Your CRJ900 flight test (Flight International, 26 February - 4 March) paints a picture of the Bombardier CRJ900 closing the gap between regional jets and mainline types such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. While welcome to accountants - and even pilots - I believe it to be unwelcome to passengers.

What do we get? To start with, the CRJ900's place on the ramp will probably be with the rest of the regional jets rather than the larger jets. In other words, passengers are likely to be transported on buses at both ends. This will mean early boarding at gate, standing in a diesel fume-filled bus and an additional 5-10 minutes delay on arrival.

Secondly, despite being redesigned, the CRJ900 overhead bins are unlikely to be much larger than the smaller CRJ's, where one needs a shoehorn to fit a cabin legal briefcase into the bin. Furthermore - no doubt in a bid to make the aircraft cheaper - Bombardier has elected to space the small windows far apart. In the CRJ900 two overwing exits provide for even longer distances between certain windows. So we get a dark and somewhat claustrophobic cabin - a window seat may well mean a wall seat.

There is also an added seat rail allowing premium seating. This sounds to me like inflexible three abreast premium seating. A fine way to irritate passengers is to allocate them to the first real economy row behind the ones who, on a flight with a small business class, are lucky enough to get into the premium seats. Finally the CRJ - as well as the ERJ - has rear mounted engines. These are always noisy in the rear of the cabin. My experience suggests they become even noisier as aircraft age and parts loosen up and engine vibration increases.

Jouko Vallikari

Helsinki, Finland

Source: Flight International