Breeze Airways, the low-cost startup run by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, is taking its trademark $39 fares to two brand new markets—the greater New York area and South Florida.
The carrier said it plans to start service to New York’s MacArthur Airport in Islip on Long Island, and to Palm Beach International Airport, in mid-February. These will be the first new cities since Breeze began flying in May 2021. From each of the newly added markets, Breeze will connect to other destinations it already serves, such as Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans; and other points in the East and Midwest.
While Breeze’s business model is focused on connecting secondary markets, this new round of flights puts the airline on more competitive turf. But Neeleman said his strategy hasn’t changed: “We’re offering new nonstop flights on routes where only connecting service is offered by other carriers,” he said.
And if all this sounds familiar, it’s because the move marks a return to the New York aviation scene by Neeleman, who burst onto the stage in early 2000 with JetBlue out of John F. Kennedy International Airport. Initially he faced little direct competition, as most domestic flights serving New York were out of LaGuardia or Newark Airports.
Islip is farther from the Big Apple than any of those airports—it’s about 50 miles from the city limits—but it does have several advantages, including a sizable local market as well as a direct rail link from the nearby Long Island Rail Road to New York’s Penn Station.
As for Palm Beach, Neeleman says it makes sense to offer flights in the middle of the winter to the resort town, whose airport offers a less crowded alternative to Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
The new cities bring Breeze to a total 18 destinations and will expand the carrier’s network to 42 routes. Tickets on the new routes are already on sale. The rollout will go as follows:
From Long Island to:
- Norfolk—starting February 17 (flights on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays from $39)
- Charleston—starting February 18 (flights on Fridays and Mondays from $39)
From Palm Beach to:
- Charleston—starting February 19 (flights on Saturdays from $39)
- New Orleans—starting February 19 (flights on Saturdays from $39)
- Columbus, Ohio— starting February 19 (flights on Saturdays from $59)
- Akron/Canton, Ohio— starting February 19 (flights on Saturdays from $59)
- Norfolk— starting February 19 (flights on Saturdays from $59)
- Richmond, Virginia— starting February 19 (flights on Saturdays from $59)
A “Nice,” “Nicer” and “Nicest” fare structure
Breeze has three fare categories: “Nice,” similar to the industry’s basic economy product; “Nicer,” with a few more inches of legroom, assigned seating, and a free checked bag (which otherwise costs $20 each for those flying on the lowest fares); and “Nicest” for forthcoming business class seats.
Inflight service consists of light snacks like Kind bars and Utz chips. There is no charge for changing or canceling flights, and the resulting flight credit is valid for up to two years.
All of the new flights will be aboard Embraer E190 aircraft, with 108 seats; Breeze has placed orders for 80 larger Airbus A220s, which should start entering services in the first half of 2022.
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