When the COVID-19 pandemic grounded flights around the country and big US airlines found themselves fighting for their corporate lives, JSX-Simply Fly saw an opportunity.
The short haul airline is the closest thing that some flyers may get to accessing a private jet, with the attendant bells and whistles – like avoiding long security lines – without the private jet price tag.
“We realized that all the things that people loved about us, they would love even more in a COVID-19 world,” says Alex Wilcox, CEO of JSX, a hop-on jet service that normally offers daily flights between Los Angeles (Burbank), Orange County (SNA), The Bay area (Concord and Oakland), Las Vegas, Phoenix and other seasonal locations.
The airline is currently rolling out those flights again after a COVID-19 pause and is listing newly available slots as they open on their website at jsx.com.
Wilcox points to their “Simply Fly” cleaning and no contact protocol as one of the most sterile in the air. “We are the first public US carrier to use SafePointe TSS (Temperature Screening System), which is a real time AI-enabled thermal screening system,” Wilcox says. “Passengers don’t have to stop to look in a camera or device but it accurately detects elevated body temperatures.”
He also points out that JSX flights carry only 30 fliers on board each aircraft with no middle seats or overhead bins. Because the airline uses small private airport facilities the service’s non-invasive, TSA-level security procedures don’t require passengers to take off shoes or use plastic bins and boarding only takes 20 minutes, which means fliers don’t have long waits in crowded airports.
Bags are also wiped down after minimal handling and customers can look forward to free snacks in flight with no need for credit card processing.
“It’s like hopping on your own private plane but with fares that are consistent with commercial carriers,” Wilcox says. “There are no gauntlets to run, as on a commercial carrier,” he adds. “And you will earn JetBlue True Blue Miles as well.”
One of JSXs investors is JetBlue, which saw early on the advantages of a short-haul jet service without a private jet price tag, something that is becoming more advantageous in a post-COVID world.
“We started with a small footprint on the West Coast,” Wilcox points out. “But now we are looking at other locations and some on the East Coast and in Texas. We really see this as a growth model. We have found that 90 percent of our customers would recommend us after flying, compared to 30 percent on most commercial airlines.”
The airline is in its 5th year and has 25 aircraft but Wilcox sees that as potentially growing. Currently, he says, Silicon Valley and Hollywood entertainment execs have been among their best customers in the business travel segment but he sees potential for growth with that clientele, especially on the East Coast.
“Business travelers are coming back,” he says. “We are finding that our current fliers are a real mix of business and leisure. As recovery rolls out across the country, that’s just going to increase.”