Just under two months ago, OneJet announced their inaugural service from Indianapolis International Airport to Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport. Utilizing a fleet of three Hawker Beechjet 400A business jets (more are on the way), OneJet is focusing heavily on the business markets that don't have point to point flights, which include former hub cities or cities that lost nonstop flights to key business centers. By offering these unique flights, business travelers are able to arrive at their destination sooner, rather than spending most of their day in the air or connecting in an out of the way hub. OneJet also schedules their aircraft for a morning departure and afternoon return, allowing for the aircraft to be free during the day. This, in turn, gives OneJet the opportunity to operate custom flights for corporate customers during aircraft downtime.
The corporate make-up of OneJet is quite interesting, with members coming from a variety of airlines and governement agencies, including American, British Airways, Delta, US Airways, US Departement of Transportation, Virgin America and others.
The OneJet Experience
OneJet Ticketing Lobby
Upon checking in at the OneJet counters, we were warmly greeted by Jonathan Snook, OneJet's Executive Advisor - Operations. Despite the early hour, we were not the first passengers to check-in for this inaugural service to Pittsburgh.
OneJet Kiosk/Ticketing Lobby
The check-in process was an intimate experience and a departure from the traditional check-in on a legacy airline. With two intuitive kiosks, check-in was completed in a flash. There was also the option to add a known traveler number to one's reservation, allowing for the opportunity to receive TSA's expedited screening scheme, PreCheck.
The OneJet gate area is immediately past the checkpoint
I was through the checkpoint in a matter of seconds, thanks to PreCheck. OneJet passengers walk just a matter of steps from the checkpoint to reach their gate.
OneJet Departure Gate
Operating from an old Frontier Airlines gate, OneJet appears to have the shortest walk of all carriers from check-in to the gate. The converted seating area offers ample power outlets and comfortable seating, the complete opposite of a traditional airline gate.
OneJet Departure Lounge
N497RC, a Hawker Beechjet 400A, arrives from Indianapolis
The boarding process was a complete 180 from what a passenger would experience on a larger carrier. Ten minutes prior to departure, the gate agent walked over to each of us, introducing herself and individually welcomed us aboard. Although OneJet is a commercial carrier, the experience up to this point truly felt like what you would experience when flying aboard a private jet.
Boarding the Inaugural OneJet flight to Pittsburgh
Hawker Beechcraft 400A Cabin (credit: OneJet)
As I stepped aboard the Hawker, I was impressed with the look of the cabin. Despite being a few years old, the interior had that "new plane smell" and it was spotless. Each seat had a cold bottle of Evian water and we were each offered the choice between the New York Times or Wall Street Journal when we boarded.
Complimentary Evian & Newspapers
All seats on OneJet are an aisle and window, allowing for passengers to enjoy the utmost comfort. Once settled in, the Captain came out to introduce himself and brief us on the flight, weather conditions in Pittsburgh and safety equipment aboard the aircraft. With no further questions, we taxied out for an on-time departure.
Lining up for Departure from Milwaukee
To my surprise, the doors to the flight deck remained open throughout the flight. I had figured that because this was a commercial flight, they would have to remain shut, though a OneJet executive later confirmed that they had a long discussion about the policy and decided to have an open flight deck.
Hawker 400A Flight Controls
With just six people aboard today, we were off the ground in a matter of seconds. Despite being smaller than a traditional commercial jet, the climb-out was quite smooth. It wasn't long before we were at 39,000 feet.
Enjoying My Office at 39,000 feet
As with all good things, they must come to an end. The one hour flight flew by and moments later, we began to see Pittsburgh International Airport in the distance.
Pittsburgh International Airport
Our flight was cleared for an immediately landing and we began the descent from 10,000 feet in a matter of seconds. We were treated to a very smooth landing, and for the inner #AvGeek, great views of the "road ahead" once on the ground.
Looking Down the Arrival Runway in Pittsburgh
We had a short taxi to the gate and upon exiting the aircraft, received a very nice welcome from additional OneJet employees, all who were quite excited to see the arrival of the inaugural flight.
N497RC from the jetbridge
Inside the gate area, we got a chance to meet with Matthew Maguire, CEO of OneJet. Mr. Maguire was happy to answer our questions and share more on the philosphy of the airline, as well as expansion plans. He indicated that service to Pittsburgh was one of the most requested destinations from Milwaukee and this was the first flight since Frontier had stopped flying the route in 2012. OneJet also planned to launch service from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh, a route not flown since US Airways ended service in 2009.
Mr. Maguire continued by saying that OneJet is planing to add several new destinations, approximately every six weeks. With an optimum stage length of one hour or less, you can kind of build an idea of where they may be expanding. The airline is using demand data from markets that used to have nonstop service, as well as current feedback from corporate clients, to help shape future routes. Though he indicated that much of their spotlight is on the east coast, the idea of routes in the midwest was certainly not dismissed.
Final Thoughts/How to Book
For an airline that I knew very little of until taking the inaugural, I was extremely pleased with the experience. Throughout the journey, I truly felt as though I was flying aboard a private jet, despite Lesley Conzelman, OneJet's Senior Vice President, Sales and Distribution, chiming in that OneJet's goal is not to be a luxury product, but a utility for corporate traelers and those looking to break away from the larger carriers.
OneJet is currently bookable on Expedia, as well as a variety of corporate travel platforms, such as the American Express Business Travel platform, Carlson Wagonlit, and BCD. Ms. Conzelman did note that inventory may be slightly restricted during their introductory period, though they plan to open up more once they complete their soft launch.
I would highly recommend flying OneJet if you are looking to travel nonstop between the cities they currently serve. The normal stress of flying a commercial airline was not present and I truly felt as if I was flying pre 9/11.
Disclaimer: This ticket and all costs on this trip were paid for by myself. I was not paid by OneJet or any other group for this post. All thoughts are mine.