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First Class On A Regional Jet – NWA CRJ900  
User currently offlineJakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 31568 times:

Background...
10 years ago I lived in Michigan and earned "Gold" status on Northwest Airlines. I moved to Pennsylvania where US Airways dominates the market. For the past eight years, I've either had "Gold" or "Chairman" status and so most all my travel and experience over the past decade has been on US Airways.

I recently moved to Kansas City where most all airlines are represented equally... and US Airways isn't as convenient. I've also noticed a continuing decline in service as US Airways has gone through bankruptcy (twice) and the merger with America West. Because of this, I decided to branch out to explore other options. Northwest offered me a status match with "Gold" status, so I took it. I've been flying more and more on Northwest and have been pleasantly surprised with my experience with them. I've also utilized the SkyTeam alliance with Delta and Continental which I have found to be more open and flexible than the Star Alliance with US Airways and United.

About a month ago I had a trip to Manchester, New Hampshire for business on Northwest airlines. The return trip was scheduled on a CRJ900. Here's the details of the trip.

Booking the Flight
I always book my flights online because I like to know all my options... time, connections (to optimize miles), aircraft, seat availability, etc. Traditionally, I have stayed away from flights that included regional jet service because my experience with US Airways has been that none of their regional jets offer first class (they joke that "every seat is on a regional jet is first class"). Further, I am not a fan of the regional jets because of the smaller seats, lack of overhead storage, and the windows are at shoulder height so you can't look out the window very easily. Reluctantly, I selected the return flight on a CRJ900 only because it had the best schedule available.

Checking-In
I checked in the night before my flight at the hotel business center. I like Northwest's boarding passes because they are a single sheet that lists the itinerary, departure times and gates, set assignments, etc. The gate agent simply scans the bar code and you keep the paper. Nothing to tear, fold, or multiple papers to manage. To my surprise, it said that I had been upgraded to first class. I checked again and saw that I was on a scheduled to be on a regional jet and so I thought maybe there was an error or an aircraft change.
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/BoardingPass.jpg

Security
I arrived at the airport about an hour early in anticipation of a long security line. There is a security line at the right end of the terminal that services Northwest and fortunately there were only a few people in the queue. Unfortunately there was a five-year-old that was having a meltdown. Apparently her father forgot to pack her beloved stuffed animal and she screaming at him and refusing to cooperate with any requests of her father. He had to physically pick her up to remove her shoes to go through the X-Ray. I presented my boarding pass to the security guard and quietly asked if the girl was on my flight. To my relief she wasn't! You could tell by the look on the faces of the others in the security line, they were asking themselves the same question!

At the Gate
I made my way to the gate and saw the plane waiting... and it was a regional jet. I asked the gate agent if there was first class on the plane, and she replied "yes". As the flight was to leave around the dinner hour and the flight was over two hours, I decided to tempt fate and ask if there was a meal being served on the flight. She replied that dinner was being served in First Class. It was like I was in another dimension... First Class on a regional jet, dinner being served, and the flight was on time!!!

The CRJ900 Cabin
We boarded about a half hour before the flight was to leave. First Class boarded first and then the rest were boarded by groups. The flight was about 70% full so the process went smoothly. This was my first time on a CRJ900 so I was anxious to see what it looked like. Here are a few shots of the cabin and first class.

Interior Shot (From Airliner.net library). Note that the bins on the right of the First Class cabin are much smaller than those on the left. I noticed that no one used these as they were much too small and the sliding door made in inconvenient to access

http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1318249/M

First class seat
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0036.jpg

First Class restroom
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0050.jpg

First Class Cabin
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0038.jpg

Fellow Passenger (Notice the headline in the article he is reading..."Packed Cabins Ramp Up Flier's Stress Levels". I didn't notice this until I was writing this report!)
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0040.jpg

Small storage bin in the seat armrest. I'm not sure what one would be stored here....?
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0054.jpg

Inflight Service
The service in First Class on the CRJ900 was consistent with a larger plane. A few minutes after takeoff, the flight attendant came around the cabin, asking our choice of dinner. Chicken or mushroom ravioli? I decided to live on the edge and had the ravioli. Here is what was served...
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0047.jpg

On a scale from 1 to 10, I would give the meal a 7. It was served hot, good variety and portions, the ravioli was a bit dry, but the chocolate mouse cake made up for it.... At this point I'm not going to complain. After all I wasn't expecting First Class in the first place!

The rest of the flight was uneventful. I sat back and watched some TV programs I had recorded on my video device.
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0052.jpg

Our flight path took us over the Finger Lake region of upstate New York
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0037.jpg
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0048.jpg

We also passed over Niagara Falls. At 32,000 feet, it is still impressive
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0044.jpg

We landed on time in Minneapolis and I continued on to my connecting flight to Kansas City

Inside the C Concourse
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0058.jpg

Traveling on the transit train. (By the way, if you have ever been on this train, notice that the announcer has a British accent. I think it would be more appropriate for the announcer to have a Minnesota accent... don't ya know!)
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0057.jpg

Waiting for my connection
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0059.jpg

Countdown to departure
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/NH/DSCN0060.jpg

Final words
Overall, it was a very enjoyable trip. The unexpected surprise of First Class on a regional jet was a big part of it. I would give this trip a 9.5 out of 10 (if only the ravioli weren't so dry  Smile!) I will definitely look for more flights on Northwest CRJ900 jets.

Also, I can't help but compare my experience on this flight on Northwest to my past few years experience on US Airways. It seems like Northwest has invested more in their product--especially for their frequent fliers--and is more customer focused including the boarding pass, the boarding process, and inflight serice. I also want to say that US Airways flight attendants and customer service people do an excellent job with the resources they have. From a passenger perspective It seems like US Airways management sets their policy and manages by the bottom line, regardless of the impact to customers. I believe that If airlines will manage by the customer, the bottom line will take care of itself. My opinion...

Here's some of my other trip reports

Orlando on US Airways in First Class
Get Me Out Of Here! - PIT To MCO (with Pics!) (by Jakeflyer Feb 10 2007 in Trip Reports)
Hong Kong on Singapore Airlines in Business Class
SQ SFO/HKG Raffles Class 747 Upper Deck - Pics (by Jakeflyer Oct 30 2006 in Trip Reports)
Kaohsiung, Taiwan on China Airlines in Business Class
HKG-KHH On China Airlines—Pics (by Jakeflyer Oct 16 2006 in Trip Reports)
Lisbon, Portugal on TAP in Business Class
TAP Portugal In Top Executive - EWR-LIS-OPO – Pics (by Jakeflyer Sep 24 2006 in Trip Reports)

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTranspac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3207 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 31539 times:

I didn't know they served hot meals on the CR9's!! I suppose they do on the E75's too, since NW took delivery of both for basically the same purpose.

Lucky to get the upgrade, too. I've been on NW CR9's twice now, but in coach both times. Still, quite nice planes.


User currently offlineAtrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5692 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 31387 times:

Great Report! It is always a treat to book coach then find you end up flying F Class whether upgrading or being upgraded.

The CRJ900 looks like a fine aircraft and the seats and service for NW/CR9 looks awesome!

Great pics and good report!

Alex



Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7545 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 31044 times:



Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 1):
I didn't know they served hot meals on the CR9's!! I suppose they do on the E75's too, since NW took delivery of both for basically the same purpose.

Yes they serve hot meals on both, I personally like the E175 better then the CR9 but both are really great if you can't have mainline.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineMSNtriathlete From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 30956 times:

Thanks for the great TR and pics! It's very exciting to see what the CR9 interior and service look like.

User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8539 posts, RR: 54
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 30631 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report and pictures.

I had no idea NW had F in the CR9 fleet, seats look good an the meal service, well not bad looking actually, seen much worse meals served in F on mainline flights.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineMANmatt From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 969 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 30348 times:

Excellent trip report. Next time you fly on 1 of the NW CRJ-900's, do us a favour and save us a piece of that chocolate cake! Looks like heaven at 39,000ft! lol

Matt


User currently offlineTmarch291 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 147 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 30189 times:

Great report! I recently flew on a NWA CR9 MSP-STL and I wondered what the F product was like on that A/C.

I was served the same exact meal when I flew in F on the mainline. I found it quite good, however I also found the pasta dry.

Excellent TR and keep up the good work!


User currently offlineUAL757 From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 806 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 30050 times:

That meal looks pretty good for a short domestic flight. Not to mention on a RJ!!!

Those F seats look so much nicer than those on a normal NW plane. I think I would rather take a RJ F over a 757 or A319 F.

Nice report! and great pictures!


User currently offlineCAP2008 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 29905 times:

Great TR

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 1):
I suppose they do on the E75's too

 checkmark , FYI the first row of coach on the E75 has more legroom than F on the E75, you just get a narrower seat, and no meal.

Quoting UAL757 (Reply 8):
Those F seats look so much nicer than those on a normal NW plane.

Yep, I'd prefer the leather seats on the RJ's over those ugly blue mainline seats any day. Although I find the seats on the DC9's more comfortable than those on the 319/320/757.


Nice view of TVC and Grand Traverse Bay, I just flew out of TVC yesterday. Glad to hear you had a good flight on NW, thanks for sharing.



The mother of the last KC-135 pilot has yet to be born.
User currently offlineJakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 29567 times:

Thanks for your comments. Here's some responses...

Quoting Burnsie28 (Reply 3):
Yes they serve hot meals on both, I personally like the E175 better then the CR9 but both are really great if you can't have mainline.

Given the choice between the two, I think I would choose the E175 as well because it seems slightly larger. I've flown it quite a bit with US Airways... but no F/C.

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 1):
The CRJ900 looks like a fine aircraft and the seats and service for NW/CR9 looks awesome!

The seats were leather and very comfortable... and as someone else noted nicer than the blue cloth mainline seats. The service was just like the mainline, which is what airlines should do. There shouldn't be any difference on service from commuter to mainline--especially on long-distance core destinations.

Quoting MANmatt (Reply 6):
do us a favour and save us a piece of that chocolate cake! Looks like heaven at 39,000ft!

... I will email you a piece!  Smile

Quoting UAL757 (Reply 8):
Those F seats look so much nicer than those on a normal NW plane. I think I would rather take a RJ F over a 757 or A319 F.

Me too. There are four fewer seats in F/C on the CRJ900 than most of the mainline planes but with a smaller plane you have a better chance of being upgraded. Also, you get better service since there is still one flight attendant service the F/C cabin.


User currently offlineGSPSPOT From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3028 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 28935 times:

I'm looking forward to my 1st trip on a NW CRJ900, and 1st time in FC on a "regional jet". Mine will be a breakfast flight. Your pics and thoughts are very helpful to me! Great report.


Finally made it to an airline mecca!
User currently offlineFlyingcat From United States of America, joined May 2007, 541 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 28791 times:

Let's hope that DL looks closely at expanding meal service to their regional fleet.

User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12250 posts, RR: 35
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 28438 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Nice report on my airline. The 900s are indeed comfortable both in front and back.

Quoting MANmatt (Reply 6):
do us a favour and save us a piece of that chocolate cake! Looks like heaven at 39,000ft! lol

It is very good, had one yesterday in fact  Smile



911, where is your emergency?
User currently offlineAnsett767 From Australia, joined May 1999, 1021 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 28315 times:

Nice report! How long was your flight? I was on a 2 hour Delta flight and got upgraded to First which was happy about, also on a regional jet and all we got was a choice of a bag of chips or a candy bar! Your meal looked nice in comparison!

User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7545 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 28202 times:



Quoting UAL757 (Reply 8):
Those F seats look so much nicer than those on a normal NW plane

Thats because they are the standard Bombardier interior, they don't get a choice on the RJ's its those leather seats or nothing. Same with the EMB series. About all they can change is the color of the leather.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineAzjubilee From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 3923 posts, RR: 27
Reply 16, posted (6 years 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 28031 times:

NWA has had first class in their large RJs since the late 90s. In fact, NWA and Mesaba were the first airlines to offer FC on a regional jet. Only cold meals were offered back then, because NWA didn't order the oven option on the avros. They certainly wised up and sprung for every option the CRJ900 has to offer!

Glad you had a great trip.


User currently offlineJakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 27887 times:



Quoting Ansett767 (Reply 14):
How long was your flight? I was on a 2 hour Delta flight and got upgraded to First which was happy about, also on a regional jet and all we got was a choice of a bag of chips or a candy bar!

The listed flight time is 3 hours and 6 minutes which is within the window of offering a meal in F/C or a meal for purchase in coach.

Quoting Azjubilee (Reply 16):
NWA has had first class in their large RJs since the late 90s. In fact, NWA and Mesaba were the first airlines to offer FC on a regional jet. Only cold meals were offered back then, because NWA didn't order the oven option on the avros. They certainly wised up and sprung for every option the CRJ900 has to offer!

It's been about ten years since I flew on Northwest so was unaware of them offering F/C on regional jets with the exception of the old AVROs. My frame of reference is US Airways which doesn't offer F/C on regional jets. I go back to my original comment... if airlines manage by the customer, the bottom line will take care of itself.

Thanks again for everyone's comments.


User currently offlineDALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1687 posts, RR: 7
Reply 18, posted (6 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 27549 times:

A very nice and surprising report!

thanks for sharing!
D-ALCE



flown on : F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,319,320,321,333,AB6.
User currently offlineXx787xX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 27466 times:

Great Report Big grin

I loved the pixures of the lakes in NY and Niagara Falls  Wink

Xx787xX


User currently offlinethegreatRDU From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2310 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 20814 times:

Quoting Jakeflyer (Reply 10):
Also, you get better service since there is still one flight attendant service the F/C cabin.

so they had 3 FAs and one was dedicated to 1st class?



Our Returning Champion
User currently offlineNASBWI From Bahamas, joined Feb 2005, 1311 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 20735 times:

Quoting thegreatRDU (Reply 20):
so they had 3 FAs and one was dedicated to 1st class?

Nah, my guess is that there's still only two, but the FA assigned to F also assists the other FA in Y, once service is completed in F. Of course, if someone in F rings the call-button, the FA in Y is on their own   .



Fierce, Fabulous, and Flawless ;)
User currently offlinejakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 17430 times:

I wrote this trip report almost two years ago--I can't believe it came back up with comments. Since then, Northwest has been absorbed into the "new Delta". I was in First Class on a Delta Connection CRJ900 flight two weeks ago where a meal was served. It was a cold plate... choice of a turkey wrap or a pasta salad--not to the extent or quality of what was offered on the Northwest flight. There were two flight attendants working the flight. One in first class, the other in coach. While the service was good... it wasn't as memorable as the flight I took almost two years ago. (In response to NASBWI's last comment... on the latest Delta flight, after the meal and drink service, the FAs hung out in the front galley talking... we were all on our own!)

User currently offlineNASBWI From Bahamas, joined Feb 2005, 1311 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 3 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 14649 times:

Quoting jakeflyer (Reply 22):
(In response to NASBWI's last comment... on the latest Delta flight, after the meal and drink service, the FAs hung out in the front galley talking... we were all on our own!)

Yikes!! I'm sorry to hear that (and I don't even work for DL!). Were you in F? Y? Not that it matters, but if you're in F and that's the level of service you were receiving, then that's rather appalling.



Fierce, Fabulous, and Flawless ;)
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