Breeze Airways Schedule Change: What’s Going On?

Breeze Airways Schedule Change: What’s Going On?

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Breeze Airways is the newest airline startup in the United States, and the carrier launched operations in late May 2021. The airline intends to serve point-to-point routes that are underserved, with a vast majority of the routes not having any competition from other airlines.

The airline is now nearly two months into its operations, and has made its first schedule adjustment. It’s not particularly good news.

Breeze Airways cuts frequencies on 33% of routes

Breeze Airways has reduced frequencies on 13 of its 39 routes, and has also temporarily suspended five routes. The following 13 Breeze Airways routes will be reduced from 4x weekly to 2x weekly:

  • Charleston to Columbus
  • Charleston to Huntsville
  • Charleston to Louisville
  • Charleston to Norfolk
  • Charleston to Pittsburgh
  • Charleston to Richmond
  • Columbus to Norfolk
  • Huntsville to New Orleans
  • Huntsville to Tampa
  • Norfolk to Pittsburgh
  • San Antonio to Bentonville
  • San Antonio to Oklahoma City
  • San Antonio to Tulsa

On top of that, the following routes have been suspended last minute through late next week (July 29 or July 30, depending on the route):

  • Norfolk to Charleston
  • Norfolk to Columbus
  • Norfolk to Hartford
  • Norfolk to Pittsburgh
  • Norfolk to Tampa
Breeze Airways has cut frequencies, suspended routes

Breeze Airways’ schedule change policy

Breeze Airways has updated its website to indicate that some major schedule changes have been made, so what’s the carrier’s policy in this situation?

  • For schedule changes of less than two hours, guests can change or cancel a reservation with no fees, and credits can be used for 24 months
  • For schedule changes of two to three hours, guests can choose to move to the same flight within two weeks for no fees or increase in fare
  • For schedule changes of more than three hours, guests can cancel for a full refund

Since Breeze Airways reduced many routes from 4x weekly to 2x weekly, it seems most schedule changes are causing people to be rebooked one or two days later. As a result, those customers should be eligible for cash refunds. One thing that surprises me is that the airline is only allowing free rebookings without a fare change for flights within two weeks — that seems stingy, given what a low frequency carrier Breeze Airways is.

What’s the reason for these service reductions?

While all airlines make schedule changes, Breeze Airways is cutting frequencies in half on a third of its routes, and is suspending five of its routes for around a week.

My first thought is that this doesn’t give me much confidence in Breeze Airways’ schedule reliability as a passenger. I’d hate to book a flight, only to have it canceled last minute, and only be offered a flight a couple of days earlier or later. With 2x weekly frequencies in many markets, it’s also a tough sell to book Breeze, if you ask me. Many people might like the convenience of a nonstop, but 2x weekly frequencies is quite restrictive.

So, what’s the reason for this schedule change? I suppose there are two most likely theories:

  • These routes simply aren’t performing well, and Breeze is learning as it goes along, and adjusting schedules
  • Breeze has delays with taking delivery of new aircraft, so doesn’t have the planes needed to operate these routes

For Breeze’s sake I hope it’s the latter and not the former. The airline is claiming that these changes are due to lack of available aircraft, though I’m a bit skeptical if that’s the entire story. Why? These routes have all been reduced to 2x weekly frequencies not just for a few weeks, but well into next year.

There has arguably never been a better time for point-to-point leisure domestic routes, and we’re in the peak of summer. I certainly hope these routes are performing well for Breeze, because if the airline can’t make 4x weekly frequencies work in these markets now, then one has to wonder how sustainable these routes are long term

One reason the airline may be struggling with bookings is due to the company’s lack of name recognition, as well as the company only putting flights on sale within a couple of weeks of launching operations.

Ultimately this is the company’s first major schedule change. What’s going to be much more telling is what routes we see launched in the future, and also what schedule changes in the coming months look like

I’d be cautious planning around Breeze Airways’ schedule

Bottom line

Breeze Airways has loaded its first schedule change since launching operations. With this adjustment, the airline has halved frequencies on one-third of its routes, from 4x weekly to 2x weekly. On top of that, the airline has suspended five routes for a week last minute.

It’s hard to know what exactly to make of this. The airline claims that it’s due to lack of available aircraft, and the other most likely explanation is that it’s due to lack of demand. I suspect that on some level it’s a combination of both factors.

This schedule change is a reminder of the general risks of booking an airline that offers less than daily frequencies with a limited network. If your flight is canceled there might not be any reasonable alternatives, unless you’re willing to travel a couple of days earlier or later.

What do you make of Breeze Airways’ schedule change?

(Tip of the hat to @IshrionA)

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  1. Christina F.

    They also cancelled our flight from Louisville KY to New Orleans on November 8th. I don't know what they expect us to do. They did not cancel our flight back, but if we can't even get there...

  2. A queen of a king

    Definitely by far the worst Airline they have a lot of explaining to do to a lot of passengers they delay flights without communicating correctly then on top of that they left my 80 year old mother at an airport without a reason on why she couldn't board the flight the flight on top of that not one time but they could inform us that she did not board the plane we're at the airport...

    Definitely by far the worst Airline they have a lot of explaining to do to a lot of passengers they delay flights without communicating correctly then on top of that they left my 80 year old mother at an airport without a reason on why she couldn't board the flight the flight on top of that not one time but they could inform us that she did not board the plane we're at the airport waiting to pick her up and they didn't even give us a common courtesy to let the attendants know that she did not board the plane she's almost 12 hours away from home and this is Nimble I don't like that word anymore

  3. TTW

    Breeze rebooked our Huntsville to Charleston flight without any notice. We just happened to hear about the changes through our daughter who lives in Charleston. Her husband is a FEDEX pilot and heard about the changes at the airport. I sent Breeze a Facebook Message, their preferred way to converse, asking for a cancellation and a refund. I immediately received a response saying that trip would be refunded to my credit card.

  4. TLW

    No more Breeze for us either. I would rather know the airline I am booking with is going to get me to my destination without any delays. Breeze had a 30-minute delay when we left, which I was okay with, and a two hour delay for our return. I’m typing this while I sit in the airport so it could get worse.

  5. [email protected]

    We were stranded by Breeze last minute from Richmond to Charleston yesterday. No more Breezy for us! A lousy way to make an entrance

  6. Daniel Harrison

    Why get regional travelers all excited and ready to be on board with Breeze then scale back service "at will," leaving would-be loyal customers in a lurch? I was SO excited about this carrier - told all my friends and co-workers to download the app, etc.

    Two months in, I look like an idiot. I will withhold any further endorsement of ANY airline because they ALL play games.

  7. SQ51

    Just completed a round trip this weekend TUL-SAT on them. Would you be interested in a guest review?

  8. David Reed

    Interesting that they also mishandling refunds and having to outsource dealing with affected customers. Not good PR.

    https://www.counton2.com/news/local-news/news-2-gets-family-full-refund-after-breeze-airways-cancels-weekend-flight/

  9. HEB

    Disappointing, but not unpredictable. Despite the founder’s airline pedigree and track record, the release of the route schedules was a bit anti-climactic. Yes, some of the markets were underserved, but city pairs left you scratching your head. One example is that with Austin getting so much love from airlines of late, San Antonio is wide open for some robust competition since it’s slightly larger than Austin.

  10. D.L.

    It's hard to schedule for sure. You have to go back the next day or wait days. I've been trying to get to Providence, RI for weeks and scedule around their flights.
    Turns out I just am going to take a regular airline flight out of New Orleans and put up with all of that hazzle. I hate the whole experienc tbh.

  11. KS

    As someone who lives in the Norfolk area, this is terrible news. I had planned a flight to Pittsburgh in late September but the departure and return dates each moved a day which did not fit my schedule. Have requested refund.

  12. Julia Wilson

    My booking for August 30 was changed and they were very kind about accommodating me on the next day flight. This flight was from Pittsburgh to Norfolk. I again have another flight at the beginning of October and that was changed but again they accommodated me with a next day flight which both worked out well. But they did return answers to my texts and messages on Facebook messenger promptly. And a refund was offered...

    My booking for August 30 was changed and they were very kind about accommodating me on the next day flight. This flight was from Pittsburgh to Norfolk. I again have another flight at the beginning of October and that was changed but again they accommodated me with a next day flight which both worked out well. But they did return answers to my texts and messages on Facebook messenger promptly. And a refund was offered if these did not work out. Looking forward to working with them with upcoming flights and I hope there new airlines works out well for them. You need to give them a chance.

  13. Gregory Jones

    Latest schedule update

  14. Tom gioia

    It is hard for me to believe there would ever be demand for ORF to BDL

  15. Steve

    Some feel David Neeleman is never wrong or makes mistakes. As far as JetBlue, past performance does not guarantee future success. Breeze went into airports that already had service to certain cities and while Breeze flights were non-stop and other carriers required a change of planes, many flyers are loyal to certain carriers due to frequent flyer programs. I for one don't mind a change of planes, it's good to walk and stretch a while....

    Some feel David Neeleman is never wrong or makes mistakes. As far as JetBlue, past performance does not guarantee future success. Breeze went into airports that already had service to certain cities and while Breeze flights were non-stop and other carriers required a change of planes, many flyers are loyal to certain carriers due to frequent flyer programs. I for one don't mind a change of planes, it's good to walk and stretch a while. Airline seats are very cramped so a brisk walk is fine. Breeze is serving medium sized airports that don't need new service, it needs to follow Allegiant and their small airport operation. They have been serving Roanoke, Va for many years with flights to Sanford and St Pete Florida and doing very well with weekly flights.
    Breeze is going against United, Delta, American and Southwest and they will not sit by and do nothing.
    David Neeleman lost his focus and early plans.

  16. Vincent G Perrelli

    It puzzles me somewhat that Breeze, with a business model of entering "underserved" markets, should enter Hartford/Springfield's Bradley Airport, which already has Frontier, Southwest and Spirit. Hardly "underserved."
    Did fellow startup Avelo's decision to make Tweed-New Haven Airport, 60 miles to the south, their East Coast base have anything to do with it?

  17. TP

    Breeze sucks. They notified me 26 hours in advance that my daughters flight was canceled and they had reimbursed my credit card. She was stranded 8 hours away and couldnt get home. I had to take off work and do a 16 hours round trip car ride to get her home. I will never book another flight with this airline.

  18. Jay

    Some of these routes are competing with driving. How much demand exists between some of these small markets when business travel still isn’t close to what it used to be?

  19. Michael

    I think the airline went a little bit over it's head at the planning stages of scheduling. The routes they made available seem enticingly to some but overall, not to many people fly to these destinations. However, I wish them luck on their new venture.

  20. Stephen Smith

    They need to start flying from Orlando Sanford international. That is where they should have started if they want to be a success. They have a beautiful new terminal , 16 gates ,30 minutes from the attractions what more could you ask for as a start up airline

  21. Mike

    House...of...cards. I give them 6 months...

  22. Bogan

    It makes me nervous as a CHS based flyer who has a couple of flights scheduled with them over the next month and a half. Fortunately, none of my flights have been cut (although all have had their schedule changed slightly). I don't want to be scrambling last minute to rebook if cutbacks continue

  23. Flyer

    My husband and I flew with Breeze a week ago round trip from Pittsburgh to Charleston. We can’t say enough about the flight. Since it was a short flight time flew by so fast. It was a smooth ride and relaxing.
    They have some benefits as well, such as more leg room also and two seats (instead of three).
    Another big thing for families that traveled with smaller children can board first. The...

    My husband and I flew with Breeze a week ago round trip from Pittsburgh to Charleston. We can’t say enough about the flight. Since it was a short flight time flew by so fast. It was a smooth ride and relaxing.
    They have some benefits as well, such as more leg room also and two seats (instead of three).
    Another big thing for families that traveled with smaller children can board first. The crew was very accommodating regarding handicap people as well. The crew was very polite, attentive, and accommodating.
    Hopefully, things pick back up. We look forward to book with Breeze again.

    Safe travels all!!!

  24. Fm

    Starting an airline durning a pandemic is suicide. Sorry Needlemen your miscalculated on this one. Also flying gas guzzling E175 and 195 is probably not a smart move either!

    1. Bob

      E190s and E195snare are known maintenance nightmares

  25. Kenneth A Bettencourt

    Remember or know who the founder o Jet Blue, Morris Airways, Azul Airlines, the 49per cent of TAP air lines was ?
    His name is David Neelam a very successful business man who started BREEZE AIR LINES !
    Stay tunned !

    1. Vincent Perrelli

      Hey, Steven Spielberg had a lot of hit movies, but he also had a flop with "1941."
      Could Neelman's luck have run out?

  26. uldguy

    Sounds like someone is burning through a boatload of cash.

    Long term I’d be surprised if any of their routes are financially feasible, regardless of the frequency.

  27. Dan

    I mean, it’s pretty sad in this day in age of leisure travel to have to adjust schedules down. Honestly, those of us in the airline world have heard of Breeze but the cities that they serve probably have no idea who they are - if you’re going to start something like this you have to have massive advertising. You can’t just depend on word of mouth. If there is a Covid surge in the...

    I mean, it’s pretty sad in this day in age of leisure travel to have to adjust schedules down. Honestly, those of us in the airline world have heard of Breeze but the cities that they serve probably have no idea who they are - if you’re going to start something like this you have to have massive advertising. You can’t just depend on word of mouth. If there is a Covid surge in the next few months, which looks likely, leisure travel will be down and Breeze - with no name recognition - will struggle even further to sell seats.

  28. JS

    I don’t agree with the analysis that in one paragraph it’s mentioned if they can’t make 4x work now how will they in the future only to then make the observation they don’t have name recognition in the next. 2x is probably right sized for these markers at least until they build more of a following, and market depending add some more. Reducing markets also opens up room to keep growing elsewhere. I think the...

    I don’t agree with the analysis that in one paragraph it’s mentioned if they can’t make 4x work now how will they in the future only to then make the observation they don’t have name recognition in the next. 2x is probably right sized for these markers at least until they build more of a following, and market depending add some more. Reducing markets also opens up room to keep growing elsewhere. I think the “post pandemic leisure travel boom” is not as powerful as some believe, it’s not a magic pill for new airlines or weird routes.

  29. Gregory Johnson

    I guess for people who live in these areas it is/was an option, though not one I'd even consider. If I take a gamble like this it'll be in Las Vegas or a lottery ticket.

  30. James S

    The whole not announcing details or selling tickets until like a week before launch was pretty dumb

  31. SMR

    This is expected. Lucky you of all people know Neelman knows his stuff and if you read into what he said prior to launch he was clear there would be lots of route adjustments in the beginning. I call no Sign of trouble at all, shocked at the title of this post coming from an aviation expert.

  32. Biz Guy

    Seems pretty click-baity and misleading to not at least mention that being ‘nimble’ with routes was something their founder said day 1.

    Maybe it’s a sign of trouble, or maybe they are adjusting to demand.

    1. Jon

      That founder at day 1, David Neeleman, is a very savvy airline founder. He knows that certain buzzwords will catch, like being "nimble". That's just corporate speak, especially when most travelers are booking a) at least 2+ weeks in advance and b) making other (typically non-refundable plans) around the original bookings they make. Being "nimble" doesn't benefit anyone in this case except Breeze

    2. RCB

      Exactly! "Nimble" is NOT a word that travelers want to hear, we don't want to book plans and then have the airline "nimble" its way out of the flights and screw us and all our travel plans.

    3. D Reed

      You said it. We are all tired of sales and marketing corporate speak that tries to put a positive spin on a disadvantage or weakness. In this case "nimble" translates into unpredictable which is of course the last thing we want in air travel. And those cities pairings probably don't have the demand..my guess as the biggest reason.

  33. Paul

    A poster on an OKC chat site, who works for a different airline, thinks it's primarily due to the fact that some of their new (to them) aircraft deliveries have been delayed. Therefore they're cutting some frequencies until they receive more aircraft to increase reliability and then frequency...

Featured Comments Load all 38 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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RCB

Exactly! "Nimble" is NOT a word that travelers want to hear, we don't want to book plans and then have the airline "nimble" its way out of the flights and screw us and all our travel plans.

Jon

That founder at day 1, David Neeleman, is a very savvy airline founder. He knows that certain buzzwords will catch, like being "nimble". That's just corporate speak, especially when most travelers are booking a) at least 2+ weeks in advance and b) making other (typically non-refundable plans) around the original bookings they make. Being "nimble" doesn't benefit anyone in this case except Breeze

Christina F.

They also cancelled our flight from Louisville KY to New Orleans on November 8th. I don't know what they expect us to do. They did not cancel our flight back, but if we can't even get there...

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