In the past three years, to capitalize on the rebound in business travel, some airlinesAir
France, Lufthansa, KLM, and Swiss among themhave launched all-business-class jets.
Now, two start-up companies, Eos and Maxjet, are upping the ante with dedicated premium-class
Eos started daily flights this fall between New York's John F. Kennedy International and
London's Stansted, with three Boeing 757's, which normally hold at least 200 seats, configured
for 48 passengers. Seats recline flat and come with cashmere blankets. In November, Maxjet
began flying the same route six days a week in Boeing 767's; these also typically hold 200
or more people, but Maxjet planes carry 102.
Industry analysts speculate that these new flights could drive down transatlantic business
fares on the major airlines. At press time, Eos's round-trip fares were hovering at $6,500roughly
25 percent less than British Airways' business-class fare from JFK to Heathrow. Maxjet's $1,358
fare is lower than both Virgin Atlantic's and British Airways' premium-economy seats. Its
ticket prices are so low that they appear as "full-fare economy" seats in travel agents' distribution
systems, which means executives whose companies ordinarily forbid them from flying business
class can fly on Maxjet.