If you are anything like me, you are likely brand loyal. Which means you eat at the same places; you buy the same brands and you fly the same airlines. There is something to be said for being loyal to a brand but it can also come at a cost. For example, it can result in you not saving money on a cheaper route to get to your destination. This was the case with my recent experience with Breeze Airways. So, Breeze Airways – Nice, new and nonstop – or is it? Keep on reading to see my Breeze Airways review.
Why Breeze Airways?
Being that we reside in Tampa, Florida, we fly primarily out of Tampa International Airport. Most of the time, the best airlines for the cities we visit are American Airlines (for flights to Charlotte, Chicago and Miami for example) or Southwest (for flights home to upstate NY).
Generally, I plan my trips in advance and get better pricing on flights by researching the best dates. Unfortunately, in this instance, I had to attend a funeral of my aunt in Albany, NY on short notice. For two people the prices were surprisingly extremely expensive. Flights that usually cost $550 or so for two people were showing as $1,100-1,200.
So, I did the next best thing. I started to look at flights to nearby airports. Specifically, Syracuse Hancock International Airport and Bradley International Airport. We were in luck! It looked like flights to both were roughly $500-600 for two people on short notice. Score!
But wait…they are with this new airline Breeze Airways. Who? I had only previously heard of this new airline in the news but I had never flown with them before. Were they as budget as Spirit and Frontier? Were they what Southwest used to be (best bang for the buck)? It was anyone’s guess. So, we took a chance and booked direct roundtrip flights from Tampa to Syracuse.
Breeze Airways Booking Experience
Breeze Airways launched in May 2021. My expectation was that their app and website would be a Breeze (pun most definitely intended). And it was. It was super easy to log in, purchase the tickets, look through the add-ons they offer and click buy.
We purchased the “Nicest” seats on the way to Syracuse and the “Nicer” seats on the way back to Tampa. Total was around $605 roundtrip with checked bags included.
The app immediately had our flight details when I logged into it. It did not require me to search using our confirmation number and integrated with my Google Wallet when I took a screenshot of my boarding pass. Very smooth experience.
Breeze Airways Flight Experience
Before the Flight
Our initial flight time from Tampa had us departing at 4:25PM and arriving in Syracuse around three hours later. Unfortunately, just after arriving at our TPA gate around 2:45PM, I received an email, a text and a push notification that our flight had been delayed 30 minutes. Then we got another delay. And another delay. And another delay. In total, we got delayed just over four hours.
The airline blamed it on the Chinese Air Balloon issue that occurred that day (February 4th). However, Southwest flights to Baltimore (BWI) had no issues departing. I presume the plane coming from Charleston, SC had a scheduling issue that the airline just couldn’t recover from. After all, they only have 25 planes in their fleet. The balloon was brought down around 2:30PM and our plane didn’t arrive at the Tampa gate to pick us up until well into the evening while other airlines continued with their business like nothing happened.
The delays didn’t stop there, unfortunately. We also experienced multiple hours of delays (only two hours – progress!) on our way home from Syracuse to Tampa.
On our way to Syracuse, we were boarding group 1 thanks to your nicest seats and boarding was super easy. We had seats in row 1 so we were on the plane and in our seats pretty much immediately.
On our way back home to Tampa, we were group 2 due to our nicer seats. The boarding processes was just as smooth and efficient.
During the Flight
Despite the delays that we experienced on our way to Syracuse, while on board the Breeze Airways A220 in the Nicest seats, our experience was actually quite great. The nicest seats are very wide and there is a huge amount of leg space (think exit row amounts of space – at least in the first row) allowing you to stretch out. The seats offer a generous amount of recline which was welcome after sitting in our airport seats for so many hours while waiting for the plane to arrive.
The flight crew did offer us complimentary beverages and snacks (I had a can of Coca Cola and some Peanut M&Ms) as a token of appreciation for the massive delay, but I would rather have received a partial refund as compensation. I believe these complimentary tokens of appreciation were limited to the patrons in the Nicest seats, but I may be wrong (as they did not announce it to the whole plane, just approached us).
Here are some images of the Nicest seats:
The nicer seats on our return trip put us over the wing, but far enough in front (rows 10 and 11) that we were still able to see the engine and the area in front which was great. Both my wife and I like to sight see as we fly and often have to compete for the window seat.
I ended up being in row 11 which is the exit row. This meant I had to verbally acknowledge to the flight attendant that I would do my best to do my part in the event of an emergency to get the door open, etc.
The seats themselves in this part of the plane are pretty standard as far as width goes however, I did like the headrest that moved up or down depending on where you needed it. That was a pretty great feature.
Here are some images of the nicer seats:
After The Flight
When we landed in Syracuse, it took about 40 minutes for our bags to start arriving on the carousel and another 5 minutes before ours appeared. This was very long in my opinion but might have more to do with the SYR airport than Breeze themselves however it is worth noting.
When we landed back in Tampa, we got our bags within 15 minutes or so but then again, Tampa is one of the best airports in the US (and in my opinion the world – having flown through or been too many).
Other than that, post flight experiences were pretty standard. We did not have to wait a long time on the planes to deplane, etc. and the staff was very nice throughout the process.
Breeze Airways Customer Service Experience
Customer Service at Breeze Airways is a little hit or miss. I am personally not a big fan of companies going to full social media customer service making you contact them on Facebook Messenger, Twitter or Instagram to get a response, etc. I think having a customer service phone number with reachable agents still goes a long way in 2023, particularly in the airline industry when you are experiencing major flight delays.
The staff at the gate wasn’t able to really tell me any details or make any decisions as far as compensation goes when I approached them about the four-hour delay (and at the time, still counting). It would take quite a while on Facebook Messenger to get a response from a Breeze representative.
I think along with growing their fleet to better withstand unexpected delays – improving their customer service communication methods is probably the next best thing that Breeze Airways can do.
Overall Thoughts on Breeze Airways
That is about it for this Breeze Airways review. Overall, it seems to be a viable option for flights to smaller markets from Tampa. As long as you go into it understanding that you will likely be delayed, be upsold things like snacks, etc. If that is something you are willing to work with, then Breeze Airways is certainly a consideration for your next flight.
Hope you enjoyed this Breeze Airways review. If you have any questions, please let me know! Otherwise, see you on our next flight!