- David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways is an ultra-low-cost carrier that’s directly the opposite of his famed JetBlue Airways.
- Flyers pay low fares but are then enticed to spend more on extras like baggage and seat assignments.
- Avoiding extra fees on Breeze is quite easy, as I found when taking two flights on the airline.
Flying during the summer of vaccinated travel doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
David Neeleman, the founder of JetBlue Airways and four other airlines, just launched Breeze Airways with 39 new low-cost leisure routes across the US launching this summer.
Breeze’s value proposition comes from offering cheap flights between cities with little to no direct air connectivity and fares start at $39 for even its longest flights. But extra fees for add-ons like checked baggage and seat assignments can quickly increase the final bill, defeating the purpose of booking with an ultra-low-cost carrier in the first place.
Read More: How JetBlue’s founder plans to offer low prices without a low-end experience on his newest airline, Breeze
I took two flights on Breeze Airways flying from Tampa, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina and onward to Hartford, Connecticut on the first day of the airline’s operations. Over the course of two flights, I saw how the airline follows the typical ultra-low-cost playbook and got a sense of how to spend as little as possible while getting the most from the airline.
Here’s how to when flying on America’s newest ultra-low-cost airline.
Don’t buy a seat assignment
My rule when flying ultra-low-cost carriers is to never pay extra for a seat assignment. And on Breeze, that rule holds truer than on others.
All of Breeze’s current aircraft are Embraer E190 and E195 aircraft — which JetBlue Airways, TAP Air Portugal, and Azul Brazilian Airlines flyers will recognize — and configured in a 2-2 configuration. Each seat is either an aisle or window seat with no middles to be found on the entire aircraft.
Flyers that don’t pay up for a seat assignment will have one auto-assigned by the airline but every passenger is still guaranteed an aisle or window seat. With that in mind, it’s easy enough to forgo the extra fee and still get a great seat.
Having an auto-assigned seat also doesn’t mean the airline will assign the worst seat on the aircraft to those that don’t pay up. Cheaper seats in the back will likely be bought up and leave the more expensive seats open to be auto-assigned.
Case in point, I was assigned seat 23C on my first Breeze flight. It was an aisle seat towards the back of the plane but nowhere near the last row.
And if the auto-assigned seat isn’t desirable, a friendly gate agent might be willing to help out. Breeze’s motto, after all, is “seriously nice.” When flying from Charleston to Hartford, I kindly asked the gate agent if any full rows were available and I was moved to one, free of charge.
Families traveling with children 12 and under can also select seats for free.
Breeze flights are also incredibly short with the majority under two hours. So unless there’s a certain type of seat that a flyer needs to have, paying up is pointless.
Pick the Embraer E195, if possible
Breeze’s fleet of Embraer aircraft may look nearly identical but they offer vastly different onboard products. The Embraer E195 is the larger aircraft and current crown jewel of the fleet in terms of onboard comfort.
Standard legroom seats, known as “nice” seats, feature 31 inches of pitch and extra legroom “nicer” seats offer between 34 and 39 inches of pitch. The E190, for comparison, only offers 29 inches of pitch for nice seats and nicer seats offer between 33 and 39 inches of pitch.
But these planes won’t be easy to nail down. There are only three E195s currently flying for Breeze, according to Planespotters.net, and flyers may not have a choice of aircraft when booking. But if flyers do find themselves with a choice, the E195 is the way to go.
Do it yourself whenever possible
Nearly everything that a Breeze employee would have to help you with will incur an extra charge and the only way to avoid those fees is by simply doing everything yourself.
Getting a mobile boarding pass instead of having an airport agent print one will save $3, changing a flight using the Breeze website or mobile application will save $9, and adding baggage allowance on the website or app will save $50.
There are some things that the airline simply must help with, including when flights are delayed or canceled. But for the most part, the airline wants flyers to do things themselves or pay the privilege of help.
Download the Breeze mobile application
Breeze bills itself as a “high-tech company that just happens to fly airplanes,” as Neeleman told AFAR. But while all of the technological aspects of the airline are yet to be fully developed, the airline’s mobile application is a good start and makes it easy for flyers to do things themselves.
Customers can book and change flights on the app without having to talk to a Breeze agent, as well as pay for extras like seat assignments and baggage allowance. Mobile boarding passes can also be downloaded to the app so flyers can save the $3 airport printing fee.
The result is saving money on a flight while also speeding through an airport when it comes time to fly.
Just bring a backpack
Breeze charges a baggage fee of $20 fee for passengers checking a bag or carrying on any bag larger than a personal item — such as a purse or backpack. That fee increase to $25 if the flight is longer.
It’s a reasonable price to charge and lower than what most airlines charge for a checked bag.
The fee is avoidable, though, if flyers don’t need to bring a lot of luggage. Those getting away for a short trip can save $20 by simply bringing a backpack instead of a carry-on bag.
Breeze’s requirement is that it fits under the seat so overhead bin space is taken up.
Snacks are complimentary, for now
Ultra-low-cost airlines rarely give customers anything for free, snacks and drinks included. Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines, for example, charge for water on their flights.
Breeze will eventually begin selling snacks and drinks but for now, a complimentary offering of Utz chips and Kind bars are available to passengers accompanied by small bottles of water. It’s not much of an offering but it’s enough to get through a quick flight.
Be nice to flight attendants
Airlines aren’t the only entities capable of charging extra fees.
The Federal Aviation Administration is warning that unruly flyers can be issued fines of up to $35,000 if they act up on airplanes. Flight attendants have been the subject of unruly passengers over issues including the federal mask mandate, as Insider’s Allana Akhtar has reported, and incidents on onboard violence have skyrocketed to more than 3,200 cases as of early July.
Being kind to airline workers doesn’t require a mobile application or printing one’s own boarding pass, and all the savings that can be had on Breeze can also be quickly obliterated by the FAA.