The Bombardier CSeries CS100 was on display during the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2016 but only as a static display. On the Sunday before the show started, however, the company took media up for a flight to see how the plane performs.
The “London City Departure” profile was a great way to start the ride, especially after an unexpectedly long hold just short of the runway prior to departure. The plane is quiet (and I was seated behind the wing and engines) and spacious inside. Yes, there are middle seats on one side, something Embraer was actively marketing against during the show, but I figure those are likely the last to fill, leaving a higher chance of an empty adjacent seat than a 2-2 layout would. Also, for the passenger “stuck” in that middle seat there’s good news. It really is wider than the already wider-than-average seats in economy.
Bigger windows is also part of the value proposition Bombardier brings with the CSeries. And it is not shy about calling attention to that on the test aircraft.
Once in flight roughly no one stayed in their seats, as expected for such a party flight. There was a snack-ish service (I feel badly for the flight attendants navigating the aisles with all of us in their way) including branding on the macarons. The crowds pressed forward, clamoring for views from the flight deck. I saw the line and skipped that, exploring the back of the plane instead.
Some of the comfort factor will come from decisions made by the airlines in terms of seats, entertainment, connectivity and more. This was a Bombardier config (though with the Swiss livery on the outside) so it didn’t have all the options installed but it was a comfortable layout. If it ends up operating in the 5-6 hour stage lengths that it is engineered for I’d hope for more legroom, but for 1-2 hour flights the “stock” config was very reasonable.
And then, as is often the case with such adventures, the call to take our seats for landing came all too soon.
No order announcements came during the show, something I’m sure is slightly disappointing for Bombardier, but orders overall were light. And the recent Delta deal does buy the company a small reprieve in timing for securing additional sales, though only a little bit.
Never miss another post: Sign up for email alerts and get only the content you want direct to your inbox.