My brother and I recently flew London - Las Vegas - London with MaxJet. We like to visit Vegas every two or three years and it is very important that the flights are part of the holiday rather than something to be endured at each end. The trip out is about eleven hours and the return is ten, so enjoyable flights make a big difference.
We booked in February during MaxJet's spring sale for an astonishing £598 each for the return flights, including taxes. The usual sale price for business class seats from the major airlines is between £1,500 and £2,000 and many charge over £700 for economy class. To find an airline advertising business class at less than £600 seemed too good to be true.
In the months between booking and our journey starting on the 26th of July we read varied reviews. Because MaxJet is new and small (today five planes, until recently just three) a problem with a plane can throw everything out. No other airline flies to Las Vegas from Stansted and the only other direct flights in the south of England are from Gatwick. We were apprehensive of the risk of problems causing great inconvenience, but were prepared to take a chance at that price.
But it was not too good to be true, there was no trick and no hitch.
Check-in took moments, fast-track through security was efficient and the MaxJet lounge at Stansted well equipped with food, drinks and reading material. It was better than some business class lounges we have used when flying with major carriers.
On board the seats are supremely comfortable. The seat pitch of 60 inches compares well with other business classes - many of which give 55 inches. An additional five inches make a big difference to the feel of spaciousness and allows far easier exit for those by a window when the seat in front is fully reclined.
The seats themselves are not electronically operated, but pushing a button releases the footrest and another releases the back of the seat.
Pre-flight champagne cocktails and canapes were advertised but none appeared at Stansted, the excuse given was that we were expecting to take off early. On the return leg we did have a champagne cocktail, but again no canapes. Both flights took off on time (give or take a few minutes).
Service on board was extremely impressive on both flights. The food was of a good standard and they waited between courses so that the main meal took well over an hour - something which helps the time on board to pass quickly.
The range of drinks was good, although we have had better, and it made a lovely change to find real wine glasses being used rather than the usual stubby ones.
MaxJet's entertainment system is a real treat. Small machines, about a third of the size of a laptop, are loaded with an excellent range of films, TV programmes and music. The sound quality was good and we found the screens far better than the usual flip-up screen from the seat's armrest. The flexibility of being able to start and pause your chosen entertainment when it suits you is a nice bonus.
I was surprised by how stable the Boeing 767s were, being used to much larger 777s and Jumbos. MaxJet's planes have clearly seen a lot of service and they have a few more rattles and shakes than new ones during take off and landing. Nonetheless they ran smoothly and quietly during flight. We arrived in Las Vegas ahead of time and were exactly on time on our return.
Having used many other business class services both my brother and I were very impressed by everything about MaxJet. Some other airlines offer a service with a few more bells and whistles such as regular hot towels, electronically operated seats, five course meals rather than four, a large range of after dinner liqueurs and more. But those extra frills add very little if everything else is done well, and by MaxJet it was.
We would have no hesitation in using this airline again.
Wed been planning a big holiday to the USA for a long time, but really it was the thought of sitting in Economy for 8 hours that put us off booking
so imagine our delight when we discovered Maxjet, an all-business class airline which was offering special discounts on flights in July. We hurried to book our flight from Stanstead to Washington.
~~Who are Maxjet?~~
Maxjet is a fairly new American airline which flies between London Stanstead, Washington Dulles, New York JFK and now Las Vegas. They started up in November 2005 with the aim of offering an all business class flight with lots of extras and luxuries, but without extortionate business class prices. Obviously as they only fly to certain places in America theyre not very wide-ranging, but if youre a business traveller or going to see the delights of New York or Washington (both of which I went to see), Maxjet are probably the ideal airline.
This is very easy to do on both sides of the pond. I dont know about Las Vegas or JFK, but both Stanstead and Washington have their own Maxjet check-in desks which are open quite a long time before boarding. All you have to do is produce your documents and passport, your baggage is checked in, and youre handed an invitation card for either the Maxjet lounge or the Business Lounge. Simple as that plus, because there arent that many seats on each flight, you generally dont have to queue for ages.
~~At Stanstead ~~
As Im not overly keen on mad last-minute rushes, we arrived at Stanstead at 10 oclock for our 1 oclock flight. Im glad we did, as that gave us plenty of time to sample the Maxjet departure lounge I have to say, it was worlds away from the ordinary cramped, grey waiting areas! We gave in our invitation card at the lounge reception desk, and were free to sit wherever we liked. The room is huge and airy, with plenty of sofas, complimentary drinks and food, as well as up-to-date papers and magazines. In addition, the plate-glass windows allowed us to have a really good view of the runways with the planes landing and taking off. Very civilised was the general consensus even more so when our flight was announced and everyone very sedately and politely queued up. The ground staff at Heathrow were very polite and I was also pleased to note that they carried out a lot of spot checks on every other person boarding.
~~The Plane Itself~~
We were ushered onto the plane by the very welcoming American flight attendants, and I was pleased to note the amount of space in the cabin. My first impressions of the plane were good it looked and felt brand new, and everywhere was spotlessly clean, including the toilet (which is essential as I always make sure I drink loads of water on flights!) Takeoff was smooth and professional.
There were 102 blue leather seats arranged in twos (which, by the way, works very well as there were 4 of us, nobody had to sit by the boring businessman or the screaming baby!) There was also a huge amount of legroom Im 54, and could stretch my legs out fully and not touch the seat in front, so even tall people wouldnt be cramped. Made of blue leather, the seats were of a good width and featured fold-out trays, as well as generous sized pockets in the seats in front for storage.
The quality of the freebies, food and entertainment was top-notch as well. Before take-off, we were offered comfort packs containing a blanket, toothpaste, a toothbrush, face wipes, warm socks and an eyemask, all of which were good quality. Free newspapers (either the Washington Post or the Times) were also available, as well as canapés and drinks. The food was excellent (I had bread rolls, stuffed pepper with asparagus and rice, plus banana & chocolate pudding), served on proper china plates with metal cutlery, and wine etc was served in proper wine glasses. As well as the meal provided, Maxjet have a chefs pantry which is stocked with free drinks, snacks and chocolate, which can be raided throughout the flight!
Entertainment was provided via personal dig-E-players, basically a hard drive loaded with up-to-date films, music, music videos and TV programmes. You were given noise-reducing headphones and could just choose whatever you wanted to watch or listen to I think I watched Walk the Line and the latest Harry Potter. The greatest testimony to the quality of the entertainment provided was the fact that I had brought my very full iPod with me, and I didnt use it once on the 8 hour flight out or back.
The staff were helpful, friendly and very professional at all times I really couldnt fault them. As Maxjet is an American company, the flight crew were all American and they really did display the American politeness Ive heard so much about!
~~At Washington Dulles~~
We were in Boston when the news of the foiled terror plot broke it scared the life out of me but thankfully by the time we flew back 2 weeks later, security at the airport wasnt in the state of panic it had been. Americans are very, very hot on security, though, and we had to pass through numerous metal detectors, spot checks and bag searches before we were let through. It may have been tedious, but it certainly went a long way to making me feel safer. Once we got through, we found that Maxjet dont have their own lounge at Dulles, but we could use the business class lounge there great, as the seating area is very near the shops, and they provide tables, laptop points, as well as lots of free snacks and drinks.
Generally very good. The flight from Stanstead to Washington was exactly on time, so I was pleasantly surprised; leaving on time and not having to hang around makes everything so much less stressful. Coming back, the flight was delayed by about half an hour, but we didnt suffer too much as we could wait in the relatively peaceful Business Lounge. We did have to wait in Stanstead for the walkway to be brought over it turned out that there wasnt one free so we had to go down some very rickety steps ah, what a nice welcome back to England!
As Ive mentioned, we booked our tickets during a special offer, so we paid £599 each for a return flight certainly not a bad price. Normal Fares vary but are usually in the range of £1000 for a round trip to New York, Washington or Las Vegas. However, they do run regular special offers, so if youre interested, just check the website and pounce as soon as you see one.
Im going to have to give Maxjet 5 stars. An all business class airline is a great idea, and the service and quality we experienced was great. Flying with them really took some of the stress of air travel away bring on the next trip!