JSX’s brand initials stand for “joyful, simple experience,” and the airline has translated that mission statement into an experience taking the best of commercial aviation and the amenities of the well-heeled to a fleet of decked out Cessnas, Gulfstreams, and Bombardiers, mixing them into an air system that is easily booked and within reach for a wider consumer base.
The Dallas, Texas-based company runs Embraer EMB-145 jets that have been “plane-cycled” from the Mojave boneyard and turned into turnkey 30-seat war horses that fly up to three hours on point-to-point hops several times each day.
Its comfortable cabin set-up includes “red-glove service” by attendants in bright-red dresses offering colorful inflight cocktails and healthy meals, stellar Wi-Fi (literally—the airline uses Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by SpaceX), and a hearty welcome for passengers… and their pets.
Passengers board at private terminal lounges, where they can check in anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour before a flight (including 2-minute security screenings) and walk up the airstairs to their seats.
JSX flights are scheduled and offered at price points well below those of the competition. Passengers do not need to be members of a private aviation consortium or buy shares, and they do not need to charter their own transport.
For instance, a flight from Burbank Hollywood Airport (BUR) to Las Vegas (LAS) runs under $200 most days—often less than a commercial airline—without luggage fees. Similarly, a flight from the LA-area airport to Taos, New Mexico, will cost $229. Flights are point-to-point, and the airline does not offer connections per se.
“There are so many external things that we don’t control, and we want to make the things that we do control be as simple as possible,” says JSX CEO Alex Wilcox. That means using airports near but not necessarily in a large metro area or international airport, having a flexible, manageable fleet, and wrapping in the comforts passengers want within the fare without sacrificing the “wow” factor.
Traveling with Pets
JSX aims for that “sweet spot” for travelers who value their time and do not want to wait at a departure gate or spend many hours driving to their destination.
For families, it means a group can travel together to destinations such as Dallas, Denver, Vegas, or Miami without TSA hiccups, seating shuffles, airline delays, cabin starvation concerns, and unexpected fees. They can even bring their dog or pet peacock along, too.
Animal protection organizations have lauded the airline for its flexible policies—pets under 30 pounds go underneath the seat, and larger pets are also allowed on the plane with a seat of their own.
For business travelers, JSX’s use of the cutting-edge Starlink system is complimentary and continuous, starting in the airline’s terminal lounges and continuing at 35,000 feet. As a result, passengers can run a Zoom meeting without interruptions. As for downtime, YouTube and Netflix streaming should be no problem.
JSX flights are on its fleet of 37 Embraer 145 aircraft (with 40 more on the way) that have been refitted with 30 seats inside of a design that is rolling out fleet-wide, presenting all single seats on both aisles with a large platform for both sides to secure refreshments and other personal items.
Each seat has an electric outlet, seat pocket, and tray table. The seats on this narrow-body aircraft are not the thrones one might see on a small Cessna fitted for a royal family but are comfortable enough with the 34- to 36-inch pitch. Carry-ons go under the seat as overhead space has been eliminated (two checked bags are included in each fare).
Burgeoning Route Map
JSX started in 2016 with a flight from Buchanan Field in Contra Costa, CA, to Burbank-Hollywood and never looked back. Strongly built up in the Western U.S.—with 43 short-haul routes running from up and down the California coast to Colorado and its ski areas, south to Texas, as far south as Cabo San Lucas, as far east as Miami, and then north to the New York area—the widespread route system is expanding steadily and targeting underserved markets that show significant demand.
Qatar Airways is an investor, and partnerships with JetBlue and United Airlines bring loyalty benefits—JSX passengers can rack up rewards points that can be turned into TrueBlue mileage or Mileage Plus points. And those membership accounts can also pay for JSX flights.
“We are a luxury product,” says Wilcox, “but we are attainable. You might say a ‘mass’ luxury product, a Starbucks over a Dunkin’ Donuts. We keep it joyful and simple and that seems to work.”