Breeze Airways Wants To Put Lie-Flats On A Narrowbody– Is It Feasible?

Avid readers of Simple Flying will know that airline startups are something we love to write about. Indeed, there are some incredibly interesting ones out there. However, one airline that is of significant consideration is David Neeleman’s Breeze. Neeleman’s previous startups include JetBlue and Azul. Planning to be one of the “nicest” carriers in the skies, Breeze is also thinking about a lie-flat product. Could it work on the Airbus A220?

Breeze Aircraft
Breeze Airways will start off with Embraer aircraft but will eventually take delivery of the Airbus A220. Photo: Breeze Airways

The Airbus A220

Previously, Simple Flying reported that Breeze Airways could use the A220 for some long-haul flights. Speaking to Conde Nast Traveler, David Neeleman said the following:

We want to be able to have a premium cabin. With the plane, I could do a domestic first class, I could an international lie-flat product. I could switch things out season to season.

Although the Airbus A220-300 doesn’t have the same long-haul range as other widebodies, it still can go a fair distance. For example, here’s the A220’s range out of Salt Lake City– one of Breeze’s operating bases.

A220-300 range SLC
The range of the Airbus A220 out of Breeze Airways’ hub in Salt Lake City. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

The A220 can comfortably do flights to Hawaii, Alaska, destinations in the Caribbean, and some northern cities in South America. Some of those routes can be quite long, however. Therefore, a lie-flat seat would be a huge boost for customers looking to get a little more shut-eye.

Lie-flats on narrowbody aircraft

Several airlines do have lie-flat products onboard some narrowbody aircraft. One of the most common from U.S. carriers are lie-flat seats on Boeing 757 aircraft. These appear in a 2-2 configuration at the front of the cabin.

Delta One cabin
The Delta One cabin on the 757 with lie-flat seating. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

Other examples include the Airbus A321neo with its LR variants. These long-range aircraft can be found with lie-flat seats on some airlines. La Compagnie has Airbus A321neos in an all lie-flat configuration.

La Compagnie interior
La Compagnie is an all-business-class airline based in France. Photo: La Compagnie

Could it work on the A220?

The A220 is a bit interesting. According to Airbus, the maximum cabin width of the aircraft is 3.3 meters or just under 11 feet. Meanwhile, the Airbus A321neo is 3.7 meters or just over 12 feet. Due to the narrower cabin of the A220, it would be more likely to see lie-flat seating in a 1-2 configuration.

However, this is where things get economically interesting. The Airbus A220 is not a large aircraft. As a result, more space up front for business class seating means less space in the back for coach. As a result, Breeze Airways would have an incredibly lightly-configured Airbus A220-300 if it has a significantly sized business class cabin with lie-flats.

Hawaiian A220-300
The A220-300 is not a terribly large aircraft when compared to the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737. Photo: Airbus

However, that could be perfect on “long and skinny” routes that have less demand or perhaps seasonal demand. But, depending on pricing, it could be a little tight for Breeze Airways. The A220 can seat a maximum of 160 passengers. With lie-flat seating, the aircraft will likely hold a fewer number of passengers– probably closer to the 100-110 range.

Ultimately, the economics depend on aircraft pricing and demand. Lie-flats could work, but it likely would only be on a very small number of aircraft and on very select routes. Perhaps, if Breeze goes transatlantic from the East Coast, an A220 with lie-flats would make sense.

What do you think? Should Breeze Airways put lie-flats on an Airbus A220? Let us know in the comments!