PILATUS PC-12NG
Source: Surf Air.

Update July 2021: Hassle-Free Airlines as Alternatives to Flying as a Passenger on Commercial Airlines

Within the past decade or so, an era was ushered in where earning frequent flier loyalty program miles and retaining elite level status likely became even more difficult for you — enough so that when combined with higher airfares, crowds, rude people, and the inconsistency of security checkpoints at airports, you probably had vowed to extricate yourself from your persistent dedication and loyalty to your favorite airline.

You might even be wary and weary of traveling via commercial airlines altogether.

Update July 2021: Hassle-Free Airlines as Alternatives to Flying as a Passenger on Commercial Airlines

Although there are some supposed technologies possibly in the works for the future — but not the immediate future — you might be wondering if you have options other than traveling by private vehicle, bus, train, or ship.

Smaller airlines and air taxi services which offer viable alternatives to commercial air travel were increasing in number — but they had been decreasing in number in the past few years chiefly because of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Casualties include:

“…the United States of America has not suddenly disbanded the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA,” I wrote in this article on Wednesday, June 2, 2010 pertaining to SeaPort Airlines, which at that time was operating for almost two years since its official launch in June of 2008 with a route between Portland and Seattle, “but there is at least one airline on which one can fly within the United States without having to pass through airport security. Imagine not having to wait in long lines, take your shoes off, or be detained for a secondary screening — and you may also enjoy the benefit of reduced flight delays while you are free to carry your drink on-board the aircraft.”

Advantages to Hassle-Free Airlines

Advantages to flying as a passenger with these airlines typically include:

  • Not having to pass through a security checkpoint — meaning that you can arrive later for your flight and board the airplane within mere minutes
  • Travel between smaller airports, which could mean greater flexibility of routes, free parking, and flights which have a better chance of departing and arriving on time
  • More flight options if the airline is flexible with its flight schedule
  • The airports may be located closer to your origination or final destination
  • Fewer people means a more “private” experience

Disadvantages to Hassle-Free Airlines

Disadvantages to flying as a passenger with these airlines typically include:

  • Smaller airports could mean fewer services available — such as rental car facilities and restaurants
  • The airports could be located farther from your origination or final destination
  • Long-haul flights are generally not possible
  • Increased chances of cancelled or delayed flights due to inclement weather, as smaller airplanes are used
  • Fewer flight options if the airline is not flexible with its flight schedule
  • Cost — especially when a special deal is not available — which includes fees such as for wait time

Hassle-Free Airlines Which are Still Operating

Let us cover four airlines a little more in depth in alphabetical order — and hover your cursor over subheads as well as the bold words for links:

JSX

1341 West Mockingbird Lane
#600e
Dallas, Texas 75247
1-800-435-9579

Parking at the airports JSX serves varies; but valet parking is available for a fee at most locations, and customers are encouraged to be dropped off at the designated terminal or fixed-based operator instead of parking for ease and convenience. Hop On fares are entitled to 2 bags weighing 50 pounds each at no additional cost. All In fares are permitted 3 bags at 50 pounds each. Extra or overweight baggage will be subject to additional fees. A change or cancellation fee of $50.00 applies to Hop On fares. When a customer cancels, their Hop On fares are refunded to future JSX credit; but All In fares are refundable to the original form of payment.

You can earn 250 JetBlue Airways TrueBlue points on JSX All In fares; and 150 JetBlue Airways TrueBlue points on JSX Hop On Fares.

Membership None.

Destinations are small airports which serve these cities located primarily in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas: Burbank, Concord, Las Vegas, Oakland, Orange County, Phoenix, Reno-Tahoe, Dallas Love Field, and Houston Hobby. Airplanes can be chartered.

Fleet Embraer Regional Jet E135 and Embraer Regional Jet E145 airplanes, which seat 30 passengers comfortably with a seat pitch of 36 inches in leather seats in an executive interior.

Southern Airways Express

101 Riverside Drive
Suite 211
Pompano Beach, Florida 33062
1-901-672-7820

Parking at the airports Southern Airways Express serves was free of charge for up to a maximum of 14 days; but no mention of this policy is currently available. Some airports may charge a monthly fee for greater than 14 days. With a few exceptions, you will pay no baggage fees — but each passenger is limited to a total aggregate weight of 50 pounds of baggage.

Membership None.

Destinations are small airports which serve these cities located in 15 states in seven mostly disconnected regions of the United States: ten destinations in Hawaii which are operated by Mokulele Airlines; six destinations in Pennsylvania, Washington Dulles, and Morgantown; Los Angeles and Imperial; four destinations in Massachusetts and Providence; eight destinations in the Gulf region of the southeastern United States; Denver and Chadron; and four destinations in Manhattan and Long Island in New York which are operated by Tailwind. Airplanes can be chartered anywhere within 500 miles of the airports served by Southern Airways Express.

Fleet Cessna 208 Caravan airplanes and 208B Grand Caravan airplanes. All aircraft are outfitted with nine luxury leather passenger seats, a Bose or Sony headset for each passenger, and space in the cabin for one personal item, such as a briefcase of purse. The airplanes are powered by 675-horsepower PT-6 turbine engines — supposedly one of the most reliable engines in service throughout the world. No Internet access is available aboard airplanes during flight.

Surf Airlines

1408 Third Street Promenade
Suite 300
Santa Monica, California 90401
1-888-704-2582

Parking at the airports Surf Airlines serves was free of charge for up to a maximum of 14 days; but no mention of this policy is currently available. Some airports may charge a monthly fee for greater than 14 days.

Membership starts at $199.00 per month to gain access to all flights on a per-seat basis; $999.00 per month for free, unlimited off-peak flights and access to buy everything else; $2,499.00 per month to access the majority of flight inventory, including peak flights for free; and $2,999.00 per month with no limits, as you can fly where and when you want across the entire network. A one-time initiation fee of $1,000.00 was required; but no information about this fee is available and may no longer apply.

Destinations are 20 small airports which serve these cities located primarily in California — but also in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

Fleet Pilatus PC-12NG airplanes, which seat seven passengers comfortably in leather seats in an executive interior designed by Bespoken New York.

Tailwind

800 Westchester Avenue
Suite 320
Rye Brook, New York 10573
1-914-437-6778

Parking is only free or low cost in Bridgeport, East Hampton, and Montauk; and payment for parking is required at all other airports. A standard sized airline carry-on of 20 pounds is included with your fare on Tailwind Scheduled service. For ANY larger or heavier items — including golf bags and strollers — please contact the airline for special arrangements. Please note that Tailwind does not have the capacity to check luggage, and all luggage will be securely stored in-cabin or securely in in the aircraft float lockers.

Membership None.

Destinations are six small airports which serve New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts: Manhattan, Bridgeport, Boston Harbor, East Hampton, Montauk, and Shelter Island. Airplanes can be chartered.

Fleet Although the primary aircraft model is an amphibious Cessna Caravans, seven different models of airplanes are used which seat between four and 14 passengers, depending on the model.

Summary

The services provided by these airlines have their limitations and can be a drain on your wallet or pocketbook, as they are not meant for the masses of passengers currently using commercial aviation for flights — but they can be a potentially viable alternative for the frequent flier who is fed up with the hassles, inconveniences and costs of commercial aviation and frequent flier loyalty programs. This all depends on an analysis of cost, schedules, airports served and conveniences as to whether or not hassle-free airlines are a better choice for you than commercial airlines…

…as well as which operations are able to survive the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

If there are any airlines which this article has missed, please let me know and I will add them to this article at a future date — and hopefully, more hassle-free airlines will be launched in the future to provide more choice for the consumer.

Source: Surf Air.

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