This new low-cost airline needs to be the nicest airline within the sky. Did it cross our take a look at?
Since United Airlines invited passengers to “Fly the Friendly Skies”, one airline has not geared its brand identity so much towards friendliness and friendliness. Although United’s version of friendly heaven resulted in a passenger being dragged off a plane and a dead puppy and rabbit in the overhead bin, this may not be the best comparison. More recently, passengers on all airlines have acted like irrational toddlers by refusing to wear their masks, despite federal laws mandating it. Obviously, an airline has no control over anti-masking fools or disruptive passengers.
However, the airlines are in control of the passenger experience. For example, on a recent Breeze Airways flight from Providence to Charleston, how did flight attendants treat a man with a cast on his arm (that’s me) who clumsily boarded with a carry-on bag? As I was walking down the aisle, a flight attendant spotted me and before I even tried to throw my hand luggage in the hold, she offered to do it for me. In contrast, I was on another airline two weeks earlier with my injured arm and there were no offers to help with my hand luggage (not even from fellow travelers who just stared at me). Breeze Airways did not know there was a travel writer on board, and as per Globe guidelines, there were no freebies.
This display of friendliness could have been a coincidence. But on the way back to Providence another flight attendant stepped in and offered to help with my hand luggage. I understand this is not a life changing act of kindness, but it is certainly unforgettable. Friendliness and a smile seem like a smart strategy for Breeze to differentiate themselves from cheap competitors like Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier.
Breeze is also trying to differentiate itself from its competitors by focusing on underserved markets. Breeze Airways is the creation of JetBlue founder David Neeleman, and he hopes to create a niche for Breeze by avoiding large hubs (like Logan) and instead offering non-stop service between secondary cities where major airlines have little presence (like Providence). ). This summer, Breeze served 16 airports, mostly in the south and northeast.
This is a low-cost airline with a la carte extras – such as hand baggage charges or the choice of your own seat. But let’s break it down with our handy nice-o-meter and see how Breeze fares.
Price: When Breeze first came out, it did so with introductory tariffs of just $ 39 (as of this writing, Providence to Pittsburgh tariffs were $ 44). However, as you start adding extra amenities, the base rate (known as Nice) can grow quickly. If you want to take a carry-on bag, you pay an additional 20 USD (a personal item is free). The bonus is that checked baggage is also $ 20. So you can only go on board with one personal item and check in any other bag for the same price as hand luggage. Choosing your own seat will cost you an additional $ 10-20, depending on the flight. Breeze Airways flies Embraer jets that have two seats on either side of the aisle. That said, if you decide against paying for a seat, at least you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in a middle seat.
Despite these add-ons, it’s a nice perk that families don’t have to pay to sit together. Families traveling with children up to the age of 12 can sit together.
If you are pretending to be on a Nicer plan, you don’t have to worry about add-ons. The tariff includes extra legroom, one carry-on bag, one checked bag, a seat of your choice and priority boarding. Depending on the route and time of year, the Nice fare is about $ 50 more than the Nice fare.
Price Niceness Rating: 🙂
Seating Comfort: Often times, a cheap airline means you have seating comfort that can rival that of a prison bank (as always, I look to you Spirit Airlines). But Breeze Airways offers a more humane experience. The seats on Breeze Airways E190 aircraft are 29 inches (the distance between the seat backs). Beautiful seats in Breeze’s E195 jets are 31 inches apart.
In comparison, the Spirit and Frontier seats are only 28 inches wide, while the American, Delta, and United have at least 30 inches. If you opt for the Nicer fare, your seat will be 33 to 39 inches on the E190 aircraft and 34 to 39 inches on the E195 jets. I’ve tried both Nice and Nicer seats. Of course the Nicer seats were, well, nicer. I was able to really stretch out. But my seat in Nice didn’t feel particularly tight either.
Seating comfort beauty rating: 😄
Check-in process: Breeze only has one check-in counter at TF Green and the staff was friendly. Breeze focuses on easy check-in through technology and has an easy-to-use app and website to aid the process. If you do not print your boarding pass yourself or have it on your phone, there will be a $ 3 fee. The airline has the advantage of being with TF Green, which means check-in is much less stressful than at a major airport. I always look forward to flying out of Providence.
Rating of the friendliness at check-in:
Cancellation Policy: Neeleman has taken Breeze’s cancellation policy from Southwest Airlines. Regardless of which fare option you choose, you can rebook or cancel free of charge up to 15 minutes before your scheduled departure. You will then receive a credit that you can use within two years.
Cancellation policy Friendliness rating: 👍 👍 + 😃
Flying experience: After takeoff, it becomes powerfully fundamental. There is no WiFi, neither free nor otherwise. There are also no screens on the backrests, so prepare for the flight with downloaded entertainment or a book. Your options for in-flight drinks are water – or water. As a snack in between, you can choose between a bag of Utz potato chips or a very small child bar. Breeze flights are generally short, so you’ll likely survive on the water with no entertainment.
Friendliness on board:
When you add our very scientific rating of friendliness, the bottom line is that Breeze Airways scores well on their guarantee of friendliness. For a low cost airline, the seats are comfortable, the cancellation policies are top notch, and the focus on technology is smart. The cabin experience isn’t exceptional, but I suspect bargain hunters will overlook this.
Breeze plans to expand its current route map. It has 60 Airbus A220 aircraft to order. The larger A220 aircraft will be allocated longer routes, which Breeze plans to announce in the coming months. These larger aircraft will also have a business class cabin. I will get on my nerves and assume that first class will be called the most beautiful.
If the airline is able to keep happy, helpful staff as it grows, it might very well keep its really good promises. There is room in the market for a low cost airline that treats passengers well, especially awkward passengers with broken wrists.
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.