Skip to content

TPG exclusive: JSX CEO announces new routes and discusses the future of semiprivate jet travel

Feb. 10, 2021
8 min read
JSX Tail
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

JSX helped pioneer the semiprivate jet travel space. Operating out of private jet terminals and offering fares starting at $89, it opened up a once far-fetched way of flying to the masses -- or at least more of a critical mass. Flying this way, instead of out of a traditional airport terminal, allows you to arrive at the airport just 20 minutes before the flight and skip crowded terminals and security lines.

That's always a nice perk, but it arguably matters more now than ever. Then the in-flight experience features a spacious cabin and complimentary snacks and drinks.

However, a lot has changed since the airline first launched in 2016, including a rebrand from JetSuiteX. The airline's fleet has grown significantly in size and the route network has expanded to a range of destinations across the West Coast and Texas.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

TPG recently spoke with JSX's co-founder and CEO Alex Wilcox, who previously helped revolutionize the airline industry as JetBlue's second-ever employee. With TPG, he discussed how COVID-19 has affected the airline, its growth plans and more.

Here's what we learned.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Impact of coronavirus

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the airline industry, including on JSX. "March and April were the slowest we've seen since we started flying," Wilcox explained. However, JSX rebounded quickly and its yields are now close to what they were pre-pandemic.

While commercial air travel plummeted, there has been a surge in demand for private jet travel.

So, JSX benefited from essentially being a more affordable hybrid between the two. Also, Wilcox told us that the charter side of its business has grown since the outset of the pandemic. Although JSX parked some of its planes during 2020, none were put into long-term storage, unlike the major airlines, and most are now back in service.

(Photo by Zach Griff/TPG)

Wilcox believes that the key driver of JSX's rebound is its differentiated passenger experience.

"People are definitely willing to pay us a bit more than they might pay another carrier to get that crowd-free experience," Wilcox told TPG. JSX operates from private terminals, so passengers don't need to worry about long check-in lines, traditional TSA security screenings or potentially crowded terminals. "This is the only air carrier that I know of that tells you not to get to the airport early," Wilcox said. "Just show up 20 minutes before your flight and get on and go."

In response to the pandemic, JSX heightened its safety protocols via its "Simpli-Fly" program. Features of the program include increased aircraft and lounge sterilization, advanced air circulation, AI-based thermal scanning to detect elevated body temperatures and contactless security that doesn't require you to take your shoes off or put your stuff in bins.

Related: The cheapest ways to get the private jet experience

Expansion plans

Despite the pandemic, JSX is still growing. Like most of the larger airlines, JSX shifted its focus more to leisure markets.

In our exclusive interview, Wilcox announced to TPG that the airline would launch a pop-up flight from Dallas Love Field (DAL) to Cabo San Lucas (SJD). The route will from March 11-14 and April 1-5.

Other recent route additions from Texas include Dallas to Las Vegas (LAS), Dallas to Lajitas/Big Bend (T89) and expanded service between Dallas Love and Houston Hobby (HOU). Over the summer, JSX also teamed up with North Carolina's Pinehurst Resort to offer all-inclusive golf getaways, including nonstop flights from Dallas and Westchester County Airport (HPN) in New York.

(Photo courtesy of JSX)

In the western region, JSX recently added seasonal flights from Burbank (BUR) and Oakland (OAK) to Salt Lake City (SLC). Additionally, it will fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to Cabo San Lucas from Feb. 11-15, March 4-7 and March 18-21. The pop-up flights to Mexico mark JSX’s first foray into international flight service in 2021.

Although these were the only routes Wilcox was ready to announce, he said more route additions are in the works. Additionally, he hopes that the airline will expand to the East Coast, though he did not specify a precise timeframe.

Despite this growth, Wilcox says that the passenger experience won't be compromised. Planes will continue to have just 30 seats, so flights won't become crowded. Additionally, the lounges aren't getting more crowded since it's still relatively low-frequency flying. "We could have 200 airplanes out there flying eight flights a day each and the experience for each one of those flights would still be the same special crowd-free experience," Wilcox explained. "For us, it's more about the ground experience than onboard experience, even though the onboard experience is awesome."

That said, there are no plans to start charging for inflight snacks or cocktails either.

Related: Regional airline JSX expands east, backed by Qatar investment

JSX offers free snacks and drinks. (Photo by Zach Griff/TPG)

Reliability

In JSX's early days, on-time performance wasn't its strongest suit. Naturally, having a smaller fleet meant there were fewer spare planes, so mechanical delays could last longer and there could be more cancellations. However, Wilcox was proud to share that reliability has improved significantly since then and that the airline has completed 99.6% of its flights during the last six months.

"We were small and getting a lot of attention, so I think a couple of delays that we had got outsized attention, but our reliability and our on-time performance are on the top of the charts now compared to any air carrier," Wilcox explained. This is due in part to the airline having more spare planes now and getting to know their fleet better.

Wilcox shared with us that the airline does have protocols for compensating passengers for significant delays. For instance, a TPG staffer once received a $100 voucher after a two-hour delay on JSX. In certain circumstances, JSX may even rebook passengers on other airlines.

Related: What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled?

Fleet plans

JSX flies a mix of Embraer E135 and E145 aircraft. However, these planes are unlike any you may have flown on an airline such as American Eagle or United Express.

Regardless of which aircraft type you fly, it will feature a much more spacious configuration than with similar planes on other airlines. They're each outfitted with 30 seats, typically arranged in a 1-2 configuration, with 36 inches of legroom and power outlets in each row. Plus, the jets don't have overhead bins, allowing for more headroom.

(Photo courtesy of JSX)

However, if you're flying on an E145 intra-Texas, you'll fly on JSX's newly configured planes, featuring an even more spacious 1-1 configuration. In other words, every seat offers direct access to both the window and aisle — no seatmates.

Given that these planes still have the same total seat count, Wilcox shared, "the planes we acquire going forward will likely be in that configuration." Wilcox explained that JSX would not consider a multi-cabin configuration since that would create a "second class."

JSX was planning to roll out inflight Wi-Fi across its fleet in 2021, but that's being pushed back to the end of 2022, reportedly due to supplier issues. Fortunately, JSX flights are traditionally pretty short to begin with, so this shouldn't make a major experience difference for flyers.

Loyalty program and partnerships

JSX currently has a codeshare agreement with just one airline: JetBlue.

Passengers can earn a flat 150 TrueBlue points on JSX "Hop-On "fares and 250 TrueBlue points on "All-In" fares (no points for private charters) — worth about $1.95 and $3.25, respectively, according to TPG valuations. The partnership also allows you to book JSX flights on JetBlue's website, but you can't redeem points for them. You can't currently book a JetBlue flight connecting to a JSX flight on one itinerary, though that may change down the line.

Given the lackluster earning rates and no redemption possibilities, we asked Wilcox if JSX has plans to launch its own loyalty program. While he wasn't able to share many details, he did confirm that the airline has its own membership program in the works. He also mentioned that it wouldn't replace the JetBlue partnership, so flyers would have a choice of which program they would like to participate in.

For more on private and semiprivate jet travel experiences, see:

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of JSX)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees