Monday, April 10, 2006

Business Class on the Cheap

Last week Maxjet Airways launched non-stop service between Washington Dulles (IAD) and Stansted, a burgeoning budget airline hub located in a suburb of London. Maxjet already operates between New York and Stansted and plans to begin service from Boston this summer and from San Francisco at a later date.

One might wonder whether room exists for Maxjet in an already competitive DC-London market. By offering relatively inexpensive fares aboard their all-business class planes, Maxjet hopes to lure business passengers away from other airlines while simultaneously tempting passengers who, faced with business class fares of $5000-$8000 aboard Delta and United, would otherwise ride coach. Some analysts find this business strategy shrewd, while others speculate that it will fail because most people ride business class using miles (or have their companies, which enjoy cozy relationships with the legacy carriers, pay for it) and because most coach passengers want the cheapest fares--however atrocious the on-board service and comfort level.

According to the Washington Post story linked above, Maxjet currently flies at about half capacity but claims to be headed in a profitable direction. One thing is for sure: they're offering the best deal in business class hands down. I priced a trip from Dulles to Stansted for this coming fall--when I plan to do some research in London--and found fares as cheap as $800.00. Compare this to the $650.00 dollar coach fares I turned up aboard Continental, United and other airlines. Surely I'm not the only one who would pay an extra $150 for a better seat, better service and much better food (beef tenderloin on demand!).


Blogger Phlip said...

In the immortal words of my brother Al, "Update, biatch!" :P

6:38 PM  

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