Photo by Engel Ching/Shutterstock
Getting to San Francisco from New York will soon be a breeze.
Low-cost startup Breeze Airways expands with coast-to-coast flights and bargain first-class fares.
Sick of paying extortionate airfares for a cramped seat in coach? Breeze Airways, the upstart airline from JetBlue founder David Neeleman, has an alternative: The carrier is launching a flotilla of flights this summer and fall with what it bills as a “screaming deal”—first-class seats on coast-to-coast domestic flights starting at $249 one way, and coach seats at $149 one way.
In a surprise announcement last week, the ultra low–cost carrier said it will add seven nonstop routes out of New York, including transcontinental flights to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Las Vegas—tweaking its original game plan of sticking to short hops between secondary markets. In this case, though, it’s hewing to its strategy of flying to lesser-known airports: These new flights, Breeze’s largest launch from any single market, will depart from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, about 30 miles north of New York City. Currently, scheduled service out of the mid-size airfield goes no farther west than Chicago.
The move coincides with the airline’s rollout of a new fleet of Airbus A220 jets, equipped with 36 first-class seats in a two-by-two configuration and 90 economy seats in a two-by-three layout (10 of them with extra legroom). Some of the short trips will still use smaller Embraer 190 and 195 regional aircraft.
While Neeleman made New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) his base when he founded JetBlue 22 years ago, he’s apparently now only too happy to exploit consumer dissatisfaction with flying out of congested hubs in New York and other major urban areas. Neeleman, who lived in Connecticut for many years, joked last week that “I wasted tons of time driving to JFK or Newark to travel to the West Coast.”
Neeleman hinted there will be more long hops out of other East Coast airports, including Hartford, Connecticut’s Bradley International, where Breeze has nonstop flights to 11 destinations—among them new flights to Las Vegas, announced just last week.
Breeze’s fares come in three flavors: the no-frills “Nice” class; a mid-price “Nicer” product including things like a free checked bag; and “Nicest” fares, the airline’s version of first class, with bigger seats, more legroom, two checked bags, and free drinks and snacks.
Here’s a rundown of the new services and fares:
From New York/Westchester:
Previously announced routes:
To San Francisco:
To Los Angeles:
To Las Vegas:
Breeze, of course, isn’t the only new kid on the block. Other cut-rate startup lines—including Aha! and Avelo—got out of the gate in time to take advantage of the current surge in air travel demand. As the big lines push up prices, these smaller startups are using their low costs to undercut the competition.
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