Panicked, I summoned an Uber for a ride from the Amtrak Station to JetSuiteX at Burbank Airport’s Hangar 2. It’s a 10-minute walk but since my train was delayed, time was not on my side. Or so I thought.
We pulled up to the entrance where a valet waited to park passenger cars. I ran past him to the check-in desk where I was expected but actually not late despite arriving 10 minutes before take-off to Mammoth.
I could have walked.
And, I still had time to visit the lounge and sit down for a bit before boarding.
Welcome to JetSuiteX, a way for people to enjoy the luxuries of private air travel at affordable prices. Really.
JetSuite is the fourth largest charter company in the nation that has specialized in private air travel for the last seven years. Since their larger Embraer 135 jets seat 30 people, the goal is to make this style of air travel available to everyone.
At the time I flew JetSuiteX, the round-trip price of my ticket was not too far off from a round-trip ticket to Mammoth on a commercial airline from San Diego.
Did you notice that I didn’t mention passing through security? That’s because JetSuiteX doesn’t need to fly in and out of TSA regulated airports (however, I’ve read the airline does have stringent seen and unseen security measures). JetSuiteX flights normally travel between private terminals which means that passengers avoid the chaos of arriving early to check-in, pass through security and board 45 minutes early.
When it comes to Mammoth, I’m told when weather is bad, flights can land at Bishop Airport unlike commercial airlines. And, given the fact that Mammoth is experiencing epic snow this year… an alternate airport can come in handy.
At the Hangar
It’s pretty chill in the hangar.
There is a small lounge with coffee, tea, water and snacks inside. While there is seating here, I thought the seats outside of the lounge were a better place to hang.
And, there’s foos ball there, too.
The boarding process was just as casual as check-in. As no more than 30 passengers fly with you, there’s no disruptive PA announcements or anything like that. Simply, it’s time to go.
On Board the Embraer 135
JetSuiteX feels like you’re flying on a friend’s plane. Our captain, clad in a colored company polo shirt and sunglasses on his head, was out in the passenger section chatting about the snow conditions in Mammoth, the plane and about how this job is the best he’s had.
We waited for the last two passengers to arrive. When you fly an airline like this, they’ll wait a little. Or, they’ll take-off a little early if everyone is onboard. The passengers ran up to the plane right at 4:20 pm, our take-off time, we applauded and it was all good.
The plane felt new (I read they are refurbished American Airlines jets that were handed over during the commercial airline’s bankruptcy) with nice finishes like a faux wood finish tray table. Top shelf liquor and a friendly flight attendant also helped set the tone. She passed around a basket of nice snacks from which we could grab however many we wanted.
Legroom-wise, I’d equate it to first class on a similarly-sized commercial airline plane. The lack of overhead bins gives the plane a more spacious feel. My bag slipped below the seat in front of me but larger carry-ons are checked in and returned promptly after landing.
The vibe on the plane between the passengers was unlike I’ve ever experienced. We were crossing the aisles to try to catch photos of the snowcapped mountains from both sides of the plane. People were chatting about what Mammoth tours and activities they had planned. There was even a little dog sitting on his mom’s lap the entire time (so I obviously had to strike up a conversation about their well-travelled pooch).
Landing into Mammoth near sunset made for spectacular sunsets. We were directed inside the airport and our bags met us there in lieu of the freezing cold outdoor baggage claim.
Nope, that’s not for JetSuiteX customers.
Why It’s a Game-Changer
JetSuiteX relieves a lot of the stresses involved in air travel. And, I’m a person who typically experiences very little stress at the airport between my Executive Platinum AAdvantage status, Global Entry and first class tickets. Even for me, JetSuiteX offers a better experience on shorter flights.
In addition to a nice plane and personable service, the amount of time you save by not needing to get to the airport hours in advance alone is a reason to fly JetSuiteX. My time is money. It also means more time on the slopes or at home before a flight.
I am traditionally not a fan of small planes but have grown used to them over the years. Commercial airlines fly similarly-sized jets to LAX daily, for example. I think with JetSuiteX, the last thing you’ll notice is the plane’s size.
What I’d Improve
The answer is easy: more flights (and perhaps proper glassware on board). For San Diegans, JetSuiteX currently flies out of Palomar Airport to Santa Monica, San Jose and Las Vegas on a limited schedule. San Diego International Airport is closer to my house but I would definitely drive up to Carlsbad to fly JetSuiteX. No question.
Have you flown JetSuiteX?