When we first realized we were going to D23 Expo 2017 the original plan was to drive. That would mean a long drive, but flexibility once we reached SoCal and lots of room for all the stuff we were sure to buy. As time went on that plan didn’t seem so appealing. With both Busy Bumble and I working full-time jobs with plenty of non-work commitments we knew we’d be exhausted before the convention even began. We’d seen some signs at our local private airport that there was a new service called JetSuiteX, advertising flights to Burbank on a private jet shuttle. With a quick look at prices we were sold and booked two round trip tickets.
From the very beginning the flight appealed to us. The airport is less than 30 minutes from where we live (no long trip out to the international airport), the airport had free and secure parking (I don’t have to pay $15 per day for parking? Sign me up!), no TSA lines (I’m all for not being nearly strip searched before my relaxing vacation), and the carrier promised superior customer service for the same price as a low-cost carrier out of the bigger airports. The flights do have some downsides: only 30 seats per plane, only two flights out to Burbank each day (7am and 5:30pm), no flights on Saturdays, and no carry-on luggage (you can bring up to 50 lbs in as much as two checked bags per person for free with a small, stowable item onboard). For our needs this was pretty good. Flights can be booked online or through their convenient mobile app and if you’re a frequent flyer with JetBlue you’ll be able to use your membership with JetSuiteX.
We’d learned that we did not have to arrive at the airport hours early: at least 30 minutes before takeoff! Since our morning flight left around the same time as we’d leave for work we treated the day as any other workday. A quick trip to the airport and we had about 30 minutes before we were set to leave. Check-in was a breeze (the usual photo ID, checked bags, and just a quick swipe of our onboard items to make sure we didn’t have explosives/drugs). JetSuiteX has their own lounge for guests, so we spent the next half hour relaxing in comfort and admiring the retro style of the place.
Everything is complimentary with JetSuiteX. In the lounge there were board games to pass the time, coffee and tea, pastries, soft drinks, bottled water, chips, and chocolates. There were even dog biscuits for those travelling with furry friends. Our flight had two dogs and they were incredibly well-behaved and the staff dealt with them conscientiously.
The plane itself, while small, it pretty much like a smaller version of a typical commercial airplane. Rows are set up with single seats on one side of the aisle and doubles on the other. Leg room is excellent and the seats themselves are like the upgraded economy/business class seats on most carriers. With a small number of passengers we only had one flight attendant, but rest assured we still had both a captain and a first officer in the cockpit.
The flight from Northern California to SoCal is roughly one hour, which doesn’t mean much shut-eye but does leave enough time for a snack. Like on the ground snacks and drinks are complimentary, including alcohol. We were going to get our money’s worth so we were bad and got a gin and tonic (me) and rum and Coke (Busy Bumble). You can ask for more than one drink, too. We were also given a selection of packaged snacks to choose from, including the option to take as much as we liked. I fell hard for the Apple Mango fruit bar, but Busy Bumble got hooked on the Dang Coconut Chips. For those who like to stay connected, each set has an outlet to charge electronics and the plane is equipped with wi-fi.
In Burbank we arrived at Hangar 2, which is north of the main airport. Staff inside were very helpful with retrieving luggage and giving directions. For those who use a service such as Uber or Lyft the staff even has instructions on how to direct them to the right place to pick up. Because we were headed all the way to Anaheim we opted to rent a car. Luckily JetSuiteX has a rental car service, Go Rentals, inside the hangar. We’d completed all out paperwork prior to arriving, so all we needed to do was inspect the vehicle and sign off for the keys. I’ve never had such a simple rental experience! What usually takes 15-20 minutes took about 5 minutes. The selection of vehicles skews towards luxury, but there are some Toyotas you can choose from. For our trip we ended up in a Mercedes-Benz!
This was probably the best flying experience I’ve had since I was a child. Everything was as promised: superb service (friendly staff, attentive care, efficient organization), welcoming comfort (yes I would like more tea, thank you!), and a return to how plane travel should be (I’m not a criminal in the making, I’m a paying customer who just wants to get to my destination safely and efficiently). Would I do it again? A resounding YES!!!