Breeze Airways is the US airline startup that launched operations earlier this year. While the airline initially launched operations with used Embraer E190/195 aircraft, eventually the Airbus A220 will be the backbone of the carrier’s fleet, as Breeze has 80 of these on order. Breeze has now taken delivery of its first Airbus A220, and has revealed what passengers can expect. Goodness, this is impressive.
Breeze Airways A220s will have just 126 seats
Breeze Airways’ Airbus A220-300s will be in a shockingly premium configuration. The planes will feature 126 seats, split up between three different seating options.
At the front of the plane are 36 first class seats (marketed as “Nicest”):
- These are in a 2-2 configuration
- The seats feature 39″ of pitch and a foot rest
- The seats have both 110v and USB outlets
- Perks for booking “Nicest” include a drink and snack, priority boarding, a carry-on bag, two free checked bags, free Wi-Fi, and 6% BreezePoints earned
Behind that are 10 extra legroom economy seats (marketed as “Nicer”):
- These are in a 2-3 configuration
- The first row (exit row) features 49″ of pitch, while the second row features 33″ of pitch
- The seats have USB outlets
- Perks for booking “Nicer” include a drink and snack, priority boarding, a carry-on bag, one free checked bag, and 4% BreezePoints earned
In the back are 80 standard economy seats (marketed as “Nice”):
- These are in a 2-3 configuration
- The seats feature 30″ of pitch
- The seats have USB outlets
- Perks for booking “Nice” include a personal item and 2% BreezePoints earned
The Airbus A220 in general is a joy to fly, as it’s one of my favorite narrow body jets, thanks to the 2-3 layout. While Breeze won’t have personal televisions at every seat, the airline will have USB outlets, streaming entertainment, and Wi-Fi. I think the one disappointing aspect of these new cabins is that there won’t be 110v outlets in economy. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for on a brand new plane on an airline that’s trying to offer a great experience.
As a point of comparison, JetBlue’s A220s feature a total of 140 seats, and that airline is generally known for having comfortable cabin layouts.
Breeze Airways’ surprising gamble on premium seats
Breeze Airways is an airline that operates point-to-point routes in leisure markets. In other words, the airline is competing with the likes of Allegiant Air. Usually these airlines are all about getting per-passenger costs as low as possible, and that means cramming as many seats as possible onto planes.
Therefore it’s a bit surprising on the surface that Breeze would introduce one of the most premium-heavy configurations in the industry (not just among low cost carriers, but among all airlines).
What’s the logic here?
- Breeze doesn’t plan to charge a huge premium for first class, but rather the airline intends to charge a modest premium that customers will be willing to pay, though it’ll vary by market
- The opportunity cost of first class on the A220 is much lower than on other mainline jets, since you’re only losing one seat per row (due to the 2-3 configuration in economy) rather than two seats per row (A320s and 737s have a 3-3 configuration in economy)
- The airline is giving this configuration a try, but notes that there’s lots of flexibility; the cabin could quickly be reconfigured into a 145-seat cabin with just economy, or the 36 first class seats could be turned into 21 flat beds, if Breeze eventually flies longer or more premium routes
Don’t expect Breeze Airways A220s to fly anytime soon
While Breeze Airways has now taken delivery of its first Airbus A220, don’t expect the airline to actually start service with this new aircraft type anytime soon. The airline plans to launch A220 operations in the spring of 2022, so we’re most likely still six months from these planes entering service. Along similar lines, potential routes haven’t yet been announced for the A220s.
The A220 now needs to go through the certification process with the airline and the FAA, with the plan to launch operations once Breeze has half a dozen A220s in its fleet. Breeze plans to take delivery of an average of one A220 each month over the next several years.
Breeze Airways has unveiled its Airbus A220 interiors, and the jets look incredible. They’ll feature just 126 seats, including 36 first class seats, which is almost unheard of.
How cool to see Breeze try something truly innovative in the leisure space, since otherwise airlines just seem to be trying to cram as many seats as possible onto planes. I’m curious if Breeze’s gamble pays off, though, and if the price sensitive point-to-point leisure traveler is willing to pay a reasonable premium for a much better experience.
What do you make of Breeze’s A220 configuration?
(Tip of the hat to paxex.aero)
As passengers have gotten more voluminous, cars are getting bigger - but airline seats are not. The space in "Premium Economy" resemble standard coach in the 1960s. It's time, if not to impose minimum space requirements in the interest of physical and mental health, at least in a realistic application of the 90 second evacuation rule. It is a farce of regulations that airlines cram seat in and use test subjects who are generally fit,...
As passengers have gotten more voluminous, cars are getting bigger - but airline seats are not. The space in "Premium Economy" resemble standard coach in the 1960s. It's time, if not to impose minimum space requirements in the interest of physical and mental health, at least in a realistic application of the 90 second evacuation rule. It is a farce of regulations that airlines cram seat in and use test subjects who are generally fit, non-obese (which is the exception among today's passengers), and have them practice evacuation under ideal conditions over and over until the magic 90s is reached. In reality, it would take much more than 90s to completely evacuate most planes since passengers are not "trained", and most Americans are overweight, while about 30% are clinically obese.
Remember, you are not just losing one seat per row. You are actually losing 1 seat per row, plus 9 inches of pitch (39" vs 30" per row), or just under 1/3 of an entire row of 5 coach seats for every single row converted to first class. That is 1.6 seat equivalent per installed first-class row lost in pitch plus 1 actual seat missing= 2.6 missing seats, or roughly 2.5 coach seats per row...
Remember, you are not just losing one seat per row. You are actually losing 1 seat per row, plus 9 inches of pitch (39" vs 30" per row), or just under 1/3 of an entire row of 5 coach seats for every single row converted to first class. That is 1.6 seat equivalent per installed first-class row lost in pitch plus 1 actual seat missing= 2.6 missing seats, or roughly 2.5 coach seats per row of first-class to make it easy to calculate. Additionally, you are losing the revenue of checked bags for people in coach who will now get checked bags for free. (Let's say 2 of of 5 people in a row check a bag), so about $70 bucks total each way. If a round trip ticket is $250 before tax, the airline loses $250 x 2.5 lost seats plus $70x2 (2 bag fees each way), That's $765 lost on one round trip flight for converting one row from five coach seats to 4 first class seats. Divide that by 4 first-class seats, and your price-conscious passengers will need to spend $765/4 seats=$191 more each for the round trip for the airline to make the same amount of money as just selling one row of 5 coach seats.
OTOH, i would be far more likely to fly transcontinental with them at all if they had space up front. So that $441 for my seat replaces $0 as I'd not have flown at all in a narrow seat.
So for your maths to work they need to balance the supply and demand, as not everyone is flexible
I think a good thing to point out is that the they’re only giving up a few seats since since the plane normally has five seats per row and they’re going down to four. I wonder if by reducing the leg room in the back of the plane and by decreasing the seat count in the front they’re basically gonna break even and this is just a way to convince people to spend maybe a little bit more money for a slightly wider seat
This will be an interesting development; my fear is that consumers will not be able to justify the extra cost on what are relatively short routes -- especially since most leisure travelers prioritize low cost over many other factors and tend to book the cheapest fares. With that being said, though, the pandemic may have increased the perceived value of extra personal space, so they may be willing to splurge if the cost difference is marginal enough.
The seating plan chart featured in the post appears to be upside-down.
FYI...the initial details about power in the release were incorrect. The original story at https://paxex.aero/breeze-a220-premium-seat-layout/ is updated now.
given the delivery timeline, this was a cheap way to get good publicity. There is a fair chance that there are significant alterations by the time the A220's finally arrive.
Perhaps hoping for a halo effect to mask the not 'nice' seats down the back
This plane is finally getting it's revenge. Boeing, you tried your hardest to kill it. Now look at where you are.
I think you meant 34” for the exit row… not 49” pitch.
It might be 49. Look at the picture. There is a window exit there.
Oddly, this configuration harkens back to some of the regulated-era seat maps. Delta's DC9s were 28F 40Y in the early 70s.
So they splurge on the seats, but skimp on the staff.
The premium market has become less corporate and more individual purchase so it's ripe for an experiment like this. Hopefully it doesn't run into the Midwest Express effect.
This looks like a great idea. I'll pay a little more not to sit with the chickens and goats.
Nicest up front is really really nice but the 30" pitch in the rear of the plane strikes me as "not nice".
BTW I wonder whether those seats will recline?
Yes they will. The question is just if you can select the recline on your own, or if there will be recline because the superslimline-seats will bend when an average American (grossly overweight by international health standards) leans against them.
Depends on appetite in US for paying a slight premium over a LCC like Spirit, Southwest or Frontier. The US market previously took shift to grab lowest price and was okay to pay for each inclusion, but as of late with Airlines (and hotels) pushing these limits, there does appear to be a shift of spend away from these providers to more niche providers offering premium and more inclusive comforts which people are willing to pay for it.
A "nice" class without a 69 joke isn't very nice at all, if you ask me.