By Gregory Han
It was a few years ago when Design Milk was invited to tour the interior of a Gulfstream G600, a luxurious glimpse behind an aircraft serving the most privileged strata of domestic travelers. We never left the ground, the tour limited to a walk-thru of the numerous luxe amenities available to those orbiting the highest strata able afford flying in their own private living room on wings. Alas, dreams of traveling in such luxury have remained grounded then and forever by income. But if new West Coast boutique air carrier JetSuiteX has their way, the private jet experience will soon become a known reality for both seasoned flyers and those seeking weekend getaways.
It’s important to note JetSuiteX’s fleet of planes do not match the sumptuous private jet offerings and spacious cabin of the aforementioned Gulfstream (the carrier offers another level of private charter service meeting those expectations). Their fleet of Embraer 135 planes – a dependable, no-nonsense aircraft commonly employed by the likes of United for regional routes – offers a semi-private experience with some of the hallmarks of what makes flying a private jet so wonderfully memorable.
JetSuiteX planes are outfitted with just 30 leather seats in a 1-2 configuration, its modest layout of seats within results in a business class leg space experience for all 30 passengers. And because distances between destination are all fairly short, ergonomic discomforts are practically nil. The single seats on the left are particularly comfortable and fulfill some semblance of flying with privacy.
Once off the ground, travelers are afforded amenities including snacks of higher quality in comparison with most carriers, an assortment of drinks, charging plugs, free Wi-Fi, and an in-flight entertainment system designed to push content to your mobile device. Wood floors and the firm-supportive comforts of leather seating are notable upgrades, but otherwise, the neutral colored interior of the plane is fairly unremarkable.
Where JetSuiteX truly shines is the amazingly painless process between arriving, checking in, and finally flying out – a frictionless experience eliminating most of the hassles associated with waiting amongst crowds, and navigating security through a traditional airport experience. Instead of crowds angling to board at the expense of others, passengers relax seated on cushy leather couches, with snacks available gratis before departure from private terminals located within larger airports. Fellow passengers at our local Burbank airport hanger waited with the leisurely attitude of those relaxing poolside, reflecting the fact the distance between the check-in counter and the plane was measured in a few footsteps rather than the marathon distances of traditional airports.
With only six departure/destination locations currently available – Burbank, Concord, Las Vegas, Oakland, San Jose, and Mammoth – JetSuiteX currently remains a limited open secret amongst West Coast travelers. With prices ranging from $99-$199 each way (depending upon dates, whether a refundable ticket is purchased, and location of departure/arrival), flights are more expensive than flying discount flyers. But a referral program can bring down costs in $20 increments to allow friends and family to taste what it’s like to fly smaller, smarter, faster and more comfortably between cities.