A fresh take on the Breeze in-flight experience


Founder and CEO David Neeleman keeping an eye on operations as the first departure from PBI is dispatched
Founder and CEO David Neeleman keeping an eye on operations as the first departure from PBI is dispatched

Yes, Breeze Airways flies under the low cost carrier concept. But executives hope the airline will be seen more as a “Nice Low Cost Carrier, a niche of its own where we really focus on treating guests the right way.” Among other things, that drives the company’s cabin configuration and on-board amenities. Delivering a “Nice” passenger experience is critical, but controlling costs also plays a massive role in those decisions.

When the carrier launched operations in May 2021, it did so with a fleet of used E-Jets. It snagged the planes on relatively low cost leases as COVID-19 saw airlines shrink operations. Getting them into service was more critical than a retrofit to the company’s planned standards. But in the intervening months the company managed to complete a retrofit program addressing seating, in-flight entertainment (IFE), and on-board ancillary sales.

Flying with Breeze today delivers notable differences on board compared to the company’s inaugural operations. And that’s a very, very good thing.

PaxEx.Aero flew on the Islip to Charleston and Charleston to West Palm Beach inaugural flights as a guest of Breeze Airways. All opinions are our own.


Streaming IFE: A cheap and easy win

Take, for example, the decision to install the Anuvu Airconnect Go streaming entertainment platform on the company’s Embraer E190/195 fleet. The system offers episodes from a few dozen TV series as well as a handful of games for passengers. That’s a step above Frontier or Allegiant‘s on-board options, though arguably trails Spirit Airlines‘ in-flight connectivity solution.

A guide for the streaming entertainment system, powered by Anuvu's AirConnect Go
A guide for the streaming entertainment system, powered by Anuvu’s AirConnect Go

Company CFO Trent Porter described the IFE gear as a differentiator, part of Breeze‘s push to be that Nice LCC. CEO and Founder David Neeleman was even more blunt about the reasoning behind including it on board. “It is cheap,” he explained.

That low barrier to entry is important. So are relatively low content licensing costs by choosing only TV shows and excluding movies. Given the high share of the carrier’s E-Jet operations shorter than 2 hours, there wouldn’t be enough time to watch a full movie anyways.

Read More: Breeze bets big on premium with new A220s

The Breeze implementation of Airconnect Go does require a minor alteration to the aircraft for fitting power; it is not a truly portable appliance in an overhead bin. That comes with costs. But Breeze managed to complete that work with minimal impact to operations and, again, minimal expense.

The seats include a holder for mobile devices, useful if taking advantage of the streaming IFE on board
The seats include a holder for mobile devices, useful if taking advantage of the streaming IFE on board

The airline did not, however, install USB power as was previously tipped.



Still no connectivity

While the A220 will eventually offer in-flight wifi via a satellite-based service, the E190s fly offline and Breeze expects them to stay that way. The short flight duration is, for Neeleman, sufficient to dissuade investing in the satellite connection option on those older planes.

But connectivity on the legacy fleet is not completely out of the question.

Read More: Breeze adds Hartford base, with A220 focus

Neeleman concedes that the company’s charter business with the E-Jet fleet might ultimately force it to reconsider the offline nature of the planes. “If the sports teams or whatnot demand it” Breeze might consider a solution. And knowing that these planes only fly domestic routes, the option to choose a lighter, less expensive terrestrial option remains viable.

Time for pushback of the first Breeze E-Jet departure from Palm Beach International Airport
Time for pushback of the first Breeze E-Jet departure from Palm Beach International Airport

A seat refresh

Since the carrier launched operations in May 2021 it also completed a refresh of the cabin interiors, with refreshed seats on board. The Safran Z110i seat will also fly on the company’s A220 fleet, providing efficiencies of a common product. It also delivers a more comfortable option on board compared to the older seats the planes initially operated with.

Fresh seat covers and an update seat product on board.
Fresh seat covers and an update seat product on board.

The seat covers no longer sag and they do not (yet) show the marks of abuse that come with years of flying. Breeze also chose to retain the relatively comfortable layout on board, as well as seats that recline. Both offer “nice” differentiation relative to other players in the US U/LCC market.

Legroom remains as it was at launch, which is good news.
Legroom remains as it was at launch, which is good news.

On-board sales takes off

Selling snacks on board was always part of the Breeze playbook. Like the new seats and the streaming IFE kit, however, it was not ready on day one of operations. It is today, however. And while the selection is somewhat limited, the snack service is can now deliver the desired revenue.

Snack time! This is $8 worth of noms.
Snack time! This is $8 worth of noms.

Breeze offers four snacks on board: Chex Mix, Pringles, Peanut M&Ms, and a Protein Trail Mix each price at $4.50. Soft drinks, juice, and water are also for sale, priced at $3.50 each. A more robust snack box comes in at $8.50.

Bundles are available, and “Nicer” fares include a snack (but not the box) and drink.

The current menu includes the snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as bundle pricing. Booze should be available on board by April.
The current menu includes the snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as bundle pricing. Booze should be available on board by April.

The snack prices are on par with other airlines, though that’s not necessarily good news for travelers, Still, it is nice to have the option on board. And the Chex Mix is at least close to airport pricing for a quality flavor and salt hit.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

5 Comments

  1. It appears the price per drink/snack pair increases by $.25/pair when buying 2 at a time vs 1 (bundles 1 and 2). I wonder if that was supposed to be $13.50 for 2 pairs?

    1. Yeah, someone messed that up. The original packages were a different set of snacks where the 1->2 shift actually worked. Oopsie.

  2. Haven’t flown them yet, but looking forward to there a220 nicest cabin coming this summer!

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