Ask an aviation enthusiast about their least favorite commercial aircraft, and you’re likely to get a few people saying Bombardier’s CRJ 200 aircraft. A quick Google search will confirm that many travelers dislike the CRJ 200.

However, contrary to its dismal reviews, countless airlines used this regional jet until as recently as 2023. Why was it so popular despite its reputation and what happened to this former king of regional jets? Before we tell you what happened, we have to go back to the beginning. 

In 1986 in Montreal, Canada, Bombardier purchased fellow Canadian aerospace manufacturer Canadair. Before the buyout, Canadair engineers were researching the possibility of stretching their Challenger business jet and bringing it to the commercial airline market. Now under Bombardier’s umbrella, that research resumed, and with financial support from the Canadian government, the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) 100 took flight in 1991.

Bombardier quickly followed the prototype with the CRJ200, which promised more efficient engines and a superior speed and altitude, according to Simple Flying. In the mid-’90s, Bombardier had already begun working on a larger version of the small regional aircraft, the CRJ700. Production of the CRJ200 came to an end in 2006, but airlines continued to use the aircraft for its relatively low operating costs and remarkable safety record.

But why was the CRJ200 so poorly reviewed by fliers? For many, the CRJ 200 interior is to blame, with cramped seats and little overhead storage space.

By 2013, the rising cost of fuel made 50-seat aircraft less economical, forcing many carriers to start phasing them out in favor of larger jets.

Today, fewer CRJ200 aircraft grace the skies, but the aircraft has certainly left its mark on the industry. Beyond inspiring the CRJ700 series of aircraft—which also includes the 550, 705, 900 and 1000—the CRJ200 also inspired the design of Bombardier’s premier private heavy jet, the Challenger 850.

A favorite among private fliers seeking transcontinental comfort, the Challenger 850 shares the CRJ 200 and Bombardier’s impeccable reliability and dependability record, earning the aircraft top ranks in its class. Capable of soaring more than 2,800 nautical miles at a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet, the Challenger 850 and 850XP are popular for private jet flights from:

  • Boston to Miami
  • Atlanta to San Francisco
  • New York to Los Angeles

Bombardier CRJ 200 Fast Facts

1. How many seats are on a CRJ-200?

Bombardier’s CRJ 200 was typically outfitted with 50 seats, making it a popular regional jet for airlines around the world.

2. Is the CRJ-200 safe?

Bombardier’s CRJ-series jets, including the CRJ200 aircraft, are incredibly safe. While they did have a poor reputation among commercial airline travelers, their concerns had more to do with comfort and amenities than safety. Despite their shortfalls, many airlines continued to fly the CRJ-200, and some still do today, due in part to the aircraft’s impressive safety record.

3. Is the CRJ-200 still flying?

Some smaller and budget-friendly airlines, such as Air Canada partner Jazz, still fly the CRJ200. Delta Airlines’ regional network officially phased out the aircraft in November 2023 in favour of larger and more efficient jets like the CRJ700 and 900.

4. What is the difference between CRJ 200 and CRJ 700?

Looking at the CRJ 200 and CRJ 700 side-by-side, it’s easy to see the similarities. Derived from the smaller CRJ 200, the CRJ 700 is almost like a stretched-out version of the regional aircraft. When flying on the 700, expect more legroom and a smoother ride. 

Despite entering production in 1999—only a few short years after the CRJ 200—this popular aircraft stayed in production until as recently as 2020 when the CRJ series was sold to Mitsubishi for $550 million.

5. What luggage fits in a CRJ-200?

Typically, the overhead compartment on the CRJ-200 runs 18 inches long by 14 inches wide and 7 inches deep. This small storage space means that passengers traveling on a CRJ-200 should pack light or consider checking their bags at the gate.

6. Should I Charter a CRJ-200?

With the comfort and storage concerns, you might be wondering if a CRJ-200 charter is worth the investment. While some private flight companies may offer CRJ-200 jet charters, we don’t. Instead, we help private fliers soar higher on the Challenger 850—Bombardier’s premier private heavy jet that draws its inspiration from this popular regional jet.

While space was a concern on the CRJ-200 due to its 48-by-8-foot cabin packed tight with 50 seats, the Challenger 850 is a bright, open and inviting luxury aircraft with seating for up to a maximum of 15 people. That also means that baggage space is no longer a concern, with an impressive 115 cubic feet of luggage capacity.

Of course, you don’t have to fill the plane when you charter a private jet, as you pay the same whether you’re flying alone or with 14 of your closest friends and family members.

Ready to charter a private flight aboard the Challenger 850 or learn more about the CRJ 200 it’s based on? Give us a call at (888)593-9066 to get started.