Jetblue and Southwest Airlines have popularized the idea of all-coach flights. Now several carriers are offering upscale versions of one-class service: business-class-only flights. Some of them even offer fares significantly below their traditional competitors.
Maxjet Airways offers all-business-class flights between New York City and London-Stansted and between Washington-Dulles and Stansted. Maxjet uses Boeing 767s configured with 102 seats instead of the usual 220, allotting 5 feet of leg-room per passenger. The round-trip fare between New York City and London starts at $1,500, and the company has a frequent-flier program in the works.
Eos also flies from New York City to London, using Boeing 757s configured with only 48 seats that turn into cushy, 6-foot 6-inch, completely flat beds. The suites are configured so two people can sit facing each other; when tray tables are open, they abut like a partner's desk with a large work surface. Reviews are enthusiastic; some passengers compare the Eos experience to flying in a corporate jet. The round-trip fare starts at $2,950, compared to major carriers' walk-up business-class fares of $8,000 and up. Eos' rewards program, Club 48, offers points that can be redeemed for golf at private clubs, spa treatments, luxury merchandise, travel on Eos and weekends at upscale hotels.
Another newcomer to the low-fare (or at least lower-fare) all-business-class airlines is Silverjet, on the New York City to London-Luton route. Roundtrip fares are reportedly set at $1,900. The plan, according to Silverjet CEO Lawrence Hunt, is to begin service this fall or in early 2007 with two Boeing 767s, each with 100 seats.
You can also find premium-class-only flights from major carriers, though not necessarily at discounted rates. Lufthansa offers business-class-only service on three routes: Dusseldorf, Germany, to Newark, New Jersey; Dusseldorf to Chicago; and Munich, Germany, to Newark. In Asia, Singapore Airlines offers business-class-only flights between Singapore and Los Angeles.
Julie Moline is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant in New York City.