Skip to content

Breeze, JetBlue founder’s new low-cost airline, puts first 39 routes on sale for as little as $39

May 21, 2021
8 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There's a new wind blowing into U.S. airspace.

Breeze Airways, the latest venture from JetBlue founder David Neeleman, is poised to begin selling tickets and operating flights. The new airline received final approval from the Department of Transportation to open ticket sales on Friday, clearing it to become the second U.S. startup carrier to launch this year. The other, Avelo Airlines, debuted in April with 11 routes along the West Coast and soon followed with plans to expand in the East.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG's free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Although this may seem like an unusual time to start an airline, Breeze — which will begin flying just in time for the Memorial Day weekend — will be well-positioned to take advantage of the recovery in travel demand, Neeleman told TPG in an interview.

The carrier will focus on point-to-point routes between small, underserved cities. Eschewing hubs, and generally avoiding competition, Neeleman — who also founded Brazilian airline Azul and was previously a co-owner of TAP Portugal — plans to run a low-cost, nimble operation connecting city pairs that might not come top of mind. That means nonstop flights between places like Louisville and Norfolk, Virginia, rather than higher-profile routes like New York and Los Angeles. Perhaps not coincidentally, it's the same blueprint that's being used by the other startup, Avelo.

For Breeze, its launch is a bigger one, beginning with 39 routes, primarily from four focus cities: Tampa; New Orleans; Charleston, South Carolina; and Norfolk, Virginia.

In-depth interview: Neeleman says Breeze will use a ‘see how it goes’ approach to succeed. And business class — eventually

The airline plans to have a presence in a total of 16 cities, including the four focus cities. The others are Louisville; Tulsa; Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas; Akron/Canton, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Huntsville, Alabama; Richmond, Virginia; Hartford, Connecticut; Pittsburgh; Providence; San Antonio; and Oklahoma City.

A full list of routes available at launch is included later in this post.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Breeze plans to reduce costs and expedite its launch by initially leasing 118-seat Embraer E195 jets from Azul, as well as 108-seat E190s from Nordic Aviation Capital. That means low capital costs to start. The airline is also in agreement to purchase 60 new Airbus A220-300 jets, which can hold up to 160 passengers. Neeleman said he expects the first delivery in October, with one delivery a month after that through the next few years.

More: Traveling soon? Here’s where you can quickly get a COVID-19 PCR test for travel

The A220s will feature in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi. However, the Embraer jets will not have connectivity, Breeze said, citing the shorter flight times for those aircraft. They will, however, have streaming entertainment options.

Breeze received its formal “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Interstate Air Transportation,” from the Department of Transportation in March, which gave Breeze one year to begin flying passengers with up to 22 aircraft — although the airline can apply for permission to increase its fleet size at any time. The airline could not begin operations, however, until it received safety authorization from the FAA, and final approval to begin selling tickets.

New airlines must receive economic authority to begin operations from the DOT, as well as separate safety authority from the Federal Aviation Administration, before it can begin selling flights. The last of regulatory approvals that the carrier needed came through just this week.

The airline will be headquartered in Salt Lake City.

The first routes for Breeze Airways

The inaugural Breeze flight will be on Thursday, May 27, flying from Tampa to Charleston. The plane will continue on from Charleston to Hartford, before flying back the same way.

Courtesy of Breeze Airways

Here's a full list of routes that Breeze will launch, as well as start dates:

Tampa, Florida to:

  • Charleston, South Carolina (starting May 27)
  • Louisville (May 28)
  • Tulsa (June 4)
  • Norfolk (June 10)
  • Bentonville/Fayetteville (June 17)
  • Akron/Canton (June 26)
  • Oklahoma City (July 1)
  • Columbus, Ohio (July 3)
  • Huntsville (July 22)
  • Richmond (July 22)

Charleston, South Carolina to:

  • Hartford (starting May 27)
  • Tampa (May 27)
  • Louisville (May 28)
  • Norfolk (June 10)
  • Akron/Canton (July 8)
  • Columbus, Ohio (July 8)
  • New Orleans (July 8)
  • Pittsburgh (July 8)
  • Richmond (July 8)
  • Huntsville (July 15)
  • Providence (July 22)

Norfolk, Virginia to:

  • Charleston, South Carolina (starting June 10)
  • Tampa (June 10)
  • New Orleans (July 15)
  • Columbus, Ohio (July 22)
  • Hartford (July 22)
  • Pittsburgh (July 22)
  • Providence (July 29)

New Orleans, Louisiana to:

  • Charleston, South Carolina (starting July 8)
  • Akron/Canton (July 15)
  • Bentonville/Fayetteville (July 15)
  • Huntsville (July 15)
  • Louisville (July 15)
  • Norfolk (July 15)
  • Oklahoma City (July 15)
  • Richmond (July 15)
  • Tulsa (July 15)
  • Columbus, Ohio (July 16)

In addition to those routes from its focus cities, Breeze plans to fly standalone routes between:

  • Bentonville/Fayetteville-San Antonio (July 15)
  • San Antonio-Oklahoma City (July 15)
  • Tulsa-San Antonio (July 15)
  • Hartford-Columbus, Ohio (July 22)
  • Pittsburgh-Hartford (July 22)
  • Providence-Pittsburgh (July 29)

Low Fares A Simple Rewards Program

Breeze fares will start as low as $39 at launch for one-way tickets, although it was not clear what normal fares would be.

Breeze will also launch with an in-house loyalty program.

“It’s going to be pretty simple,” Neeleman said. “You just earn credits, and you can use those credits on future flights.”

Passengers earn 2% “BreezePoints” on Nice fares, and 4% on Nicer fares. Points can be redeemed towards future flights or ancillary products, such as bag fees or on-board food.

On-board product And Fare Classes

At launch, Breeze will offer two fares aboard its Embraer jets: "Nice" and "Nicer."

Both fares have no change or cancellation fees. If you need to change or cancel your flight up to 15 minutes before departure, you can get a flight credit good for up to 24 months.

Nice fares, the airline's hybrid of standard and basic economy, come with a standard seat without a seat assignment — all seats are in a 2-2 configuration — with 29 inches of pitch on the E-190 and 31 inches on the E-195. Nice passengers can bring a personal item — a full-size carry-on or checked bag will cost extra — and earn 2% BreezePoints.

More: JetBlue announces long-awaited flights to London

Nicer fares come with an extra legroom seat — depending on the row, that's 33 to 39 inches of pitch on the E-190s, and 34 to 39 inches on the E-195s. Nicer fares include a full-size carry-on and a checked bag, a drink and snack, and earn 4% BreezePoints.

Seat assignments start at $10 each, although families traveling with children 12 and under can pick seats for free. Checked bags — and carry-on bags, for Nice fares — are $20 each, one-way, for up to three bags.

When Breeze starts flying the A220, the airline will introduce a third fare: Nicest.

Nicest fares will be the airline's business-class product. Initially, at least, the front cabin will have standard first-class recliners in a 2-2 configuration, although Neeleman said the airline could always upgrade to lie-flat seats if that makes sense down the road. Economy seats on the A220 will be in a 2-3 layout.

Featured image by A rendering of an Embraer E195 in the planned livery for start-up carrier Breeze Airways. (Image courtesy of Breeze Airways.)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees