To London on MAXjet

In July ’06 I had the opportunity to try out a relatively new airline called MAXjet (888/435-9629,, which started up in November ’05 and currently operates from New York’s JFK Airport and Washington’s Dulles Airport to London’s Stansted Airport, though new destinations are planned.

The MAXjet difference is that it features a single class: business. Flying the long-range Boeing 767, a plane that normally carries some 300 passengers, MAXjet has configured it with just 102 seats, each on an aisle or window. Wonder of wonders, there are no middle seats.

MAXjet’s strategy is to price its fares far lower than normal business class and not that much more than an economy or premium-economy seat booked at the last minute. As of August, MAXjet’s advertised fare was $1,499 including fees and taxes. For this, you get plenty of space to stretch way out.

On many other airlines’ planes, the seatback tray is jammed into your stomach by the reclined seat of the oblivious passenger in front of you. A standard economy seat has a pitch of 31" to 34"; this is the distance between the seatback in front of you and the front of your seat. With MAXjet, the pitch is five feet! In fact, I could not reach the seatback pocket without getting up from my seat.

For overnight flights, the wide seat reclines nearly flat for a bit of shut-eye.

Other niceties include china plates and metal utensils; a top-shelf wine and cocktail selection, all complimentary; better-than-standard airline food, and a neat wireless gadget that offers 20 movies on demand plus TV, music videos and music. I found not a “dud” movie in the bunch — not the norm with other airlines.

There is one attendant (what MAXjet calls an In-flight Ambassador) for each 10 passengers, so plenty of attention is paid by the genuinely friendly cabin crew. It’s a most satisfying flight experience.

Plus the airline has posh, private departure lounges at all three airports it now serves.

The folks at MAXjet apparently have done their groundwork quite thoroughly and, yes, I would fly with them again and highly recommend MAXjet to ITN readers. Also, there are occasional special sale fares, and you can sign up at MAXjet’s website to receive advance notice via e-mail.

What else? At Stansted Airport, a first-class, unhassled place, do not even consider the typical £80 (about $150 plus tip) taxi ride to London. Instead, take the Stansted Express to London in 40 to 45 minutes for just £21 ($40) round trip. The train runs every 15 minutes and takes you to London’s Liverpool Street station in the heart of London’s equivalent of Wall Street, “The City.”

All told, MAXjet is well worth the few extra dollars for all it offers, and I can’t wait to see what new destinations they introduce!

New York