Czech Airlines is the national carrier of the Czech Republic and has a mixed fleet of turboprops and jets. As of today, Czech Airlines also has one aircraft for long-haul flights. Nevertheless, the backbone of the fleet are small regional jets. While this review features the incredible small ATR 42, I’ll come up with another review featuring an Airbus A319 in the future!
When I initially booked my return flight from Brussels to Prague, both flights were to be operated by an Airbus A319 aircraft.
Due to the low demand on flights to Brussels, Czech Airlines decided to make a surprising change. Instead of the Airbus A319, the flight was operated by an ATR 42, which is not only way small, but also way slower, making the flight last more than two hours.
As an aircraft enthusiast, I was happy about the change anyway as I was able to review a second aircraft type, which usually only flies extremely short flights for Czech Airlines.
The Czech Airlines ATR 42 comes with a 2-2 configuration with less than ten rows. You are entering the aircraft from behind, where you can also find the toilet and the luggage area (which is not accessible from the inside).
It’s worth noting that the first row of the aircraft is backwards facing, which means that you’ll have a very “special” experience on these seats.
Czech Airlines also has a Business Class in its ATR 42 aircrafts, which you can find in the last row (the first row after entering the aircraft). The cloth seats in the Czech Airlines ATR 42 happen to be quite comfortable.
Neither the seat width nor the seat pitch are very good, but that’s nothing I would expect in an aircraft, which is supposed to fly on flights below the one-hour mark. It’s also worth noting that this flight with Czech Airlines was one of the best loudest I ever “enjoyed”.
While Czech Airlines is a member of SkyTeam and by no means “low cost”, the airline yet offers limited service. This means that there are neither drinks nor snacks available free of charge on regional or domestic flights.
The menu in the regional Economy Class (especially on the ATR) is limited to a few snacks, which come with elevated, but not outrageous prices. I had a snickers and a coke zero, which was served in can (something I appreciate as it usually tastes better that way).
At this point, I’d also like to positively mention the crew, which was not really warm, but reasonable friendly (which I don’t find to be the norm in Eastern Europe).
Czech Airlines offers limited entertainment choices on board the ATR 42.
Upon entering the aircraft I spotted a selection of Czech newspapers, but I’m not sure if these were also available for Economy passengers or just for Business Class guests. Other than that, there is an average board magazine, which I didn’t spend too much time with.
As you most likely expected, there is no other entertainment on board the Czech Airlines ATR 42 as the plane neither has Wi-Fi nor any screens.
For an airline enthusiast, flying the Czech Airlines ATR 42 definitely is an experience. While the seats are reasonable comfortable, the seat pitch is a little tight. The catering options are limited and come with an extra charge and the entertainment available is nothing to write home about. Suffice said, Czech Airlines definitely is no “great” carrier, especially no in the very loud and slow ATR 42. Nevertheless, the staff was reasonably friendly and I had some work to do anyway, making this flight relatively enjoyable. If you are thinking about flying Czech Airlines, I’d recommend checking out whether your flight is operated by an Airbus aircraft, which I’ll review later!