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MAXjet Return STN-JFK Nov 3, 2005

MAXjet Return STN-JFK Nov 3, 2005

Old Nov 3, 2005, 8:53 pm
  #1  
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MAXjet Return STN-JFK Nov 3, 2005

Hi guys,

Here is my return report. To no surprise, I have the same flight attendants as my inaugural flight, and just want to thank Amy, Davida, Cameron, Lila, and Yan again for their excellent service and make an effort to talk to me, as I am a pretty shy guy. My schedule is all packed now, but I really hope to see you all again soon on my next MAXjet flight, which hopefully will be in February or March 2006. I once again thank the CEO, Gary Rogliano, again, as he talked to me again as he was on my return flight as well. Everyone was on high spirit, and the Boeing 767-200ER actually works pretty well, and is still pretty spotless. I hope more people will get to know MAXjet.

Photo Link:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...=8QbNHDNy5bsY6

November 3, 2005
MX 101 STN-JFK Lv1000 Arr1330 Boeing 767-200ER N770WD
Check in was at zone K, which was at the furthest end of the airport, and to no surprise, EOS counters are located next to MAXjet. MY has more counters because they have a larger load. I am once again asked many questions by the security person, which is pretty standard for transatlantic flights now, and questions are the usual, why are you here in London? How long? Where are you staying? Have you been outside of UK during this trip? Carryon with you at all times? There are a few passengers checking in front of me, but I was quickly processed, and before I forget, please print out your electronic ticket receipt or itinerary, you are expected to present one at STN. Again a number of important people immediately recognized me, including Ali Branch (I know I misspell your last name sorry) and Katie, the ground supervisor. They all recognize me as the first revenue passenger. Katie stayed with me during the check-in, while I still took a few baggage tags and pens with me, and then Ali made sure that I had a pair of seat to myself and in the front section. That is just topnotch customer service. Ground handling is Globeground/Servisair and the boarding pass uses Globeground stock, and the agent actually wears Globeground uniform. She has problems entering my passport information, as the computer wont save the information from the magnetic strip and she has to enter the information manually. She then presented me the boarding pass and a lounge invitation. I was surprised that the STN lounge was already opened. No need to get breakfast! Then Katie told me about the fast track service, which was available for all MAXjet passengers, and unlike TSA, the BAA staff at UK are friendly, polite, and competent at all aspects. No wonder Stansted is like a LCC hub, as they are really efficient and friendly, compared to my Heathrow experiences. I was done within ten minutes, and highly recommended everyone flying MAXjet or using gate 1-19 pier to do their duty free shopping at the main shopping area after security, because the selection at the piers are much smaller (no cigarettes and many alcohol selections are not available). But the main terminal area literally has a giant shopping mall, and I actually dont mind arriving thirty minutes earlier to hang out there. Anyway, then I headed to the train station for the quick shuttle over to the Gate 1-19 pier, and then walked around the terminal before heading to the lounge. It is quite an unusual scene to see so many Sky Europe Boeing 737s, Thomas Cooks A320, First Choices A321s, Ryannair, Easyjet all these European LCCs that you dont see in the US, but not really a big fan of them, so I did not take many pictures. Plus the typical UK gloomy autumn weather did not help.

About the MAXjet lounge, it is a big surprise, and later CEO Gary tells me that MAXjet will actually do more work on the lounge. Its past life is a SAS lounge, and as you know, SAS no longer serves London Stansted, so the lounge has a Scandinavian touch to it but one can never use enough natural lights and high ceilings, and MAXjet actually did some floorwork and put in the furniture. Everything else including kitchen is all ready to go and the lounge, as you can tell, is much better than KE lounge at JFK. Lots of comfortable sofa and the spacious feeling to it is tremendous. I like the dcor and the relaxed environment, but I think MAXjet may need to add few more seats to them eventually to accommodate 100 passengers. But Gary told me that this is just a preview and they will actually redo the lounge section by section, and the complete renovation will debut on January 2006. I will have to fly MAXjet then to find out. The breakfast buffet is tremendous with plates of fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, freshly baked butter croissants, Danish (especially the Chocolate croissant), lots of canaps (mini quiches, caviar tarts, and other small bites), and there is a full alcohol bar with beers, typical hard liquor selection, a juice and soft drinks bar. Lovely! What a great day to pass the day. There are also lots of newspapers available, and be warn that MAXjet is not loading newspapers except Financial Times for now, so if you want a UK paper, you may want to read it in the lounge or sneak a copy from the lounge on board, but MAXjet should work the newspapers soon. That is a major amenity these days of course, it will be great if MAXjet can provide same day UK papers on the evening return flights, and the previous day NYT on the return morning flights to JFK. Lots of us will appreciate a local paper before getting home.

Boarding time began at 9:30am and we used gate 16 this afternoon. There was a random security check below the gate area, and the staffs were once again friendly and made your life as easily as possible, but while checking on everything. I was selected because I was among the first few ones to board. Anyway, Amy once again welcomed me aboard, and all those familiar faces, including Yan, a flight attendant from China, are on this flight too. It is pretty unusual to speak mandarin on a transatlantic flight (but my mandarin is limited too) and I guess every airline is trying to be like Emirates or Qatar, hiring from all over the world. The cabin looks spotless as usual, and every blue leather seat comes with a plastic wrapped blanket and a pillow that is actually firm, and the STN crew did a good job cleaning up the plane. This time, Amy, Cameron, Davida, and Yan handles the front section, and Lila and other girls work in the second section. Service definitely goes much smoother this time and STN catering seems to board the right thing this time, and the F/As are getting used to the beat. A little different this time, F/As are more eager to hang coats and then they passed out bottled waters, and assisted with the folks before passing out the champagne/cranberry juice cocktail, and canaps beef teriyaki stuffed mushroom and crayfish cocktail canap, which are both excellent and better than JFK outbound. Of course seeing familiar faces make their work a bit easier, and door was closed early on 9:51am, but we did not push back till 10:07am, while seeing a nice Norweigan 737 pulled into its gate. I like the tail so I take a few pictures. Unlike Heathrow or other busy airports, we taxied straight on to Runway 23, and took off at 10:17pm with only five minutes of taxing time.

The pilot gave us more information this time, and we climbed to 38,000feet initially, before reaching 40,000feet. The flying time was estimated seven hours and thirty-nine minutes, but ended up as eight hours and three minutes, due to gusty wind at JFK and slowing down of traffic there. Before I forget, there are real headrest cloth covers this time no more flimsy paper headrest covers. Once again Dig E players are passed out, and ho towel was passed out before the beverage service. This time beverage was served forty minutes after takeoff, which was among the standard now, and pretzels are offered as accompaniments, and I cant help to say that I love the real champagne flutes. That is real business class. Even Uniteds business class does not have the champagne flutes all the times. Thirty minutes later, lunch was served, with a fresh linen to cover the tray, and then once again followed by salad tray, and this time, the salt and pepper shakers came as an airplane shape, and that shaker accidentally dropped in my bag. So cute! Anyway, entre was served next, followed by dessert. Here is menu and wine list:

Wine List (Same as inbound from JFK)
Old World Wines
Zantho, St. Laurent 2003, Burgenland Austria
Piedemonte Viura 2004, Navarra, Spain

New World Wines
Ferngrove Shiraz 2003-4, Frankland River, Western Australia
Cardiff Chardonnay 2004, California

Something Bubbly
Duval-Leroy Champagne

As You Board
Beef Teriyaki Stuffed Mushroom cap Hors doeuvre
Crayfish Cocktail Canap

Dinner
To Start
Salad of Harbor Lettuce Mix topped with Sun Blushed Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Fresh Mozzarella and a Roasted Artichoke

Served with your choice of Herb Vinaigrette or Diet Lemon Vinaigrette

Freshly baked bread: Cheese Topped Foccacia Rolls, Malted Wheat Half-Moon Rolls
Well the salad was nice, and fresh, and dont want to repeat myself too much. It can use some nice seafood, fruit, or meat garnishing, and I dont mind a separate appetizer mini side. Bread rolls are once again cold, and not warmed, but the Cheese topped foccacia rolls are quite delicious. This time, the F/As are aware of the choices. Of course Amy and Davida never stop pampering you.

Choice of Entres
Filet of Beef served with a Jacket Potato topped with cheese and chives, Rosemary accented Asparagus, Double Roasted Tomatoes and Barnaise Sauce on the side
Or
Chili Spiced Prawns served on top of sesame noodles with Sugar Snap Peas (served chilled)
Or
Roasted Pork Loin with a Grain Mustard Sauce, Double Parsley Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus and carrots
I had the pork entre because I have too much red meat on the outbound, and the pork was not as dry as expected. Pretty good for an airline meal the sauce was great, and the side was fine, and the asparagus remain green and crunchy and I guess MAXjet installs steamed oven on board. The mashed potato was fine, and tasted even better after some butter mixed on it. I am bad!

After Dinner
Assortment of Cranberry Wendsleydale and Double Gloucester cheeses served with Fresh Fig, Strawberry and Pecans
Or
Pannetonni Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding
The Bread & Butter Pudding was fine, and two pieces of orange garnish the dessert. The cheese plate looked fine too.

Well lunch was completed with a nice cup of tea and a MARS mini bar. Plus a little gift from the crew! Thank you again! Once again, water glasses were keep filled throughout the flight, and the F/As always did patrolling, and once they saw me turning on my light, Cameron immediately came with a choice of OJ or water. This time, glasses are used almost at all times, unlike the outbound flight, when they ran out of glasses by breakfast, or they could not find them. Davida once again walked around the cabin and did the blanket service personal turndown service like those airline advertisement. I tried to sleep a bit and drifted between listening to music and taking mini naps. With a light load (about 35%), the cabin was pretty peaceful.

Chefs Pantry
The following items are available throughout the flight should you feel hungry between services
Cream Cheese & Chili Sandwich
Ready Salted Chips
Whole Fruit
And a little something sweet

Before Landing
Scone with Strawberry Preserves and Clotted Cream

Your Choice of:
Cheese & Pickle Sandwich served with a Hot Smoked Salmon Dill Mayo Sandwich, Crudits and a Mustard/Mayo Dip
Or
Chicken Brochettes

At about 5pm London time, lights were turned back on, and the F/As took beverage orders and passing out those afternoon tea trays. Trolleys were not used for this last service, and two choices were offered. Lots of passenger raved over the chicken brochettes, which tasted like a mix of Indian and Malaysian satay style. As a SQ satay fan, I dont think MAXjets chicken brochettes are all that, but it is cool that some guys said that chicken entre was the best airline meal ever served in the world. However, I have to say even using chicken breast/white meat, the brochette remains moist and the sauce is definitely tasty and gives it a nice kick. Avoid it if you dont eat spicy though. The scone is fine and clotted crme and jam was available. Good job, MAXjet for the tasty snack prior to arrival. After the snack, Cameron, Amy, and Davida came to bid me goodbye and thanks for my business. Davidas comments really touched me and I hope that kind of good spirit will help MAXjet to success. Davida, it is definitely my pleasure to be among your first customers and have a pleasure to fly you guys on both sectors! Descent began at 12:40pm and that was where I accidentally spilled a glass of ginger ale into my bag, so lots of souvenirs got ruined and Amy tried to help and gave me lots of hot towels. But my personal calendar was sort of ruined but thankfully none of electronic gadgets were in the bag at that time. However, Amy did get me a fresh copy of the menu. I guess I was punished for the accident on the inaugural, when a MAXjet blanket made it to my carryon. Sorry I am weak when it comes to planes stuff. Anyway, due to high gusty wind at JFK and we had to use R/W22L, which meant traveling all the way out in the Atlantic Ocean and then turning back lots of turns, so we were slowed down significantly, and the F/As were asked to take their seats earlier. We landed on Runway 22L at 1:20pm (still early), and parked at gate 2 at 1:26pm. I spotted Air Frances 772 F-GSPJ, Lufthansas Airbus A330-300 D-AIKH, and Alitalias Boeing 777-200ER I-DISE. Once deplaned, there were two MAXjet agents directing folks to the INS, which was busy in the foreign line, but empty at the US Citizens side. I made it out within ten minutes (well I have no bags).

The return experience is certainly held up to my expectation! The F/As definitely come together as a better team, and the meals are actually good too from STN. I have to give credits to excellent food. I do not see many takers for the cold entres maybe MAXjet wants to cut that out, and replaced by another hot entre. I love the lounge at STN and hope that computers can be hooked up soon, as well as complimentary wifi network. For the planes, I think they are kept in good shape. For some reasons, I read some comments regarding a tired looking cabin. I disagree because the plane is definitely clean and the seats are spotless, and all the functions work well. Of course, this plane is a leased aircraft and the overhead bins still reflect the old design. Nevertheless, except the bathrooms, I find the equipment to pass my pretty tough cleanliness test. Even the bathrooms are clean, but the designs are simply not the brand new kinds on Airbus A320s or the Boeing 737NG. Once again, I like MAXjet and the only major things that they need to work on are first, laptop power outlets on the seats (no need for satellite phone though), keep an eye on the latest wifi technology but not an urgent issue, and the amenity/amenity kits issues, especially socks and eyeshades. I am sure if MAXjet model works, they will work on a better replacement for the aircraft.

I am sure the load will struggle a bit in the beginning, but Katie said that the booking was actually pretty good for a startup and the EOS counter definitely looks much more quieter (well they have less seats), but I like premium airlines especially affordable ones like MAXjet. So I wish them luck and keep the comments coming!

Carfield
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Old Nov 3, 2005, 9:36 pm
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Thanks for your usual detailed TR, and yes, "accidents" do happen!
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 8:33 am
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Carfield,

You are my hero. Are we going to be on the first SQ flight on the A380?



-Carl
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 3:32 pm
  #4  
aw
 
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Glad you got the royal treatment. Maxjet would be more lucrative if they are able to partner with a major frequent flying alliance. There has to be a good incentive for loyalty.
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 4:51 pm
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Thanks for the report and great pics ^
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 6:02 pm
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Thumbs up Great!

Fantastic!

Last edited by Blancine; Nov 19, 2005 at 2:18 pm
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 10:30 pm
  #7  
das
 
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This is a great report, thanks for your funny anecdotes and your great attention to detail. MaxJet sounds like true Business Class service (i've done Premium Economy on VS a few times, and while it's not bad, I have trouble differentiating it from Coach...)

Please keep these reports coming :-)
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Old Nov 7, 2005, 7:54 pm
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Excellent read! Thanks for the great report..

Just one question, how many aircrafts do MAXjet have? Do they use the aircraft back and forth everyday?
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 7:37 am
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Great review!
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 1:18 pm
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carfield - you sure get around. HKG one minute, STN the next, bouncing between SEA and EWR. Great to read your report. Thanks!
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Old Jan 21, 2006, 8:21 pm
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Question

Any updates on this airline or flights?
Thanks,
Jon
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Old Jan 29, 2006, 11:52 am
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Low load factors?

Flts in late Jan and Feb were wide open.

I had a quick business trip SFO-LHR and AA priced out at $1900 in coach. I got disgusted and checked Maxjet. It was a reasonable $1400 RT in their business class from JFK. Adding the SJC/SFO-JFK segment, I'd be able to fly business for AA's coach.

I noticed that the load factors on Maxjet were very low? That concerned me as I wanted to be absolutely sure I arrived at my destination at the time planned and had enough alternatives for fallbacks.

Found that AA was a reasonable $450 or so with a Sat night stay (which worked out for my trip). For now, I skipped Maxjet but will definitely consider them for future trips.

Why are their load factors low? Will they go I-Air way?
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Old Aug 29, 2006, 9:17 am
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Check It Out

MAXjet just announced services to Vegas starting Nov 2nd... Third plane comes on line in Sept... and they are doing the Ryder Cup charter, the Washington Redskins charter, Royal family of Berni, and many many many more!!!!.. In one year MAXjet has def taken it to the MAX!
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Old Sep 5, 2006, 6:01 pm
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Seats Row 8 on 767-200 Maxjet

Any idea on how the seats in row 8 are? They are near the toilet. SeatExpert marks them as slight yellow at the top.

Is there a curtain b/w the aisle and toilets?
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Old Sep 6, 2006, 2:11 am
  #15  
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Nice report and pictures. What a cute salt/pepper dispenser ^
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