• Amelia Kucharski is a pilot for JSX, a trendy new airline that provides private-jet convenience.
  • Kucharski said she feels lucky "every single day" to take off from her California base for an "equally beautiful destination."
  • This is her story, as told to writer Jamie Killin.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Amelia Kucharski, a California-based pilot for JSX. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I'm a pilot with JSX — a trendy, up-and-coming air carrier that provides clients with private-jet convenience. The company has recently seen significant growth, and it announced new East Coast routes in October. 

I've never worked for a commercial airline, but I've been working in aviation-related jobs since I first fell in love with the idea of flying for a career. From refueling aircraft as a ramper to dispatching and coordinating flights, I made sure I was somehow involved in the aviation world.

While working toward my certificates, I worked a variety of jobs until I became a certified flight instructor and started teaching at US Aviators out of Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, which is also where I completed the majority of my training. I loved instructing, but I was eager to move forward in my career, so I started exploring other opportunities.

JSX is a 'hop-on jet' service for customers who want the convenience of private air travel

When I found JSX, I was in Concord, California, looking to fly home to Burbank. I had no knowledge of its existence prior to that flight. I felt I'd stumbled upon someone's best-kept secret.

JSX started in April of 2016, and I joined in April of 2018.

Amelia Kucharski, a California-based pilot for JSX. Foto: Courtesy of Amelia Kucharski

A luxury jet configured to take everyday passengers to their destination with no hassle? Same amount of security as a regular airline but no line to wait in? I started wondering what it would be like to work for the company, and a seed was planted. When I started pursuing my future career goals, JSX was the first place I applied. I was fortunate enough not to have to look any further, and they hired me on as a pilot. I was thrilled.

I think anyone can be a pilot, but it takes a certain personality to actually pursue it

I love going to work with a like-minded group of people, and it's rewarding on a daily basis to be a part of this ever-changing industry. 

It's almost like you join a club on your first flight, and there's a wealth of support around you — especially if you seek it out. There are so many avenues one can take as a pilot, and for everyone, there's probably a pilot group or organization to help lead you.  

With a private-style plane service, customer interactions and expectations change 

I think JSX is in higher demand right now because it offers a unique experience that no other air carrier offers. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, people were drawn to JSX because of its hop-on experience. Due to COVID-19, we now have customers who want to feel secure in their travel, and our crowd-free operation is already set up to provide that. 

Thankfully, I haven't experienced many difficult customers or coworkers. My coworkers and I are always looking out for each other, and I think that emanates from our crew members to our customers. 

For example, I never dreamed, especially in the aviation realm, that I would have a customer — or several, for that matter — thank our crew for a delay. We were getting our plane pushed back when we blew a tire. The other pilot and I discussed it, and we decided to have the maintenance team check that everything was OK.

This turned into almost a two-hour delay, but when customers boarded again, more than half of them thanked us personally for taking the time and ensuring their safety.

I think when the customers are relaxed at the start, it makes issues more tolerable

I think there were many factors that resulted in such a response to that particular delay, but first and foremost is that our customers are relaxed getting to the airplane. They don't have to wait through long lines or deal with complicated parking, and they don't have to navigate and rush to find their gate. 

Then, if something does unfortunately occur to cause a delay, they get to go back to a crowd-free lounge to wait it out. No one likes to be late, pilots included, but uncontrollable factors such as weather or maintenance issues inevitably happen. 

Making my rounds from the valet to the airport service concierge, to the line crew, to our maintenance techs, and to my fellow pilots and flight attendants, I realize how lucky I am to be working for such an incredible company with such an incredible team. All of us working together like clockwork making the magic of flight happen. 

Then on top of that, I get to sit in an office on wheels and take off from Burbank on an always beautiful morning, overlooking my hometown en route to some equally beautiful destination. I feel lucky every single day.

Read the original article on Business Insider