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New startup Breeze Airways takes flight today with inaugural flight from Florida

May 27, 2021
3 min read
Breeze Airways planes sit at Tampa Airport TPA on May 26, the day before the airline's inaugural flight
New startup Breeze Airways takes flight today with inaugural flight from Florida
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After years of speculation and patient waiting, the day is finally here: Breeze Airways will join the roster of U.S. airlines

The start-up, mid-market budget carrier is scheduled to make its inaugural flight today, leaving Tampa at 10:30 a.m. ET, bound for Charleston, South Carolina.

The debut caps months of waiting for the airline, the latest effort by serial airline entrepreneur and JetBlue founder David Neeleman, as it received the final regulatory approvals needed to begin service.

UPDATE FROM FIRST FLIGHT: First look: What Breeze Airways brings to the skies

Neeleman first revealed plans for the airline in 2018 under its original codename Moxy. The carrier’s original launch was expected to come earlier this year, before being slowed by the pandemic.

Now, Neeleman will find out whether it was worth the wait. The carrier will phase in 39 new routes across 16 cities between today and the end of July.

Most of the routes will be concentrated around four focus cities: Tampa; New Orleans; Charleston, South Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia.

But there’ll be a handful of flights outside those cities – so called “point-to-point” routes like Hartford to Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh to Providence.

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

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It’s all part of Neeleman’s plan to connect midsized markets with nonstop flights, focusing on cities that are too small for major carriers to serve beyond flights to their hubs. That should help Breeze avoid competition from the major airlines.

But Neeleman isn't the only one with a similar plan. Breeze is launching nearly a month to the day after another startup carrier began service with a similar blueprint.

That carrier, Avelo, began flying on April 28 with 11 routes from its first base in Burbank, California. The airline has already announced plans for a second base in Connecticut – it’s first on the East Coast – that will begin later this year.

Fresh wind coming: Breeze puts first 39 routes on sale for as little as $39

The other one: Startup Avelo was going to launch in East, but it went West to capitalize on rivals’ cuts in California

It’s part of a broader bet being made by both Neeleman and Avelo founder Andrew Levy. They believe that a wave of mergers among U.S. airlines during the past decade has opened the door for budget startups to court customers with nonstop flights between cities that they think bigger airlines have ignored as they’ve grown and focused on their hubs.

It remains to be seen whether the gamble will pay off over the long term. But, for today, the industry’s attention will be on the latest effort by Neeleman, whose record of success with startup carriers is second to none.

Featured image by Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy
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.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Go to review

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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more