A new generation of boutique airlines is taking flight, serving a minimum of cities with a maximum of style. Upping the ante on exclusivity, they offer business-class-only flights, concierge services and a members-only booking policy...
Business-jet provider Privatair began operating private-label flights for Lufthansa, Swiss and KLM four years ago, but the first full-fledged airline, Eos, took off last fall from New York City's J.F.K. to London's Stansted. Its customized Boeing 757s have just 48 "suites," including lie-flat bed seats. Eos partners with London-based concierge firm Quintessentially to offer services to passengers from boarding until 24 hours after returning home, and its frequent-flyer points have a fixed cash value. Eos will even book customers on other airlines, paying for tickets with points from their accounts—a first in the history of the business.
Joining Eos at J.F.K. and Stansted is MAXjet, which offers 767s outfitted with older, reclining business-class seats and real meals for a rock-bottom fare of $1,500.
But leave it to the Italians to reinvent the cabin as a clubhouse. MiMa—an abbreviation of Milano-Manhattan—will soon begin service between Milan and New York City. Partly owned by Alitalia, MiMa will screen passengers for chic quotient as well as weapons, enrolling those who pass as "members." The $4,000 fare will include sleek transport to and from Milan's Linate Airport and concierge service in both cities.