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Strictly Business (Class)

Steven Guarnaccia Business Class

Photo: Steven Guarnaccia

Report Card: Maxjet

Date: February 4, 2007
Route: London’s Stansted Airport to JFK, New York City
Departure Time: 11:45 a.m.
Fare: $905, one-way

Website: B

Although booking and check-in were easy, the site lacks needed information. I couldn’t find any suggestions, for example, on how to get from Stansted to London.

Ground Transportation: B-

The trip to the airport was a pain. A cab from South Kensington would have cost $150, so I planned to catch the 7:30 a.m. train from Liverpool Station. It was cancelled at the last minute (if only Maxjet offered chauffeur service!) and I lugged my bags onto a Stansted-bound bus.

Check-In: A-

The five gate agents made check-in a breeze, but they were all business, and I missed Silverjet’s smiling faces.

Security: A+

I felt a tinge of schadenfreude looking at the lines for other carriers as I sped through Maxjet’s fast-track security. I was in the lounge within five minutes.

Lounge: B

The modern orange and blue décor was overdone, and the food selection mediocre—pastries, cold cuts, and passable coffee. The lone waitress told me she didn’t know how to make a cappuccino.

Cabin: B+

The 102 blue leather seats are arranged in a two-by-two-by-two configuration. They aren’t flat beds, but recline to a 160-degree angle and have adjustable leg rests, which are extremely comfortable. My side table, however, was sticky and the bathroom unremarkable (no special products here). There was, however, a great selection of magazines and newspapers.

Service: C+

The cabin crew was grumpy and rushed. Although the glass of Kir Royale and canapés before takeoff were nice treats, I would have enjoyed them more if the attendants had provided a napkin. Later, I was refused a Diet Coke because "drinks had already been served."

Food/Drink: B+

I was impressed by the watercress, artichoke, and calamata olive salad. Unfortunately, they ran out of the chicken entrée I wanted. I opted for the teriyaki salmon instead—surprisingly fresh—followed by a delicious chocolate banana dessert. Maxjet serves excellent wines, including a buttery Cardiff 2004 Chardonnay.

In-Flight Entertainment: B+

The selection was more limited than Silverjet’s, and the screen was not as clear. Plus, my personal media player kept shutting itself off. Only 12 TV shows were available, with stale classics like Will and Grace (points go out for ABFab reruns, though), and 18 movies. The music selections beat Silverjet’s with 10 categories, from R&B to classical, and 10 to 15 songs in each genre.

Overall: B

Despite better food than Silverjet, the attendants’ devil-may-care attitudes would make me think twice about flying this airline again. Stansted airport is a winner, though, with good facilities and a 45-minute train ride from central London.

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