Frequent SmarterTravel.com guest columnist and full-time First-Class Flyer publisher Matthew Bennett reports, “British Airways is going after the buzz created by MAXJet’s new all-business class service—not by matching their super-low fares, but by matching their ‘no-advance purchase’ approach—and by cutting its own fares way down as well.” Bennett says BA’s current business-class tickets to London, Manchester, Glasgow, or Edinburgh start as low as $2,886 (or about $6,000 less than the airline’s usual business-class fares).
MAXJet, for those who haven’t heard, is a new single-class airline trying to bring low fares to business class. It launched in January. The airline’s chairman, Gary Rogliano, explained MAXJet’s philosophy to industry columnist Joe Brancatelli last month: “We’re applying the low-fare model to the business cabin. The critical point is the price point. Maxjet has everything you’d expect in business class for 75 percent less.”
MAXJet currently flies the New York/London route from JFK airport. The only real drawback, as I see it, is MAXJet’s arrival/departure airport in London: Stansted. Still, for a business-class seat at 75-percent off, I’d be happy to spring for the extra cab money across the Pond. I’m guessing most business travelers will be, too.
What’s interesting here, long-term, is the effect the low-fare revolution may have on transatlantic flights. With more and more of the major U.S. carriers eyeing international routes as a salvation from domestic low-cost competition, something has to give eventually. My bet’s on the low-cost carriers every time.