Scheduled, private jet service may be the best alternative for small cities that no longer have nonstop routes from bigger commercial airlines that abandoned them.
With that in mind, a who’s who of former DOT, TSA, airline, online travel and travel agency executives are serving as advisors to a new scheduled, private jet service, OneJet, which is flying routes — or will soon do so — in markets such as Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.
CEO Matt Maguire said a major investment bank in New York, the former CEO of a legacy airline, and a former C-level Boeing executive are among the financial backers of U.S. East Coast-oriented OneJet, which uses six-seat Hawker 400 executive jets and is currently operated by Pentastar Aviation.
Among the advisors to the startup airline service are former TSA chief John Pistole; former Cessna CEO Jack Pelton; Travelocity founder Terry Jones; former Virgin America CEO Fred Reid; Danny Hood, former president, Americas, BCD Travel, and others.
A couple of years in the making, Indianapolis-based OneJet debuted in early April with four days per week service between Milwaukee and Indianapolis. OneJet announced last week that it will add nonstop service from Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport to Pittsburgh International Airport starting May 4 and nonstop service from Indianapolis International Airport to Pittsburgh on May 11.is set to begin May 11.
Travelocity founder Terry Jones said OneJet uses algorithms to competitively prices its fares to fill its six-seat jet. Unlike what is usually the case with commercial airlines, Jones said the first ticket sold on each flight tends to be the highest fare and airfares drop closer to the departure date to fill the plane.
OneJet is committed to flying the route even if only one person is booked for the flight, said CEO Maguire, adding that OneJet’s highest fares are 2.5 times the lowest connecting fare in coach from a commercial airline.
OneJet’s flights can be booked on Expedia and through BCD Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, all of which are preferred partners. There are other online and travel agency outlets, as well.
Expedia currently shows a OneJet fare from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh on May 13 for $283 one-way, and Expedia states there are five tickets left. OneJet is the only airline flying nonstop service between the two cities.
US Airways offers a one-way flight Indianapolis-Pittsburgh flights, with a 70-minute layover in Charlotte, for $160.
Travelers check in for OneJet flights through airport kiosks and can go through TSA Precheck, if eligible. There is no checked baggage; passengers are allowed to bring onboard one personal item and a carry-on bag (14 inches x 9 inches x 22 inches).
OneJet’s strategy is to attract corporate accounts, filling a gap for business travelers that larger airlines have decided to ignore.