JSX debuts a 30-seat regional jet in a luxurious 1-1 configuration

Oct 27, 2020

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Have you ever flown on an American Eagle or United Express Embraer E145?

If so, chances are you don’t have too many fond memories of this regional jet. With 50 seats spread across more than 16 rows, it’s a tight squeeze. Both carriers operate the E145 in an all-coach 1-2 configuration. Fortunately, most flights operated by this Brazilian made plane are quite short.

But not all E145s are created equal. JSX, formerly JetSuiteX, is revolutionizing regional flying on the plane.

(Photo courtesy of JSX)

The carrier is set to debut a newly retrofitted E145 in a 30-seat, 1-1 configuration for its new intra-Texas routes. Instead of aisle seats on the starboard side of the plane, the JSX E145s will sport a leather-covered cocktail table and armrest, allowing for even more space and social distancing.

(Photo courtesy of JSX)

In addition, each seat features a well-above-average 35-inches of legroom and power outlets, too. Plus, the jet has no overhead bins. Suffice to say, these are some of the most premium E145s in the (commercial) skies.

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So where can you fly the JSX E145s?

Well, the carrier is set to launch a new route with these planes from Dallas Love Field (DAL) to Houston Hobby (HOU) on Nov. 20. Fares start at just $99 each way, and JSX will face intense competition from Southwest Airlines among others.

Southwest plans to operate 509 flights between its two busy Texas hubs (Love Field and Hobby) in November, according to Cirium. That number jumps to 942 in March 2021 (which assumes that demand has recovered from the pandemic-era lows).

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

JSX won’t just be competing with Southwest. American and United also fly between nearby Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston George Bush Intercontinental. In November, AA and UA are planning 846 flights between the two metro areas, according to Cirium.

So why choose JSX?

In addition to offering a more-premium onboard experience, JSX isn’t like most commercial carriers. It operates from private-jet terminals across the West Coast and Texas, allowing you to show up just 20 minutes before your flight and bypass the traditional TSA-style security. (There’s still a security check. It’s just more seamless than TSA.) When you land, you’ll be in your car within minutes of touchdown.

With a focus on serving destinations within 500 miles of each other, JSX saves you a lot of time compared to flying Southwest or driving.

I recently reviewed JSX from Las Vegas to Burbank right before the coronavirus halted travel. Even though my flight was delayed, I was impressed with my journey. Departing and arriving from a private-jet terminal (called a fixed-base operator or FBO) couldn’t have been easier.

Landing in Burbank (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Like the newly retrofitted E145 that JSX will fly in Texas, the E145 I flew in March was also in a 30-seat configuration. However, it was arranged in a 1-2 configuration. There was a large gap between the last row and the restroom.

Related: What it’s like flying JSX

You might be wondering why JSX didn’t densify these jets that can typically seat 50 passengers. It comes down to U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Roughly speaking, for FAA certification, most major commercial airlines abide by the FAA Part 121 regulations. These outline the operating rules and regulations for scheduled air carriers, like Delta or United.

Though JSX operates like a scheduled air carrier, it’s actually classified as an air taxi operator. As such, JSX follows the FAA’s Part 135 regulations, which are quite different from Part 121 regulations. One of the biggest passenger-facing implications of flying under Part 135 regulations is that planes must be capped at 30 seats.

FAA Part 135 regulations are usually used by charter airlines or smaller regional carriers, where the extra expense of maintaining a Part 121 operation wouldn’t be cost-effective.

Related: Why airlines work with regional carriers

So then why even operate such a big plane in the first place? Turns out, the Embraer 145 is currently available at low monthly lease rents. With fuel prices as low as they are, these aircraft make financial sense, particularly as the speed and range let them operate longer, thinner routes, compared to flying a turboprop.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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