I’m super late to the game, but I can now say I’ve found a jet I’ll go out of my way for. The Airbus A220, which started life as the Bombardier C Series (it’s complicated) is a short haul jet that makes you feel like you’re in a bigger, better jet.

After years of the plane eluding my itineraries, I finally managed to fly one this week and it’s a rare case where I think passengers can feel the difference.

With operators in the North America including Air Canada, Delta and JetBlue, as well as across Europe with airlines like Swiss and Air France — and Asia with Korean Air, there are plenty of chances to give it a try. Here’s a few reasons why I think you should.

Massive Windows

Ok, windows aren’t going to change the date, time or route you fly, but I’ll start with this softball. They’re a nice perk and make the joys of flying more joyous.

I had an early morning flight switching timezones from darkness into light, and got to appreciate how these big windows make flying more beautiful. Sound hyperbolic? Have a look at this no filter (seriously) of the journey.

Wider Seats Better Comfort

Flying short haul these days can become an exercise in torture. Even the most renowned legacy airlines cut seat margins to levels which test how much humans really want to go somewhere.

From the days of 32” of legroom as standard, we now have 29” in many short haul planes. For seat width, 18.5” became 17” at a push! But not on the A220! On the Swiss A220-300 I was on, seats were 18.5” wide, with at least 30” of legroom.

My seat had 32” and it was far more comfortable in economy than the business class seat from a European competitor I flew in on, aboard their Airbus A320.

Because of the dimensions of the plane, there’s no incentive for airlines to make the seats narrower. A 3-2 layout on this plane doesn’t have the width to become 3-3, so there’s no reason to make the experience “worse”. I even found these slimline seats to be rather comfortable and genuinely ergonomic.

Better Air And Cabin Environment

The Airbus A220 is part of this newer series of jets which have better air, and slightly better pressurization. Helping this case, the ceilings are higher, which gives more of a luxury feel — or at least less panic attack — than most small jets.

I wouldn’t always say this, but I think you can truly feel the better pressurization of the plane and it feels less fatiguing than others, the same way an Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 does.

Bins Designed For Bags

I’ve often wondered “who designs these things” when looking at aircraft storage. Despite a world of roller bags, there was never any space to efficiently store them in the cabin until the last few years.

The A220 is a fantastic iteration of this, which allows you to place full sized carry ons in overhead bins on their side, allowing for infinitely more bags to be stored in a single bin.

For routes which feature checked baggage averse travelers, this allows everyone to put their bag in the overhead bin nearest their seat without any drama.

Our cabin was full of business travelers and I couldn’t see anyone having storage issues. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that. Flying back in business class on a European competitor which uses the old bins, I could barely find space for my roller bag.

Worth A Look

Sometimes, particularly for leisure trips, there’s a bit of wiggle room. Do I want to leave at 10 or 11? This airport, or that airport?! For me, I’ll actively seek to fly the Airbus A220 whenever it’s available.

If I’m using Google Flights to price out flight and see one airline has an A220 at the same price of another airline using an antiquated jet, I would legitimately consider that to be a sale driver. I’m a fan, and I think if you have a chance to fly this up and coming short haul beast, you will be too.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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4 Comments

  1. You had me until slimline. I adore the better seat width and dearly want to fly the A220 but slimline seats literally make me wince just thinking about past experiences.

  2. Sad that this aircraft when in Bombardier’s control as the C-Series was falsely targeted by Boeing and the US Trade Department with punitive tariffs. Even at one point in the aircraft’s development Airbus made disparaging comments. It caused them it introduce the A320neo. This was all strategic tactics to maintain a duopoly in aerospace at to the determent to Canada developing it’s own Civil aerospace industry. Boeing and Airbus have recently set aside their quarrels with each other as China and COMAC come calling.

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