I’ve got to the point where I could cry every time I hear friends say they’ve just paid five hundred quid or (much) more each for the privilege of hiking all the way out to Heathrow airport and flying cattle class to the States. There’s an airline called Maxjet which flies non-stop (yes!), from Stansted (yes!), as business class only (yes!) at fares closer to economy levels (yes!). Their publicity, however, is so terrible that I’ve only ever come across one other person who’d even heard of them.
Maxjet flies from Stansted to New York, Washington and Las Vegas. The Las Vegas flights are non-stop too! Most other airlines going to Vegas force you to change somewhere rotten, making a long 11-hour flight into an unspeakably long one. Now, Dawn and I just flew to Vegas with Maxjet for about five hundred quid each. Admittedly, it was a special offer, but they have lots of those. I just looked up some alternatives which we could have taken, and admittedly we could have shaved a bit off that. But this is what we’d have got:
1. A trip to Heathrow (no thanks!)
2. Economy class
3. Less than ideal departure and arrival times
4. Longer flights, involving a change at Chicago, Houston, Washington or wherever
With Maxjet, we just had to pop down to Stansted (so much more civilised). We got ushered through security, into a lovely first-class lounge. The flight departed at 1pm (even more civilised), went straight to Vegas and oh – did I mention? – was business class throughout. So the seats folded flat for sleeping, the service was exemplary, and – you get the drift. To me, that lot was worth a small fortune. And indeed, other airlines do charge a small fortune for business class. I’ve flown with Maxjet four times now, and have never been on a full flight. Astonishing.
So has Maxjet got a non-existent publicity budget or is it just spending it very badly? I’ve no idea. Everyone we bore with this information (usually various friends who, like us, probably only visit the States every few years) says “I wish we’d known…” Maybe it’s all very web 2.0 – keep it a absolute secret and hope people like me start to spread the word virally and cheaply. I suspect not though. They could just stick a leaflet through every door in the Cambridge area and fill up most of their flights, so much do people round here prefer Stansted.