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Maxjet's Rocky Relationship With Dulles

Carol Sottili

If the story in The Post's Business section today about Maxjet Airways suspending service from Washington Dulles to London Stansted evoked a bit of deja vu, the feeling was not misplaced. The discount all-business-class airline has ditched us before, only to come back a'courting.

The Northern Virginia-based airline, which started serving Dulles in April 2006, suspended service from Dulles in January 2007, saying it wanted to focus on its more successful New York-London and Las Vegas-London routes (service between Dulles and London Stansted restarted in May). Yesterday, it again suspended service out of Dulles, effective Oct. 29, saying it would instead add service to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York.
So is this separation permanent? Or is there another chance for a reconciliation?

My guess is that the airline won't be back if its new service to Los Angeles, which started just two months ago, proves successful. It has only five planes, which means that it has to pick and choose the cities where load factors (how many seats are filled) are highest. In the first six months of 2007, flights out of Dulles were only 34 percent full. Numbers haven't come in for L.A., but Vegas is a hit, with flights about 66 percent filled. I believe that the flights have more Brits than Americans on board, and they seem to want to go to Las Vegas and Los Angeles more than they want to visit Our Nation's Capital. Go figure.

I haven't flown Maxjet, but I thought that having decently priced business-class service, especially to an alternative airport in London, was good for Dulles. Would be interested in hearing thoughts on why all our Washington power brokers didn't fill those seats, and in any firsthand accounts of flying Maxjet.

By Carol Sottili |  October 10, 2007; 11:59 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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We flew MaxJet last fall and had a basically positive experience. First choice was United using miles, but no seats available in business. Airfare was much lower than either BA or Virgin, but the overall service was a bit lower then I would have expected. The cabin was comfortable and utilitarian, nothing special, and the food was OK. The flight crew was available when needed and was helpful. I like to concept and hope that they will come back to Dulles, but I have friends who will never fly them again after monstrous flight problems and last-minute cancellations which put them on another carrier at a lower class of service. Eventually received a refund, but it wass a pain.

Posted by: Lester Burnham | October 10, 2007 2:43 PM

This company is really shady. Lots of management there is from another airline in the area that recently went under. The airplanes they have are 25-30 years old. Fliers beware if you try to get 1st class and save money by flying can't have one without the other.

Posted by: ~ | October 14, 2007 1:29 PM

Well, they have a sale going on, though it's not from Dulles of course. I'm considering making the schlep to JFK to take advantage.

Posted by: ~ | October 17, 2007 10:57 AM

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