Eager travelers have one more option as they consider their long-awaited vacation plans.
Breeze Airways, founded by former JetBlue head David Neeleman, began operating its low-cost flights primarily in the Southeast on Thursday with $39 tickets each way on all routes.
According to USA Today, these are introductory fares, and the cheapest seats will be limited.
Domestic flights, Breeze Airways’ sweet spot, are largely fueling the post-pandemic travel surge.
And Neeleman has a pitch, too.
“We created Breeze as a new airline merging technology with kindness,” he said, subtly referencing the fact that Breeze will offer KIND bars in-flight.
The plan is to fly nonstop from 16 U.S. airports by midsummer and to take advantage of other airlines cutting back in smaller cities.
Nonstop is a big deal, too, in smaller markets.
“There are so many city pairs needing nonstop service around the country, we have a further 100 cities under consideration,” Neeleman said.
From a competition standpoint, Breeze won’t be encumbered by the kind of debt taken on by Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines by borrowing billions to keep operating during the pandemic.
But there are industry analysts, such as Atmosphere Research Group’s Henry Harteveldt, who suggest certain challenges.
“The primary concern I have about Breeze is the airports it’s serving,” Harteveldt said in a Business Insider story. “The cities are all good cities, but the airports have no protection around them.”
Harteveldt said major airlines could march in and match Breeze’s routes and fares.
“No airline is going to give up a micro point of market share to a competitor, whether it’s an established airline or a startup, without a fight,” Harteveldt said.
Breeze works out of four primary points of operation: Tampa, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; Norfolk, Va., and New Orleans.