Note: We flew OneJet Plus and wrote this piece right before the airline abruptly went belly up. Their “indefinite operational hold” provided no warning to customers, on-ground employees, or airports. The airline’s end stranded travelers across their network, including at least one flyer in Kansas City who had to make last-minute, costly alternate arrangements via a different airline. While we’ve consistently found ourselves to be quite fond of the unique OneJet product, the best service is always the one you can rely on.
That said, we’ve decided to move forward with this piece because OneJet’s product was excellent, and it leaves a void. Here’s hoping another cheeky upstart will step forward to fill the gap in service between mid-sized cities. So without further adieu, a flight review for a defunct airline.
OneJet Plus Review- Circa mid-2018:
Raise your hand if you get excited at the prospect of flying on an E-145. Yeah, Ok. Non-starter for most folks. I completely understand. Just the mention of an ERJ throws me back to a grim period in my own life where I was flying 145s far too often via the Continental brand. For many, the ERJ conjures up bad memories. But what if I told you the spunky little airline upstart OneJet was doing their damndest to make lemonade out of these otherwise sour planes?
Remember OneJet? We flew on them in 2015 and were among the first outlets to offer up a review. Don’t care to read the old article? No problem. In a sentence: It was love at first flight. When I first heard the company planned to offer a net-new ERJ product alongside their established, plush, and well-received Hawker 400s, I was solidly skeptical. If the Hawker 400 is a Mercedes, then the ERJ is an AMC Gremlin.
A dash of skepticism is a good thing, but that’s no reason to be wholly dismissive. To my satisfaction, the airline somewhat recently launched OneJet Plus service between my home airport in Kansas City, MO, and Pittsburgh, PA. Shortly after launch, I found an excuse for an excursion. As the weeks counted down, I was actually looking forward to this ERJ flight. 2018 is just plane weird (pun intended).
OneJet Plus- At The Airport:
OneJet Plus operates from gate 61 here in Kansas City. Our airport has two terminals in operation. Between the two, there are multiple disconnected gate areas. The outdated airport design equates to disparate experiences by gate area. I’m sorry to say this high-class airline is operating out of a “bad” neighborhood. Despite OneJet being an early PreCheck adopter, security for their gate area doesn’t have it. Good news? This is a sleepy gate cluster shared with Air Canada and a few United flights. It took just shy of seven minutes to clear security via the watered down, not-quite-pre “expedited security.” For those not in the know, “expedited security” is an attempt to appease paid and vetted trusted travelers in areas where the standard PreCheck services don’t exist.
Sitting and waiting for our flight to board, I couldn’t shake the impression that OneJet’s presence at gate 61 seemed an afterthought. It’s certainly not my intent to come off as pretentious, but our airport’s physical limitations detract from the overall passenger experience before even stepping on the plane. What a relief that Kansas city will soon have a unified terminal… Maybe.
While waiting to board our flight, the gate agent made an announcement inviting passengers to download the Gogo Vision app. She continued by explaining that through the app, passengers could take advantage of a wide range of in-flight entertainment options. We happily complied.
OneJet does not yet have a mobile app, but I sent my boarding pass to my e-mail which the agent was able to scan successfully.
OneJet Plus- Cabin:
Stepping on board, it becomes crystal clear that the E-145s, while not as “private” as the Hawkers, still come close to the same experience. The cabin is bright and due to far less cabin density, light travels better. My fiance and I were two of eight passengers on our flight to Pittsburgh. OneJet’s E-145s have seating for thirty in a one-size-fits-all extended legroom configuration. The legroom was quite nice, almost to a fault. Indeed, my fiance had a hard time reaching items from the seat pocket in front of her. #FirstWorldProblems, right?
We appreciated OneJet’s copious legroom, but the cabin is in a three-abreast layout. As a result, the same seat width that one would expect on other E-145 operators. I couldn’t help thinking that a two-abreast cabin with less (but still above average) legroom might be an even more attractive concept. In the current layout, there is a large amount of unused space on the port side forward of the first row. Better usage of space is perhaps something to consider as the company looks to mature their model and operation.
OneJet Plus- In-Flight Service Connectivity and Entertainment:
We found the in-flight service to be generous and attentive. Snack options included what one might expect in a domestic business cabin. The beverage list sported a wide variety of complementary adult and soft options. As we don’t drink alcohol, we had no basis for determining which, if any, of the adult beverages were “good.”
As noted above, OneJet sports the GoGo vision in-flight entertainment suite. We found this to be another particularly generous offering. All content was complimentary. Options included a few dozen movies spanning various genres as well as recent seasons for popular TV shows. There was far too much high-quality content for our short two-hour flight.
OneJet provides complimentary in-flight connectivity as well. This product, GoGo ATG (aircraft to ground) is limited in its capability, being older connectivity technology. That said, it seemed an appropriate (and likely cost-effective) option for a plane carrying a maximum of 30 passengers. With a bit of patience, the speed was workable. For those who geek out on speed tests, Speedtest.net results averaged around 2 Mbps down and about 0.25 Mbps up. Fast.com gave results typically around 1.6 Mbps. Results were surprisingly consistent throughout the flight.
OneJet Plus Final Thoughts:
I never expected that I would get excited at the prospect of flying on an E-145, but OneJet has taken the experience to a whole new level. At $119 each for the one-way, it was priced to compete with the big guys. Knowing what I know now, I would happily pay more for this flight should I find myself needing to get back to Pittsburgh. OneJet’s model is one where they want to carve out business with non-stop service between mid-sized cities where competition doesn’t exist. As a Midwesterner, that is music to my ears and something that I can get behind. The generous amenities are icing on the cake.
I’ve often said AvGeeks should fly new airlines and old planes as often as they can. Both tend to disappear before their time in this rough industry. We loved OneJet, what they stood for, and what they were trying to do. While they couldn’t prove the model, I like to think someone else out there just might have the Moxy to make it happen.