I'm not saying I approve but those are all much smaller ships.
Do you know enough about the design of starships to be able to predict how small a ship would have to be in order to operate in a planetary atmosphere?
Could the Enteprise-D's battle section do it?
Could the Ambassador class do it?
Could the Excelsior class do it?
Could the Sovereign class do it?
Could the K'Tinga class do it?
There's a range of ship sizes in every century, but it's important to note that larger ships have proportionately more powerful engines. They may not be optimized for atmospheric flight, but that's a far cry from saying they're incapable of it.
Data point: Marok explicitly says this in DS9 when he chooses to use a flight of Bird of Preys instead of battle cruisers, arguing the cruisers are "too unwieldy." The operation in question turns out to involve a series of low-altitude strafing runs by the Klingon ships on Jem'hadar ground targets, implying that otherwise a Vorcha or K'Tinga class cruiser would be required to do this and being slower and less agile in an atmosphere would have a lot more difficulty getting out of dodge.
I still think it stretches belief but not to the same extent as something as big as the JJprise - thisnk speed boat vs ocean liner.
Considering we're talking about spaceships here, it's more like Space Shuttle
. Curious, then, that both of them are able to operate in an atmosphere despite the difference in size.
Actually, let's reflect on that for a moment. Every space ship ever made in history has had some capability to operate in an atmosphere; at a bare minimum, they've been equipped with parachutes and float devices. More advanced concepts have had wings and landing gear for glide landings, and SpaceX is developing capsules capable of propulsive landings at a prearranged landing site. Is it really all that strange to think that that same basic capability wouldn't be preserved and enhanced over two hundred years?