MAXjet Goes Bankrupt, Strands Passengers On Christmas Eve

On Monday, the young all-business-class airline MAXjet filed for bankruptcy protection and ceased all operations, “leaving jets on tarmacs and stranding passengers on Christmas Eve.” To compensate, the airline has been booking hotel rooms through early January 2008 in the four cities it served, and trying to arrange for other airlines to take on their passengers—”Continental Airlines and Silverjet Aviation Ltd., another all-business class carrier, said they would honor limited numbers of MAXjet tickets.”

MAXjet cited high fuel prices and a deteriorating credit market as reasons they went belly up. They only served London, New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and operated a fleet of five Boeing 767s. After two years of operation, they were unable to attract enough customers from existing business-class programs on other carriers, and didn’t have any alternative passenger revenue streams to offset their struggling business-class ticket sales.

The MAXjet website says they’re contacting passengers in priority order based on date of departure, so if you’ve got a ticket with them and haven’t heard anything yet, you can try one of the following sets of contact information. In either case, “please have your contact information and either a confirmation number or flight date/number ready.”

IF YOU HAVE STARTED YOUR TRAVEL
Please contact MAXjet Customer Care at:
US phone number: 1-866-837-9880
UK phone number: 44 (0)1279 216 478
Email: intransit@maxjet.com

IF YOU HAVE NOT YET BEGUN YOUR TRAVEL, BUT HAVE BOOKED TICKETS
Seek a refund directly from your point of purchase (credit card or travel agency). For further information, passengers who have not yet begun travel may contact:
US phone number: 1-888-435-9629;
UK phone number: 44 (0)1279 216 428
Email: info@maxjet.com

“All-business class MAXjet files for bankruptcy protection, ceases operations” [StarTribune]
(Thanks to Owen!)

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  1. starrion says:

    Not entirely surprising.

    Maxjet’s business model of using older jets and carrying far fewer passengers meant that leaving any fraction of seats open meant losing significant revenue. The increase in actual costs, plus the fact that many people who fly business class are upgrades rather than full-fare tickets left them very vulnerable.

  2. Parting says:

    Merry Christmas, now we keep your money and you get to return home! *evil laugh*

  3. SBR249 says:

    I would imagine that many people flying the LA, NY, London routes in business class are actually business travelers whose companies pay the full ticket, not upgrades. The problem with that might be that companies tend to go with larger established airlines even if it means a more expensive ticket.

  4. FLConsumer says:

    I just hope Eos airlines doesn’t share a similar fate. Since the decline of Concorde, Eos/Maxjet were about the only alternatives.

  5. Chris Walters says:

    @FLConsumer: According to the article, both Eos and Silverjet (another similar carrier) issued statements on Monday that they were in good financial shape. Among other things, Eos has been able to raise money (which MAXjet was unable to do) and Silverjet operates more fuel-efficient planes.

  6. Travyjay says:

    I’ve flown MaxJet and there were a few of problems:
    1) They operated older model 767 and the interior was dated, felt almost as if I was flying Business Class with Southwest.
    2) They stopped flying Washington DC to London, to concentrate of the Las Vegas to London route, what type of people fly London to Vegas? Not business travelers, which leads to the final problem.
    3) Maxjet began to focus more on families and not Business travelers. From my own experience several flights were loud and had children in the ailes. You can imagine I was not interested in flying with them again.

    They shifted their focus away from Business travelers and that is what killed them, not the fuel costs.

  7. rolla says:

    who??

  8. weave says:

    I flew them in July 2006 for $999 roundtrip — well worth it at that price (was an opening special). Plane was not nearly full though.

  9. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    Hm. Sorry, what?

  10. Annika-Lux says:

    This sounds vaguely familiar. Except I seem to remember the airline’s name being Southeast, not Maxjet. Oh, that’s right, because this already did happen with Southeast and we had to scurry to make reservations with another airline. I think Southeast’s jets are still sitting somewhere on the tarmac at Orlando-Sanford Airport, or at least they were last time I was there.