Breeze Airways Takes Delivery of First A220, Debuts “Nicest” Cabin Seating
Breeze Airways launched in May with an all-Embraer fleet shortly before becoming the largest Airbus A220-300 customer in the world. The delivery of its first A220 marks the introduction of its “Nicest” cabin seating and fare class.
Breeze Airways has unveiled the first of its 80 Airbus A220-300s. The debut of the new aircraft, which took place at Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama facility, heralds the entry into market of what some in the industry are referring to as “Breeze 2.0.”
When the A220 begins commercial service in the second quarter of 2022, it will open up many new medium- to long-haul routes for Breeze, as well as new revenue generation opportunities thanks to the introduction of its premium product offering, dubbed “Nicest.”
Breeze’s 36 “Nicest” Safran Z600 seats occupy the front nine rows of the 126-seat cabin in a 2 x 2 configuration. Boasting a 39-inch seat pitch and 20.5-inch width, the seats consume nearly half of the aircraft’s real estate. Complete with blue trim, they are equipped with USB-C and AC power alongside water bottle holders and sleeperette-style reclining leg-rests.
In a different approach to fellow low-cost carrier (LCC) Spirit, which offers its Big Front Seat as a standalone product, “Nicest” ticket holders will receive a host of benefits, with Breeze Airways’ CEO David Neeleman suggesting customers prefer to buy bundles than a la carte products and services.
Included in a “Nicest” fare are six Breeze Points per dollar spent, priority boarding, an allowance for two checked bags and one carry-on, and an upgraded food and beverage offering. Ovens in the galley indicate hot meals could be in the pipeline, but this hasn’t been confirmed.
According to Neeleman, “Nicest” fares will represent a nominal upgrade from its “Nice” and “Nicer” tickets, with upgrades from “Nicer” starting at between $25 and $50 each way. “This won’t be a first class that’s three times the price of economy like legacy airlines,” he said.
There are no bulkheads dividing the cabins, but around the emergency exits behind the “Nicest” seats are ten “Nicer” extra legroom seats in a 2 x 3 configuration. The airline opted for Safran’s US Z110i product, which has an 18.8-inch width and 33-inch pitch, as well as a retractable headrest trimmed with sharp red piping. Those who purchase “Nicer” fares receive four Breeze Points per dollar spent, a single checked bag and one carry-on item.
In a continuation of the second cabin class are 80 “Nice” Safran US Z110i seats with a generous pitch of between 30- and 31-inches. They are also in a 2 x 3 configuration, but are differentiated by yellow piping on the dark gray leather. “Nice” ticket holders receive two breeze points per dollar spent on their fare and an allowance for one carry-on item.
The cabin is also equipped with three full-scale lavatories that can accommodate passengers with reduced mobility. One is at the front of the aircraft and two are at the rear. The galley and lavatory floors are finished in a distinctive wood-like pattern.
Neeleman said Breeze will be able to quickly reconfigure the cabin in response to changes in demand on particular routes or perhaps from certain bases.
In terms of entertainment, Breeze’s Airbus A220s will feature high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi and offer movies and TV shows that can be streamed to passengers personal electronic devices, but Neeleman didn’t reveal the supplier or detail price-points. The carrier has no plans to install in-flight Wi-Fi or entertainment on its short-haul Embraer aircraft, which typically operate flights with a range of less than 200 miles.
Though Breeze’s A220 routes won’t be announced until early 2022, their average lengths will be around three to five hours. They will expand on the carrier’s current 16-city route network with nonstop transcontinental services as well as international flights to South America and Europe.
“The A220 embodies the Breeze ideal of merging kindness with technology, pairing unrivaled passenger comfort with eco-friendly efficiency,” said Jeffrey Knittel, chairman and CEO, Airbus Americas. “With the A220, Breeze is giving its passengers the widest cabin, highest ceiling, largest windows and largest overhead stowage in this class, while still managing to burn 25% less fuel with half the noise footprint of past generations.”
Neeleman is buoyant about Breeze’s A220s, which will be delivered at a rate of approximately one a month from now on. By the time the aircraft enters service, it will have six of the type, and it plans to have increased that number to 15 by the end of 2022.
He claimed that, even with the sparse in-flight products and services available on its Embraer E190 and E195 fleet, Breeze’s Net Promoter scores are already the highest of any airline, and 21% of passengers are already repeat customers. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see where the new A220 fleet takes this self-proclaimed “Seriously Nice” airline.