKE. They were fairly fast, and not bad. However, forget shoulder room. For THAT, the Metro was actually better. I used to fly Metro-3s too. You had to crouch to get to your seat, but once there, the seat was decent.

    ok.. our cars now are better than Model-Ts.. but am I alone in HATING the CRJ and preferring the ERJ?

  13. Hey, I have flown in Metros. Take a look at ONE important thing: YOU HAVE SOME SHOULDER ROOM. Ok.. not much, but its better than the CRJ where the ribs of the fuselage dig into your shoulder, or the Beechcraft 1900D where there is.. well not much at all except a seat and a wing spar to trip over.

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