I Flew The BizAir Shuttle And Met Mr. Happy [gallery]

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We tried out the new BizAir shuttle that has launched service from LA to Carlsbad. Soon BizAir will be in Phoenix and Las Vegas. Does it live up to all the hype around convenience, low pricing and legroom? Terry Gardner reviews.

bizair review bizair images biz air photo gallery bizaire reviewaNewDomain — Ever wish there was a plane with extra legroom and no hassles? That’s what Dan Cretsinger wanted. So he set out to create a family-owned airline for business travelers.

Welcome to the BizAir Shuttle, which began with a Chicago to New York business shuttle and has now relocated to the West Coast. It now has begun offering flights between LAX (Los Angeles) and MCP (Carlsbad) and will expand into Las Vegas and Phoenix before summer’s out.

How do you create a whole airline from scratch? You call people, says Cretsinger, now CEO of BizAir. He told me his first move was to phone Embraer. He asked the company to subtract seven seats from its 37-seat EJR-135LR regional jet. That would create more legroom.  Two rows of seats were removed. Then, he had Wi-Fi and 110v power outlets added. 

Embraer was so pleased with the resulting aircraft that it paid BizAir to borrow the EJR-135 to display at the Paris Air Show, he said.

Although BizAir initially flew business shuttle flights between Chicago and New York. And when United gave up its LAX to MCP (McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad) route, Cretsinger seized the opportunity to head west.

Flights between LAX and MCP began on June 18, 2015. 

For the time being, BizAir is offering two roundtrips daily to Carlsbad. It’s not too pricey, either. Fares between LAX and Carlsbad range from $139 to $229 each way.

So what’s the BizAir experience, you wonder? Well, I was an invited guest on the first roundtrip flight from LAX this week. The following image gallery and commentary will give you a glimpse of BizAir and the peaceful, hassle-free Carlsbad Airport. That’s me in front of the BizAir jet I took in LAX, above.

Enjoy? I sure did!

“Don’t let the BizAir name fool you.”

bizair images image gallery Dan Cretsinger bizair review bizair images biz air photo gallery bizaire reviewWhen I told Cretsinger I wrote primarily for leisure travelers, he said: Don’t let the name fool you.”

We’ll take children, we’ll take leisure passengers,” he continued. “It doesn’t mean a company can’t come to us and say ‘what kind of rate can we get to fly eight families?’ If you’re a consumer,  you’re a customer and we want your repeat business.”

That’s me and Dan Cretsinger at the center of the selfie I snapped, at right.

I shot all these photos or had friends do it, by the way, using my Olympus Digital Camera.

All Photos: Terry Gardner and friends for aNewDomain

Meet Mr. Happy.

Mr. Happy is the BizAir Goodwill Ambassador. He gives out Happy Faces to all he meets and is rumored to be the inventor of the Happy Face : ) Here he is, below. He does look happy, doesn’t he?

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I got a personal welcome from the pilot.

The pilot welcomes you when you get on.

This is a nice touch. Here’s the pilot of the short BizAir flight I took for this report. The flight is about to leave LAX. Love the lei.

Not too shabby!
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“The only thing we have extra is legroom.”

One reason I wanted to experience BizAir was because Cretsinger said: “We’re a no hassle, no extra fee airline — the only thing we have extra is legroom and we don’t charge for that.”

Please locate the exits in front of you.

Here’s the flight attendant doing the safety announcement. Standard stuff.

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No one has to suffer in the middle seat.

The interior of the BizAir jet is configured in a 1 x 2 layout. That way, no one has to suffer in a middle seat. There is no middle seat, obviously. Nice. I sat by the window to enjoy the view. And because of the legroom, I didn’t miss the aisle at all. I could get used to this.

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No time to sleep.

The flight from LAX to Carlbad was only 23 minutes so instead of sleeping …

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Those weird things on my eyes are called Occles.

Once on the short flight, I rested my eyes. Those space age-looking goggles over my eyes are called Occles, and they are great for sleeping on planes. They are unrelated to BizAir, but I just wanted to point them out. I’ll be reviewing these sunblockers for aNewDomain soon.

I was surprised, by the way, how quiet the ride was. It seemed quieter than many regional jets I’ve flown on.

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Carlsbad is so happy to have BizAir that city officials actually greeted me there. 

After landing in Carlsbad, we were welcomed by Carlsbad City officials, who are delighted to have restored service between LAX and Carlsbad.

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Hertz and Avis are on site in the Carlsbad airport.

Although I didn’t rent a car, I was impressed with how easy it would be. Hertz and Avis are onsite and so are the cars. You can fly in and take off in a rental car easy peasy.

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Here’s the restaurant where BizAir was once based.

Michele is a former flight attendant and the owner of The Landings Restaurant. She’s pictured, below, with Dan Cretsinger. 

She let BizAir have a bit of a makeshift office in her restaurant before it had its own office at the airport.

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Las Vegas service is coming soon.

 Service between Carlsbad and Las Vegas begins in July, Cretsinger told me. And flights from Carlsbad to Phoenix will be added in August.

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Taking off from Carlsbad.

Well, that was quick. It’s time to head back home to LA. Here we go.

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Just thought I’d show you my view of the SoCal coastline.

I loved flying up the California coast. Great views!

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If you happen to fly with BizAir, I’d love to hear your comments and impressions. Just leave them below or email me. Here’s my little GoPro video ..

For aNewDomain, I’m Terry Gardner.

Once again, all image credits: Terry Gardner

 

About the author

Terry Gardner

Based in Santa Monica, CA, Terry Gardner is a freelance journalist whose passion for travel, scuba diving and the environment led to a career as a travel journalist. She writes for various websites, including the Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post. Terry’s website is www.terrytravels.com. Her Twitter and Facebook handles are terrytravels1.