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Earlier this month, MAXjet, the all-business-class airline,
announced that it is suspending its four-times-weekly service
between Washington D.C. and London. However, the airline said it
expects to resume flights on May 24, in time for the summer. At the
same time, the company announced that it was adding a third flight
to its Las Vegas to London route beginning March 10.
The announcement came in the face of increasing competition
among so-called “niche” luxury airlines for the lucrative
trans-Atlantic trade. MAXjet currently flies six times a week out
of New York, and last November it inaugurated twice-weekly service
from Las Vegas to London’s Stansted airport.
Although unexpected, the move, according to one industry
observer, “makes good business sense. The demand just wasn’t there
for the Washington route,” she said, “although it will probably
pick up for the summer. But their New York flights are going out
full, and Las Vegas sells itself to the strong leisure market in
Passengers whose flights have been canceled have a choice of
being switched to a Virgin Air departure out of Washington D.C.,
rebooked on a MAXjet flight out of New York or given a full
MAXjet flies into Stansted airport, about 40 miles northeast of
London and known mainly as a hub for low-cost European carriers
such as Ryanair and EasyJet.
The airline’s Las Vegas service was kicked off in early
November, and according to company officials it has more than met
expectations, bringing with it a huge influx of British tourists.
It is also the first time that a business-class-only airline has
tried to crack the market in the western U.S. since MGM Grand tried
and failed years ago.
“Most of our traffic is going to originate in England,” said one
company official, “and Stansted is growing, so we’re going where
the demand is.”
MAXjet, a three-year-old company based in Virginia, began
service on the New York and Washington routes in 2004, using three
Boeing 767-200s. The planes have been reconfigured to 102 seats
each, all business class.
At the time the Las Vegas routes were announced, the company’s
founding CEO, Gary Rogliano abruptly left MAXjet “to pursue other
opportunities.” No other reason was given, and he has been replaced
by the company’s chairman, William Stockbridge. A company official
would not comment on whether Rogliano’s departure had anything to
do with the Washington announcement.
In addition to MAXjet, several so-called business-class-only
airlines are vying for the highly profitable trans-Atlantic
business. Eos Airlines also flies from New York to London, and
another carrier, SilverJet, will soon begin its own business-only
The cost of a MAXjet flight from Las Vegas to London begins at
$1,900, taxes and fees included.
Three hotels in London offer a cozy welcome to travelers,
especially in the winter. The Capital, The Goring and The Stafford
are all part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group,
providing first-class comfort with old English charm. The Capital
is located within a block of Harrod’s; The Goring is about half a
mile from Buckingham Palace and the lovely Green Park; and The
Stafford, which is undergoing renovation, is famous for its
American Bar, which features model airplanes hanging from the
ceiling. It is rumored that Prince William often partakes of a pint
or two there. The Capital offers a Guaranteed Dollar Rate of $1,299
for a three-night package, including full English breakfast and
chauffer from the airport, good for a year; and the Stafford
guarantees the exchange rate at 1.7 for any of its rates published