With JSX, travelers avoid the airport chaos that plagues air travel today.
Semi-private jet travel is the Goldilocks option: a bit pricier than flying commercial, but far cheaper than hiring a private jet. The best part? No airport chaos.
For weeks, airports around the world have been seeing more than 20,000 flight delays and 2,500 flight cancellations every day, according to FlightAware tracking data. Headlines report lost luggage and long queues. Read also : Air travel is getting worse. Here are 6 tips to make it less of a headache.. Experts say this will be the new normal for some time.
Sunday was a typical weekend travel day this summer, with 17 major US airports having at least 20% of their flights delayed. The worst offenders were Charlotte/Douglas International Airport and Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, where 38% and 32% of all flights were delayed, respectively.
With the rush of flying these days, it’s no surprise that many travelers are looking for an easier way to get from A to B.
For a growing number of them, semi-private jet travel has evolved into the Goldilocks option, the “just right” alternative that leverages most of the private travel experience – the ability to bypass crowded airport terminals and turn up 20 minutes before departure – and offers point-to-point flights for much less than travelers might have imagined.
Instead of flying with 180 other passengers in, say, an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737, a semi-private flight means sharing the cost of a private jet with up to 30 passengers. Every semi-private business operates differently, so the price and experience can vary quite a bit. Some companies have a subscription model, while others simply charge per flight.
“People either assume they have to fly on a major airline for a few hundred dollars or they have to take a private jet for tens of thousands of dollars. Historically, there was nothing in between, and that’s where we come in,” says Alex Wilcox, CEO of JSX, an innovative airline offering a semi-private “hop-on” service in 30-seat Embraer jets for as little as $199 per route.
“What if we could offer a private jet ground experience at a commercial price? That’s how we came up with JSX.”
JSX launched in 2016 and, like every other airline, big and small, experienced a collapse in its business in the early days of the pandemic. But it has recovered faster and more robustly than larger airlines, doubling its fleet size every year and adding a slew of new routes, including twice-daily flights between Phoenix and San Diego from mid-August. While JSX’s largest hubs are in the Southwest, the airline has expanded to the East Coast, including services between New York’s Westchester County and Miami.
In this summer of airport chaos, the JSX experience offers obvious appeal. You don’t have to arrive at the airport several hours earlier. Private terminals without the crowds. Legroom in Business Class. Free snacks and drinks. Two free checked bags. Contactless check-in.
While semi-private air travel has been around on a smaller scale for years, Wilcox says JSX is the first brand trying to do it nationally. “It’s a relatively new space,” he says. “That’s probably why lack of awareness is our number one problem.”
But make no mistake; awareness grows. During the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more travelers were discovering the benefits of bypassing the major airlines. “Since 2019, private and semi-private aviation has grown by 22% in terms of number of flights,” said Kathleen Bangs, spokeswoman for FlightAware and a former commercial airline pilot.
JSX flies Embraer jets with space for up to 30 passengers.
“During Covid, many people did not want to travel commercially just for fear of exposure,” adds Mark Baier, CEO of AviationManuals, a leading provider of manual aviation development services and safety management system software. “And lately a lot of people are traveling privately because of the complications of commercial air travel at the moment.”
“We’ve definitely seen an influx of new customers during Covid,” says Wilcox. “And now I think there’s a renewed willingness to look for alternative ways to get from point A to point B.”
The difference today, he says, is that growth is no longer driven by concerns about physical health. “Now it’s actually about mental health.”
Since JSX flies in and out from private terminals, passengers can walk straight from their car to the plane. “In the past, private terminals were reserved for the ultra-rich, who flew in private jets. We found a way to get up to 30 people to share a private jet, making it a lot more accessible,” says Wilcox.
Aside from giving you more legroom and not risking getting stuck in the dreaded middle seat, the semi-private in-flight experience is similar to any other commercial airline. “If you look at all commercial transport, the standards, the training, the safety requirements are really consistent,” says Baier. “So you don’t have to worry that safety and training standards will be different with a non-traditional carrier.”
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“The planes all have the same speed at the same altitude,” agrees Wilcox. “The big difference is that passengers see a real time saving because we are in these private terminals.”
As travelers are willing to try alternative airlines, Wilcox sees boom times ahead. “The Northeast is our most fertile ground for growth,” he says. “It is also the most demanding airspace in the world. But for me it is all the more opportunity for passengers to get away from huge mega-hub airports and into the small community airports.”