First look and where to sit when flying Breeze Airways’ Embraer jets

May 28, 2021

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A brand-new startup airline just debuted in the U.S.

The carrier is Breeze Airways, the brainchild of serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman, who’s perhaps most famous for launching New York-based JetBlue and, among others, Azul in Brazil.

Breeze is launching with 39 routes, aimed at connecting mid-size cities that’ve historically been overlooked or underserved by the mainline carriers. The “Seriously Nicer” airline say it’s trying to make travel simpler and more convenient, through a robust mobile app and other tech enhancements, its point-to-point route network, low-cost operating model and friendly ground crew and flight attendants.

To reduce costs, Breeze is leasing 118-seat Embraer E195 jets from Azul, as well as 108-seat E190s from Nordic Aviation Capital. Later this year, the airline is expecting the first of its 60 new Airbus A220-300 jets, which can hold up to 160 passengers and will be deployed on longer routes. Neeleman said he expects the first delivery in October, with one delivery a month after that through the next few years.

For now, however, let’s take a look inside the Embraer jets that’ll get Breeze off the ground.

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First look inside Breeze Airways’ Embraer 195

Breeze’s Embraer 195s are outfitted with 118 coach seats, spread across 30 rows in a 2-2 configuration. The carrier’s smaller E190s have 10 fewer seats but are arranged in a similar 2-2 layout.

One of the most flyer-friendly features of the Embraer E-jet family is that there are no middle seats in coach.

Breeze is planning to install first class, dubbed the “Nicest” cabin, on its soon-to-be delivered Airbus A220s, but for now, the carrier is offering just one large economy cabin on the Embraers.

The first five rows of the plane, demarcated by the light gray seats, are branded as the carrier’s “Nicer” section. These are Breeze’s version of extra-legroom seats and can be assigned for free when purchasing a more expensive “Nicer” fare, or added on to the entry-level “Nice” fare for $20 to $50.

Seat pitch here ranges from 34 to 37 inches, so if you’re looking for the most comfortable ride, this is where you’ll find it.

The rest of the plane is outfitted with dark-gray “Nice” seats, each with 31 inches of pitch. (The E190s are a bit tighter at 29 inches of pitch in the “Nice” section.) Advanced seat assignments in this section range from $10 to $30 when purchasing an entry-level “Nice” fare.

The exit row, Row 14, is branded as a “Nicer” row and features 39 inches of pitch — the most you’ll find on the entire plane. Just note that the window armrest is immovable since it’s built into the exit door.

All other armrests throughout the jet can be raised or lowered, except for those in the first-row bulkhead.

Each of the 118 leather seats is quite comfortable and noticeably well-padded — a step up from the slimline seats you’ll find on other low-cost carriers, like America’s second-newest airline, Avelo. The only thing missing is a winged headrest, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue on Breeze’s short flights.

Seat width measures 17.6 inches, which made for a very comfortable ride on Thursday’s inaugural from Tampa to Charleston.

At launch, Breeze’s inflight experience will be quite limited: there’s no Wi-Fi or entertainment, though the carrier is planning to debut those amenities in the coming months. The Embraers will be retrofitted with streaming entertainment, which will include movies, TV shows, games and a moving map. The A220s will add Wi-Fi to the mix as well. (It’s unclear if Breeze will also install power outlets on the A220s.)

Hopefully, the carrier also adds some flair to the monochrome cabin while upgrading the tech.

Fortunately, the Embraer jets sport some of the largest airplane windows in the sky — 14 inches long and 13 inches wide — giving aviation enthusiasts plenty of real estate to grab a perfectly framed wing-view shot.

Of course, the pilots had the best view on the plane.

Each seat features a large tray table, measuring 17.5 inches wide and 11 inches long, big enough to comfortably fit my 13-inch MacBook Pro.

There are two lavatories on Breeze’s Embraer jets, one in the front and one in the back. Both are similarly sized, so you’ll want to use whichever is closer to your seats, assuming both are unoccupied.

Just note that the back galley is adjacent to the service area, so it could get quite cramped back there if a line were to form.

The plane’s overhead bins are large enough to fit a backpack or small rollaboard, but full-size carry-on bags might need to be checked at the gate, depending on their size.

Breeze’s most affordable “Nice” fares don’t include a full-size carry-on bag (that’ll set you back $20 to $50), so you shouldn’t have to worry about running out of overhead bin space if you board just minutes before departure.

More Breeze: What it was like aboard the airline’s inaugural flight

Where to sit when flying Breeze’ Airways Embraer 190

For an all-coach cabin, you might think that there’s little difference between seats. Turns out, however, that it pays to strategize when selecting seats with Breeze.

As mentioned, the first five rows of “Nicest” seats offer extra legroom.

Row one is at the bulkhead, which cuts into your legroom. All bags need to be stowed in the overhead bin for taxi, takeoff and landing, and the aisle and window armrests are immovable. I’d avoid these seats if possible.

For future Breeze flights, I’d personally choose row two — these seats have 37 inches of pitch, the second most you’ll find on the plane after the exit row.

Rows three, four and five each feature 34 inches of pitch.

The rest of the plane, aside from exit row 14, is outfitted with 31 inches of pitch.

The exit row has 39 inches, though I’d still choose Row 2 for a faster deplaning experience, despite having two fewer inches of pitch.

You’ll want to avoid Row 13 at all costs. These seats don’t recline since they’re right in front of the exit row.

I’d also avoid the last row, Row 30, since there’s limited recline, and the proximity to the galley could be bothersome.

Regardless of where you end up sitting, you’ll appreciate that there are no missing windows on this plane — a “seriously nice” feature according to this aviation enthusiast.

The other new startup: New US airline, Avelo, made splashy launch in April

Bottom line

Breeze’s Embraer 190 and 195 jets offer a comfortable travel experience.

With a 2-2 configuration, no one will end up in a dreaded middle seat. Though you won’t find any onboard connectivity or entertainment just yet, the leather seats are well-padded and there’s plenty of legroom, especially considering that most of Breeze’s flights are under two hours.

All told, it’s a breeze to fly with the newest airline in America.

All photos by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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