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Just the business?

Putting new executive-only airlines to the test

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MAXjet and Eos began operating their services on October.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Concorde may have made its last take-off, but now there's a new luxury standard for trans-Atlantic flight.

Two new business class-only airlines have just started operating flights between London and New York.

MAXjetexternal link and Eosexternal link launched their services in October, generating a stir in the travel industry. But do they live up to the hype?

Although both airlines are catering to the same market, the two offer very different services.

"The original strategy of this company has always been to connect low fare carriers in the United States to low fare carriers here," says Gary Pogiano, CEO of MAXjet.

"Our ideal traveler is -- because our price point is identical to a full fare economy ticket two or three weeks out -- it's the business traveler that's booking close in and usually has to book in economy.

"And what we're saying to them is, for the same price you can have a full business class experience."

MAXjet makes no claims to being the most luxurious way to cross the Atlantic. It offers neither a flat bed nor a fully-reclining seat.

But its seats do have a generous recline and for the price charged -- about $700 one-way -- there's nothing to match it on the London-New York route.

While MAXjet uses a wide-body Boeing 767 for its 102 passengers, Eos uses a narrow-bodied 757 with just 48 seats, or suites, as they call them.

'This is the future'

The Eos experience is much more in line with the latest thinking on premium business travel. A sleeping pod, lie flat beds, and lots of luxury.

It offers customers the option to sit and have dinner with a traveling companion, or hold a meeting without everyone having to stand by the toilet.

"I think this is the future," says David Spurlock, Eos CEO.

"I think you'll see two types of airlines survive. You'll see the low-cost carriers as they commoditize their product offerings and serve typically short-haul markets.

"And then I think you're going to see the long haul specialists who invest in their products, invest in their service, invest in innovation and differentiation. That's who Eos is."

Business-only flights are nothing new.

Flag-carriers Lufthansa and Swiss Air are currently operating their own business class-only flights alongside regular services. Other airlines have tried and failed.

But experts say the two newcomers will be watched closely by an industry struggling to move with the times.

"The airline industry has been in such upheaval in the last four or five years that I'm sure that while Eos and MAXjet think that they have respectively found the answer," says Tom Otley, editor of Business Traveller magazine.

"The traditional airlines will be watching with interest, and if it proves successful I'm sure that they will take measures to compete with these two."

CNN's Shantelle Stein and Richard Quest contributed to this report.

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