Breeze is launching transcontinental flights from New York’s Westchester County Airport

Apr 20, 2022

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Breeze Airways is coming to a small airport north of New York City in a big way.

The ultra-low-cost startup is headed to Westchester County Airport (HPN), where it will launch the airport’s first transcontinental service this fall.

Daily flights to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) start on Sept. 7, with flights to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS) starting on Sept. 8 and flights to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) starting on Nov. 2. These three routes feature a $149 introductory economy class “nice” fares, a $239 extra legroom “nicer” fare and a $249 “nicest” fare featuring first-class recliner seats.

Service on those flights will be operated by Breeze’s new Airbus A220-300.

“It’s just a perfectly suited airplane for that airport to go transcon,” Breeze founder and CEO David Neeleman told TPG in an interview.

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The airport features a relatively short, 6,549-foot runway, which can restrict the amount of payload and fuel that an aircraft can carry. Neeleman said that the A220’s performance coupled with Breeze’s relatively low-density configuration means he has no concerns with making the 2,584-mile hop to San Francisco nonstop, including in the winter months, when headwinds are stronger.

“No issues at all,” he said. “We can go fully loaded with the fuel.”

Breeze will operate the A220 starting next month — though a few weeks later than originally planned, due to FAA certification delays. Those planes are configured with 126 seats, including 36 recliner seats, 10 extra legroom seats and 80 standard seats. The seats feature in-seat power, though lack personal televisions and will initially lack WiFi, with the first WiFi enabled aircraft expected in October. Breeze currently has four A220s in its fleet, with another aircraft delivered monthly out of its order of 80, Neeleman said.

More: Inside Breeze Airways’ swanky Airbus A220 with a whopping 36 first-class recliners

The A220s are coming to an airport serving an area that lacks convenient transcontinental service.

The airport — 30 miles northeast of LaGuardia Airport (LGA) by car — is popular with locals who live in the upscale bedroom communities of suburban Westchester County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. And, though LaGuardia is relatively close, transcontinental flights are also few and far between there thanks to a 1,500-mile perimeter rule that restricts flights at that airport. (The exception is on Saturdays, when Spirit Airlines operates a nonstop roundtrip to Los Angeles.) As a result, those living in the northern suburbs must take a much longer, often traffic-filled trip to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) or John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in order to catch a nonstop flight to the West Coast.

In addition to the three transcontinental routes, Breeze is also launching less-than-daily nonstop service to four other destinations. Flights to Charleston, South Carolina (CHS), begin June 28 while service to Norfolk, Virginia (ORF) and Jacksonville, Florida (JAX), begins June 30. Flights to Savannah, Georgia (SAV) launch Sept. 9. One-stop through service to New Orleans (MSY) is also launching starting June 30 via Jacksonville and on Sept. 9 via Savannah. Those routes will be operated with Breeze’s fleet of Embraer 190s and 195s.

“Nice” fares start at $49 for Norfolk and New Orleans and $79 for Charleston, Jacksonville and Savannah.

Breeze’s Westchester County Airport routes. (Screenshot courtesy of Cirium)

For Neeleman, this airport is personal. A former resident of nearby Fairfield County, he launched JetBlue’s service to that airport in 2007 when he was that airline’s CEO. Fifteen years later, JetBlue continues to serve White Plains, as the airport is also known, with flights to five Florida cities.

“It was actually my idea and, you know, I thought it would do great out of there — there’s just a lot of people that use it,” he said.

In addition to JetBlue, Westchester County currently is served by American Airlines’ regional flights to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD); United Airlines’ regional flights to Chicago; and Delta Air Lines’ mainline and regional flights to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Smaller carriers at the airport include Elite Airways, Cape Air and Tradewind.

The community surrounding Westchester County Airport is notoriously noise sensitive, but Neeleman thinks they’ll appreciate how quiet the A220s are — and Breeze’s service.

“This plane will even be quieter than anything that JetBlue has flying out of there unless they fly the 220s too,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the community.”

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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