I recently flew the regional airline OneJet from Pittsburgh to Louisville, and I was so happy with the whole experience that I just had to write about it.
If you travel away from Pittsburgh for work as much as I do, you're probably tired of many of the routines of air travel: lining up 30 minutes before boarding just so you can have a shot at putting your suitcase in the overhead bin, squeezing into the middle seat, not being able to fly anywhere nonstop from Pittsburgh, and in general feeling like cattle being herded along from point A to point B.
The OneJet experience is pretty much the antithesis of traditional air travel- meaning it actually just might make you enjoy flying again.
Can All Flights Be Like OneJet?
My trip with OneJet started with the only somewhat negative thing I can say about the whole experience: I have TSA pre-check and in the dozens of flights I've taken since getting it, I have always been selected for it. However, I didn't get TSA pre-check on my OneJet boarding pass. I went to the check-in counter at the Pittsburgh airport to ask about it, and they did mention that they had been having several issues with their passengers not being selected for it. I have a suspicion that the reason might be that the OneJet booking system doesn't have a space for entering your middle name, and my middle name is on my passport and my known traveler ID for TSA pre-check. When I book with OneJet again, I will try entering both my first and middle name in the “first name” field in the booking system.
Despite not having TSA pre-check for my recent flight, I was able to go through the first-class security lane- all OneJet passengers can go through this lane. The first-class line was even shorter than the TSA pre-check line, so the only minor annoyance was having to take my shoes off and laptop out. (A statement like this is truly showing how much I fly.)
The OneJet gate at the Pittsburgh airport is all the way at the end of the D terminal, which means it is nice and quiet and you can easily find a seat. When I walked up and sat down, one of the gate agents came up to me and asked for my name, and told me boarding would begin in a few minutes. All of the staff were so nice and gave personal attention to everyone- what a difference from other airlines!
Almost Like Flying on a Private Jet
Before boarding I grabbed a granola bar and water from the counter at the gate. OneJet planes are 8-seater planes and therefore it's just you and the pilots on board- no flight attendants and no food or beverage service. But it was really nice touch to have the drinks and snacks available at the gate for you to take on the plane.
On my flight it was just myself and two other people, meaning there was more than enough space to spread out. Some of the seats face backwards, but as there are no assigned seats you can choose whether you'd like a forward-facing or backward-facing seat.
One word of warning: one of the seats doubles as the bathroom seat. This doesn't make for very much privacy in the facilities, so you should definitely make sure to use the restroom before boarding.
The flight itself was comfortable and brief. Free wi-fi was available, which was definitely a plus, and a monitor at the front of the plane showed stats from the flight including altitude, time to destination, and weather conditions.
As there are no overhead bins, if you have a larger carry-on that won't fit in your lap, you'll have to gate check it. Normally on larger, traditional aircraft, this is somewhat annoying as it results in an extra 10-15 minutes of waiting for your bag after the flight. However, on OneJet with a maximum of eight passengers, your wait time is a matter of seconds to a minute or two.
Is OneJet Worth It?
Perhaps my favorite thing of all about OneJet is that they fly nonstop from Pittsburgh to destinations that larger airlines just don't. Personally, I have to travel from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati and Louisville a lot. Instead of a 5-hour drive to Cincinnati, I can now take a one-hour flight. To reach Louisville I would normally fly United which requires a layover in Chicago and a 7-hour trip time, or worse, make the 7-8 hour drive. The OneJet flight from Pittsburgh to Louisville is also a convenient one hour length.
But what about the ticket price? The fares are pretty reasonable considering the personal experience that you get, the upgraded amenities, and that the flights are all nonstop. Fares range from about $350 for a roundtrip Pittsburgh-Cincinnati flight to about $600 for a roundtrip Pittsburgh-Hartford flight- perhaps a bit high for every day travel, but perfect for those who head out on business trips like I do.
I can't say enough good things about OneJet and I look forward to flying them again in the future. Right now their destinations include Cincinnati, Hartford, Indianapolis, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee, with additional routes opening up all the time.
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