Breeze, the latest airline start-up of JetBlue founder David Neeleman, will make its long-awaited service launch with 39 routes traversing 16 destinations. The inaugural three flights, connecting Tampa, Hartford, Conn. and Charleston, S.C., will take to the sky on May 27.
The airline unveiled its opening route network today, one day after receiving its FAA air carrier certificate, and it put tickets up for sale starting at $39 one-way. Tickets can be purchased on its website and through the Breeze app. The discount carrier is not selling through the GDSs.
Breeze's summer route network makes good on Neeleman's longtime assertion that the airline would offer a point-to-point route network of midsize city pairs that have no other nonstop service. The carrier's initial network mostly focuses on southern leisure destinations Tampa, New Orleans, Charleston and Norfolk, Va. Charleston features in 11 routes. Tampa and New Orleans feature in 10 routes. Norfolk features in seven routes.
Breeze's other launch cities are also mostly in the South and Northeast, though not entirely. They will include Louisville, Ky.; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Okla.; Bentonville, Ark.; Akron, Ohio; Columbus; Richmond, Va.; Huntsville, Ala.; Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I.; Hartford; and San Antonio. All 39 routes will begin by July 29. Just two of those city pairs, Louisville-Tampa and Columbus-Tampa, currently have nonstop service, Breeze said: Southwest and Spirit fly Columbus-Tampa; Southwest flies Louisville-Tampa.
Neeleman promised that Breeze ticket prices will stay "ridiculously low," even after introductory fares disappear.
"It's all about convenience and prices," he said. "And we're going to make sure that you don't have to connect through a hub. That makes people more loyal than anything. And then, if you can have a better quality and the nicest airline and treat people well, it just gets better and better from there."
Neeleman, however, isn't promising a consistent route map. Instead, Breeze will aggressively flex capacity in and out of markets according to demand.
"It's going to be crazy," he said. "We're going to move planes around wherever the seasons are. We're going to fly where people want to fly, not just to maintain a schedule."
Breeze is launching with a fleet of 13 Embraer regional jets. Ten Embraer E190 aircraft will have 108 seats, while three Embraer E195s will have 118 seats. Aircraft will have one cabin, laid out in a 2-2 configuration. Flight times will average less than two hours.
Beginning in October, Breeze will take delivery of one Airbus A220-300 per month for the next five years. Those aircraft will be placed on longer routes, Neeleman said, eventually including international service. The A220 will also have a premium cabin.
The airline is offering two fare products on its Embraer-operated flights, dubbed Nice and Nicer. With the introduction of the A220s, the carrier will also offer a third product, called Nicest, for premium cabin passengers.
Nice fares include seats with between 29 and 31 inches of legroom, or pitch. Passengers must pay for any carry-on bags that require overhead bin stowage as well as checked bags. They must also pay to select a seat in advance.
Both carry-on and checked bags cost $20, while seat assignments cost $10 and up.
The Breeze Nicer fare bundle comes with one free carry-on and one free checked bag and a complimentary drink and snack and priority boarding. Nicer ticket holders may also select seats with extra legroom, with pitch of between 33 inches and 39 inches.
Breeze doesn't charge change or cancellation fees with any of its fare products. Instead, flight credits will be banked for up to 24 months.
The carrier is also launching a frequent flyer program called BreezePoints. Nice ticket holders will receive BreezePoints equal to 2% of their ticket cost, which can be used for future ticket and ancillary purchases. Nicer tickets come with BreezePoints credits of 4%.
On the connectivity front, Breeze's Embraer-operated flights will have in-flight entertainment streamed to personal devices, but not WiFi. Later, WiFi will be offered on Breeze's A220-operated flights.
Breeze joins JetBlue, Utah-based Morris Air, Canada's WestJet and Brazil's Azul as airlines Neeleman has founded. It will be the second discount U.S. airline to launch this spring, following the April launch of Avelo.