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.
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I am really excited about this plane entering service in the US. And, honestly, that’s the first time I think I could ever say that about an aircraft from Bombardier. 2-3 is an excellent layout in the back (2-2 is better, but has its limits unless you build an RJ with 737-900 length), the wider seats plus extra wide middle seat, the 2-2 seating up front, the large overheads… everything about it looks like a winner from a passenger perspective.
Are the overhead symmetrical or is the left size smaller?
Delta has hinted for a long time, about a replacement to the horrible flight of experience of the CRJ and ERJ aircraft. B717 was supposed to help, but those really just replaced aging MD80/80 aircraft. With the CS100, us folks who live in small cities will finally get a decent aircraft.
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