DALLAS – On June 8, 2022, Breeze Airways (MX) officially launched transcontinental service from Richmond, VA (RIC) to San Francisco, CA (SFO) utilizing the Airbus A220-300 (formerly Bombardier CS300).
The airline’s founder and CEO, David Neeleman, was on-board the mostly-full flight commemorating the occasion.
“The A220-300 is a game-changer for us as we can now serve Guests coast-to-coast!” said Neeleman. “The A220 offers travelers the widest cabin, highest ceiling, largest windows, and biggest overhead stowage in this class, while still managing to burn 25% less fuel, with half the noise footprint of past generations.”
“It’s a really exciting day today, as Breeze arrives in Las Vegas for the first time—bring out the showgirls!” said Breeze’s Founder and CEO, David Neeleman. “And with our 11th new nonstop here, more people than ever are able to get to Vegas nonstop – for really low fares.”
The next day in Las Vegas (LAS), Neeleman announced the airline’s 11th non-stop destination there: Akron-Canton (CAK), to start on October 6. By this summer, Breeze plans to operate 18 transcontinental routes with the A220 to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.
A220 Cabin Configurations
Breeze A220s have two cabin configurations: 126 seats and 137 seats. The initial 126-seat configuration has a whopping 36 First Class seats (called ‘Nicest’) occupying the entire front half of the plane forward of the overwing exit.
This is followed by 10 Extra Legroom seats (‘Nicer’) and 80 Standard Economy seats (‘Nice’). This premium-heavy configuration is used on longer-distance routes.
Neeleman explained to Airways, “the longer the flight, the more people are willing to upgrade to pay more. If it’s a shorter flight, then they’re more content in the back. The longer these flights go, then the more we have the First Class seats.”
Pictured above, MX A220 Standard Economy seats, called ‘Nice’, designated with yellow headrest trim, have a 30-inch pitch; next, the A220 Extra Legroom seats, called ‘Nicer’, designated with red headrest trim, have a 32-inch pitch. Exit row seating, seen here, has an even longer pitch; finally, MX’s A220 First Class seats, called ‘Nicest’, with blue headrest trim, feature a 39-inch pitch, 20.5-inches of seat width, and feature a footrest.
The First Class product is priced competitively, priced at about 50% higher than economy, compared with two or three times on other airlines. MX wants to make the ‘Nicest’ product approachable as they are not chasing business travelers, but rather customers who seek “leisure luxury.”
Later A220 deliveries will be in a 137-seat configuration for shorter flights. They will have 12 First Class, 45 Extra Legroom, and 80 Standard Economy seats.
Breeze has 80 Airbus A220-300s on order with options for 40. The airline expects to have 14 delivered by the end of this year.
A Delayed Start
It was not all smooth sailing starting up the A220, however. The actual inaugural flight on May 25 almost did not take place, because certification was not received until the night before.
In fact, Breeze had to charter another airline, Global Crossing, to cover some of its flights while more A220s came on line. At the time of writing, a check of the flight tracker shows a Global Crossing A320 covering MX flights on average six days per week since late May, sometimes with significant delays from the original schedule.
Neeleman attributed start-up delays to the FAA, “We submitted the manuals eight months in advance and the process just didn’t go as quickly as we had hoped from their side. We were supposed to be up and flying three weeks before and the time just slipped. We got plenty of pilots—we have over 100 A220 pilots on staff. We got plenty of airplanes—we are getting our sixth airplane.”
Again, the flight tracker shows that on most days, only three Breeze A220s were in service. Hopefully, pilot training and certification can be completed quickly so Breeze can expand as planned and flyers can experience Breeze’s seriously nice service cross-country.
Check out the full interview with David Neeleman below as he goes in-depth into the airline’s new operation, and be sure to leave your comments on our social media channels!
Featured image: Breeze Airways/ Cabin photo: Ben Wang/Airways