Ultra-low-cost carrier Breeze Airways has rebranded its First Class product as ‘Breeze Ascent’ and added complimentary cocktails and Wi-Fi to its menu for passengers who take the upgrade.
Breeze launched as a budget carrier serving overlooked secondary cities in the U.S. in the spring of 2021. Last year, as it brought onboard a dozen Airbus A220-300s, it took a gamble by devoting large portions of its cabins to premium seating, banking that even wallet-conscious travelers will pay a little extra for an upgraded experience.
First Class on Breeze isn’t the lavish affair it is on more expensive carriers. Instead, it’s a pleasant upgrade on budget travel, with tickets priced a fraction of what you’d pay for special treatment with competitors.
In some markets, Breeze’s “Nicest” tickets, with the premium seating included, extra baggage, and priority boarding, are just $20 more expensive than coach tickets. According to the airline, it is a perk enabled by the superb economics and fuel efficiency of the A220.
What do you get for the extra cash? First and foremost, more room. The seats in the forward cabin are in a two-two configuration, compared to the two-three layout in the rear cabin. That leaves enough space for seats with widths of 20.5 inches, compared to 18.5 inches in the standard cabin, and pitch of 39 inches, an upgrade of 30 inches, as well as footrests and in-seat power through AC and USB ports.
Passengers in the front cabin also receive complimentary snacks and drinks, including alcohol, although not the full meals you’d expect on a typical premium, transcontinental flight.
And how is it performing? The model seems to be working, with Breeze giving it a new name but making no substantial changes to its offerings.
The First Class product will now be known as Breeze Ascent, a name explained by airline president Tom Doxey.
“Our logo features a checkmark known as the ‘ascent’ and is a depiction of a plane ascending into the sky, so it made sense for us to name our most elevated onboard experience ‘Breeze Ascent,'” he said. “We are creating a new standard for what it means to ‘fly up front’ with comfortable, premium seating and complimentary snacks and beverages at an affordable price.”
As part of the Ascent rebrand of the cabin, Breeze is adding new options to the drinks cart, including Charleston Bloody Mary mixes and Straightaway canned cocktails.
Straightaway—which recently made its air travel debut on Alaska Airlines flights—offers Breeze travelers “an oaky Oregon old-fashioned” and a spicy spin on the margarita, fired up with habanero syrup.
Cy Cain, the co-founder of Straightaway Cocktails, said, “We love how Breeze approaches their guest experience and leads with hospitality and joy. Ascending into summer with a margarita made with fresh pressed juice, reposado tequila, mezcal, and a touch of heat and Jacobsen Salt definitely helps level up a getaway state of mind.”
Breeze is also rolling out Wi-Fi on its A330s and hints that in-flight connectivity will be offered free to passengers in the Ascent cabin.
Before its launch, the airline had teased up-to-date, inflight tech but was slow to get the Wi-Fi project off the ground. However, as of this month, two of its 12 Airbus A220s have onboard internet provided through Viasat. The other ten are expected to be connected by early 2024.
Meanwhile, Breeze Airways has just launched its longest route yet: a 2,600-mile, 6-hour trek from Rhode Island’s T. F. Green International Airport (PVD) to Los Angeles (LAX)—a journey in which Ascent’s extra legroom, cocktails, and Wi-Fi will be much appreciated.