With smaller, regional carriers making up half the air traffic at some of the country's biggest airports, how you previously prepared for a flight may no longer apply. Below, the new rules.
1. Bring food
Regional flights can be as long as four hours, and food isn't sold on most of them.
2. Leave nothing to chance
To avoid surprises, always find out what type of plane you'll be flying before you buy your ticket. An airline reservations agent or travel agent can tell you what aircraft you'll be on, but it's not always easily apparent when booking on the Web. Most online travel sites list the aircraft type after you've selected a flight but before you've entered your payment information. If you can't find the type of plane or aren't familiar with the model, call the airline directly.
3. Don't assume that you can bring aboard a carry-on
A wheelie that would fit easily into the overhead bin on a major airline probably won't get past the gate agent at a regional carrier whose bins are too small for anything other than a glorified purse. You'll have to check it at the gate (but won't be charged).
4. Consult before selecting your seat
The standard seating rules don't apply on regional jets. For instance, don't assume that a C or D seat is on the aisle. Choice spots on an Embraer 145 are the A seats—single seats on the left side. Some of the smallest planes don't even have exit rows—the escape route is through the front door.
5. You can usually avoid flying a regional, but it might not be easy
On many routes, airlines offer a mix of code-share regional services as well as flights on their own full-size jets. If there's no way to avoid regional service, try to book the largest aircraft. It's trite but true: The bigger planes do provide a smoother ride.