A new airline has quietly taken its first flights, landing in Milwaukee with a few empty bottles of complimentary Evian but very little fanfare. OneJet’s nonstop service (you know, because passengers take one jet per trip) began on April 6, flying from Indianapolis to Milwaukee and the airline has since announced that it will add Pittsburgh to its list of destinations in early May.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based airline will use three seven-seat Hawker 400 aircraft to service the three airports, and the company provides a couple of perks that its bigger brothers can’t (including, say, a direct flight from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis). Eligible OneJet passengers will be whisked through the TSA PreCheck line at their departure airport. The airline also provides complimentary Evian and newspapers, and yes, it’s basically a charter service that you can book through Expedia. Terry Jones, the Travelocity founder turned OneJet advisor, told Travel Weekly:
We only fly if someone books. We don’t have to go. In a big hub-and-spoke operation, they have to. But we only fly when there is demand.
For that reason, the first passenger to buy a ticket on a OneJet flight might pay more than those who wait until the last minute. But that one ticket guarantees that the flight is going to go, so OneJet hints that it might drop fares to ensure that the plane is full. OneJet CEO Matthew Maguire said that the highest fare prices would be “two to three times the lowest coach fares” for connecting flights on other airlines.
Just for kicks, I ran an Expedia search for midweek flights from Indianapolis to Milwaukee. OneJet’s fare was $516.70, for a nonstop flight (and one that makes you feel like freaking Dr. Who, since it takes off at 8:15 a.m. AND lands at 8:15 a.m.). A one-stop Delta flight that also departed Indianapolis at 8:14 a.m. was $432.20, but it didn’t arrive in Milwaukee until 1:10 p.m. – after a two-plus hour layover in Atlanta. The price of convenience isn’t that much higher than the price of loitering at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.
So welcome to the skies, OneJet. If I had a reason to go to Pittsburgh, I’d go with you.