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Last Delta CRJ-200 Flight Takes Off

The flight from Elko, Nev. to Salt Lake City marks the end of scheduled 50-seat CRJ-200 service at Delta,

A Delta CRJ-200 in Cedar City, Utah (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has done something most travelers have been awaiting for years; it finally ended scheduled CRJ-200 operations as of Friday, Dec. 1. Often dubbed the ‘Barbie Jet’ due to its toy-like nature, both Moab and Cedar City, Utah saw their last Delta-marketed CRJ-200 flights on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, with the final flight occurring as an early morning departure from Elko, Nev. back to the airline’s Salt Lake City hub. This marks the end of Delta’s over 20-year history with the aircraft type in its fleet.

Many regional carriers have operated the CRJ-200 on behalf of Delta including big names such as Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), ExpressJet, Delta’s wholly-owned subsidiary Endeavor Air, and of course – the biggest one of all – SkyWest, which was the very last operator of the type for Delta. Endeavor Air retired the type in late April-early May of 2023 with its last flight occurring out of Delta’s Atlanta hub, marking the end of CRJ-200 flights in that city.

One of Delta’s CRJ-200’s at Minneapolis St. Paul (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Endeavor Air had a grand sendoff of the type flying it to its three bases, Atlanta, Detroit, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, with parties at each, before retiring them to the desert. In an email to AirlineGeeks, SkyWest has said, “We don’t currently have any events planned to highlight the transition of Delta CRJ200 flying to dual-class aircraft.”

The interior of one of Delta’s CRJ-200s (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Not a Fan Favorite

Although it is now one of the most almost unanimously hated aircraft in the skies, it was once welcomed with open arms when Delta started flying the CRJ-200 in the early 2000s. As for many small cities, especially those in the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, it was the transition away from 30-seat turboprop aircraft such as the Embraer E120, Dash-8, Saab 340, and others like it.

But, as time went on, the traveling public got more used to the Delta product on larger airplanes with more comfortable seats and premium cabins. Those who lived in smaller to midsized cities began to hate the small CRJ-200 and its lack of amenities compared to the rest of the fleet, even the larger CRJ-700s and CRJ-900s.

Then, in August of 2023, Delta sent out a directive that all flights under the Delta banner must have dual-class cabins (meaning first class cabins), come Dec. 1, 2023. That was the final blow to the CRJ-200 fleet at Delta, and almost immediately they removed all flights from the schedule after November 30, 2023. Originally, the final flight was from their hub in Salt Lake City to Cedar City, Utah, and back in the evening of Nov. 30, but the airline added one final flight from Salt Lake City to Elko at night on November 30, and the return leaves Elko early Friday morning.

A Delta spokesperson confirmed to AirlineGeeks that the last Delta-branded CRJ-200 operation is indeed flight 4320 from Elko to Salt Lake City on Friday morning.

A Delta CRJ-200 in Iron Mountain (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Although it was not a favorite among most travelers, some will miss the Barbie Jet as it truly was the entrance into the jet age for a lot of small communities that used to only receive propeller aircraft and it connected the U.S. like no other regional jet did before. Most of the routes the CRJ-200 served on are now scheduled to operate on the CRJ-700 or CRJ-900, with the exception of Moab, Utah, as SkyWest lost the EAS contract for this community and Nov. 30 also marked Delta’s last day in those markets.

And for those that still wish to fly on the CRJ-200 in the United States, there are multiple chances to do so as SkyWest still operates a number of them for United Express, and Air Wisconsin flies them for American Eagle, as well as smaller airlines like Contour Air still having the type too.

Joey Gerardi
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Author

  • Joey Gerardi

    Joe has always been interested in planes, for as long as he can remember. He grew up in Central New York during the early 2000s when US Airways Express turboprops ruled the skies. Being from a non-aviation family made it harder for him to be around planes and would only spend about three hours a month at the airport. He was so excited when he could drive by himself and the first thing he did with the license was get ice cream and go plane spotting for the entire day. When he has the time (and money) he likes to take spotting trips to any location worth a visit. He’s currently enrolled at Western Michigan University earning a degree in Aviation Management and Operations.

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