It’s The RJs, Stupid

There has been an avalanche of news stories lately predicting a congested, overcrowded, miserable summer for air travel. And one expert has emerged to point a finger at the main culprit: the RJ or regional jet. 

The expert is Joe Brancatelli, a top business travel expert, whose piece on how regional jets are clogging the nation’s airports is a must-read for anyone who has to get on a plane any time soon.

I’m not going to comment on the economics of the whole big plane / small plane thing because Joe understands it far better than I do. But the basic premise about air traffic is simple enough for even me to understand.

Airlines that fly three tiny regional jets instead of one  larger 737 take up three times more gates and three times more runways. It’s like a fleet of taxis on the ground instead of a single shuttle bus – you’re bound to end up with more traffic jams.

It’s a well-informed and entertaining screed, especially to those of us who prefer to fly big metal. And if you read it, at least you’ll know, next time you climb on board a 37-seat regional jet, why some people think it’s not always a great idea.


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