With fares as low as $39 and extra fees for anything more than pocket paraphernalia or purses, Breeze Airways, the latest launch by former JetBlue founder David Neeleman, will finally have its day on the tarmac on May 27. The anticipated entrance into the U.S. airline market is happening several months later than planned due to the pandemic, but comes at an optimum time to be putting its footprint in the low-cost carrier category. The move comes just a month after the launch of Avelo Airlines, which is based at Burbank Airport in North Hollywood, CA and flying to such places as Santa Rosa, CA and Hartford, CT with similarly tempting fares.
Breeze’s first flights will operate between such secondary cities as Charleston, SC, Tampa, FL and Hartford, CT, starting Thursday, with remaining destinations to be added each week through July 22, 2021. The network, in its first phase of operation, will run 39 nonstop routes between 16 cities in the Southwest, Midwest, Southeast and Eastern US. Key hub airports for the airline are located in Tampa, FL; Charleston, SC; New Orleans, LA; and Norfolk, VA.
Breeze Airways represents Neeleman’s fifth airline start-up. His most recent project before Breeze was Brazil’s Azul, which launched in 2008, but the portfolio includes JetBlue, Canada’s WestJet, and Utah-based Morris Air, later purchased by Southwest Airlines. Breeze Airways is headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT.
To create a differentiating feature, the airline zeroed in on “kindness.” Guests may choose from fares that include ‘Nice’ seats, or ‘Nicer’ seats with extra legroom. All Embraer aircraft will be a two-by-two seat configuration, so there are no middle seats.
“We created Breeze as a new airline merging technology with kindness. Breeze provides nonstop service between underserved routes across the U.S. at affordable fares. A staggering 95 percent of Breeze routes currently have no airline serving them nonstop,” Neeleman said. “With seamless booking, no change or cancellation fees, up to 24-months of reusable flight credit and customized flight features delivered via a sleek and simple app, Breeze makes it easy to buy and easy to fly.”
Breeze will operate 13 single-class Embraer aircraft this summer, flying routes with an average flight length under two hours. The ten E190 jets will be configured to seat 108 Guests while the three E195 aircraft will have 118 seats. Guests may choose from fares that include ‘Nice’ seats, or ‘Nicer’ seats with extra legroom. All Embraer aircraft will be a two-by-two seat configuration, so there are no middle seats.
Breeze will start taking delivery of 60 brand new Airbus A220 aircraft, beginning in October of this year and delivering at about one per month for five years. The A220 routes, which will be announced this Fall, all will be longer than two hours’ flight time. The A220s will include a premium cabin, called ‘Nicest’ seating, in a two-by-two configuration at the front of the plane. The remainder of the aircraft will feature a two-by-three seat configuration.
Where the Breeze Blows
From Tampa Bay, Breeze will inaugurate service on 10 routes, most of which are currently not served:
- Charleston, SC (starting May 27)
- Louisville, KY (May 28)
- Tulsa, OK (June 4)
- Norfolk, VA (June 10)
- Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR (June 17)
- Akron/Canton, OH (June 26)
- Oklahoma City, OK (July 1)
- Columbus, OH (July 3)
- Huntsville, AL (July 22) and
- Richmond, VA (July 22)
From Charleston, Breeze will inaugurate service to 11 markets, most of which are currently not served:
- Hartford, CT (starting May 27)
- Tampa, FL (May 27)
- Louisville, KY (May 28)
- Norfolk, VA (June 10)
- Akron/Canton, OH (July 8)
- Columbus, OH (July 8)
- New Orleans, LA (July 8)
- Pittsburgh, PA (July 8)
- Richmond, VA (July 8)
- Huntsville, AL (July 15) and
- Providence, RI (July 22)
From New Orleans, Breeze will inaugurate service to 10 markets, most of which are currently not served:
- Charleston, SC (starting June 10)
- Tampa, FL (June 10)
- New Orleans, LA (July 15)
- Columbus, OH (July 22)
- Hartford, CT (July 22)
- Pittsburgh, PA (July 22) and
- Providence, RI (July 29)
Breeze also will operate five routes from Columbus, OH; four routes from Hartford, CT, and Pittsburgh, PA; and three routes from Akron/Canton, OH; Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR; Huntsville, AL; Louisville, KY; Oklahoma City, OK; Providence, RI; Richmond, VA; San Antonio, TX, and Tulsa, OK, including between:
- Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR, and San Antonio, TX (July 15)
- San Antonio, TX, and Oklahoma City, OK (July 15)
- Tulsa, OK, and San Antonio, TX (July 15)
- Hartford, CT, and Columbus, OH (July 22)
- Pittsburgh, PA, and Hartford, CT (July 22) and
- Providence, RI, and Pittsburgh, PA (July 29)
“These 16 cities are just the beginning for Breeze,” said Mr. Neeleman. “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s air service has meant many secondary markets and smaller cities have seen a significant reduction in flights. There are so many city pairs needing nonstop service around the country, we have a further 100 cities under consideration. Flying nonstop, Breeze will get you there in half the time, but also for about half the price!”
Breeze’s introductory fares start at just $39* and there are no change or cancellation fees. Guests earn credit called “BreezePoints” on all purchases that can be used towards future flights or other ancillary products, such as bags and seat assignments. Guests can change or cancel a flight up to 15 minutes before scheduled departure without penalty. Unused funds from changes and cancellations are automatically saved in the Guest’s Breeze account and do not expire for 24 months.
During booking, Guests may choose from ‘Nice’ or ‘Nicer’ fares — with the ‘Nicest’ fare being introduced in the Fall along with business class seating on the Airbus A220…
– The Nice Fare is the airline’s most affordable fare starting at only $39 one-way and includes a personal item, such as a backpack or purse. Guests can select a seat assignment and add bags to their reservation for an additional cost. If no seat is selected then one will be assigned at no cost during check-in. The Nice seat pitch is 29 inches on the E-190 aircraft and 31 inches on the E-195s. A Nice Fare can be paired with a Nicer Seat for an additional cost. All Nice Fares receive two percent in BreezePoints.
– The Nicer Fare includes an extra legroom seat assignment, a personal item, carry-on bag (overhead bin), one checked bag, a complimentary drink and snack, and priority boarding. The Nicer seat pitch is between 33 and 39 inches on the E-190s, depending on the row selected, and between 34 and 39 inches on the E-195s. All Nicer Fares receive four percent in BreezePoints.
Prices to check or carry-on bags are a flat rate of $20 each, one way, for up to three bags. This flat rate – which is one of the lowest in the US — is the same whether a bag is checked or taken onboard.
Seat assignments start from $10, but Family Seating is free for families traveling with children 12 and under. The charge to travel with a pet in the cabin is $75.
Refreshing Snacks and Entertainment
Snacks on board will include selections from Utz and, of course, KIND® bars. Other onboard niceties will include both inflight entertainment and WiFi connectivity on the Airbus A220 fleet. The Embraer fleet will not offer connectivity given the much shorter flights, however, the Embraer fleet will feature free inflight entertainment, powered by Global Eagle, streaming to personal electronic devices. Breeze’s IFE will include TV, games, and a real-time map.
Global Eagle’s Iris digital platform and Airconnect IFE Pro enable Breeze Guests to choose from more than 150 comedy, drama and kids’ shows. Frequent travelers will enjoy fresh entertainment options quarterly, as part of the airline’s commitment to customizing and constantly increasing content for its passengers.
Breezing Through TSA
Breeze Airways has already been added to the TSA’s PreCheck program for expedited screening that enables low-risk travelers to have an efficient screening experience at more than 200 U.S. airports, where they will not have to remove shoes, belts, liquids, food items, laptops and light jackets.
Clearing the Air
Breeze’s aircraft are cleaned and disinfected frequently. Both the Embraer and Airbus use HEPA filters to refresh cabin air every few minutes. Hand sanitizer will be available for all guests.
Editors note: The $39 fare is available for one-way nonstop service (not connecting travel) on all routes. Seats are limited and fares will not be available on some flights. The seat must be purchased by May 31, 2021 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time for travel through February 15, 2022. Price includes all taxes, fees, and other airport/government charges and is nonrefundable, but forward credits are available.