There’s a new option for coast-to-coast fans looking for nonstop flights between Walt Disney World and Disneyland’s home airports in their respective Orange Counties. This post will share details about the discount airline offering these direct itineraries plus details about flight price trends and other commentary.
Let’s start with the basics about Breeze Airways, which is the newest U.S. airline. Breeze was founded by aviation entrepreneur David Neeleman, who previously founded four other commercial airlines: Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue Airways, and Azul Brazilian Airlines.
Breeze Airways debuted in 2023 at John Wayne Airport with its flagship flight from Orange County to Orange County, traveling between the airports in Santa Ana, California and Orlando, Florida. This SNA-MCO itinerary is the first-ever according to Breeze Airways, and could become a popular option for Florida or California-based Disney fans or tourists looking to do coast-to-coast challenges, visiting Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in the same day.
The new flight is the first nonstop connection between California’s and Florida’s Orange Counties. Breeze is also adding nonstop service to Provo/Salt Lake City, UT, today and, next month, adds nonstops to Columbus, OH; Cincinnati, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA. One-stop/no plane change ‘BreezeThru’ service is also offered to Providence, RI.
Breeze Airways fares start from $69 one-way from SNA to MCO. All five nonstop destinations are currently on sale for introductory fares. Below are the base fares from Orange County, California to various cities.
Orange County, California (SNA) to:
- Orlando, FL (Daily from $69 one way);
- Provo, UT (from $39 one way);
- Columbus, OH (Wed and Sat, starting March 29, Nice from $119);
- Cincinnati, OH (Thurs, Sun and Tues, starting March 30, Nice from $119);
- Pittsburgh, PA (Fri and Mon, starting March 31, Nice from $119); and
- Providence, RI (BreezeThru service on Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun, starting March 29).
Orlando, Florida (MCO) to:
- Akron-Canton, OH (from $47 one-way);
- Bentonville-Fayetteville, AR (from $52 one-way);
- Charleston, SC (from $49 one way);
- Huntsville, AL (from $49 one way);
- Orange County, CA (Daily from $69 one way); and
- Tulsa, OK (from $39 one way).
These “get off the couch” rates can currently be booked for travel between now and September 5, 2023 on Breeze Airways’ official site.
“I can’t think of a better way to commemorate this milestone than for the ‘nicest airline’ to connect two of the ‘happiest places on earth’,” said David Neeleman, Breeze Airways’ Founder and CEO. “While also giving our Provo Guests an epic day trip option from their house to the ‘house of the mouse’ in Orange County.”
“We are pleased to welcome a new airline partner to our diverse group of carriers,” said Charlene Reynolds, Airport Director at SNA. “Breeze supports community interests by bringing Orange County a fleet of cleaner, quieter aircraft. We are excited to deliver a superior level of convenience for our guests with additional service and new destinations.”
Breeze took flight in May 2021 and has quickly expanded across the U.S. connecting underserved city pairs with fast, efficient flights. The airline’s business model centers around offering affordable fares with plenty of perks including no change and cancellation fees up to 15 minutes prior to departure, free family seating and enhanced seating options including Extra Legroom and First Class seats. Guests can choose from a la carte or bundled options to create a travel experience that meets their needs.
Seat pitch for a Standard Economy seat is 30 inches on the A220s and 31 inches on the E-195s, while seat pitch for Extra Legroom is 32 inches on the A220s and between 34 and 39 inches on the E-195s, depending on the row selected. First Class seats feature 39 inches of seat pitch, 20.5 inches of seat width, and special features, such as a footrest, for added comfort, and in-seat AC power and USB/C ports.
In terms of commentary, my first thought is it’s about time. We currently fly between SNA and MCO once per month, and have been doing this route regularly (albeit not with that degree of frequency) since 2014…minus one notable two year window. Without fail, our outbound flights have a high percentage of travelers sporting Spirit Jerseys and other Disney gear. Not a huge surprise, as it stands to reason that visitors to the Orange Counties visited the respective Disney parks.
What might be more of a surprise is that we see many of the exact same travelers on the connecting flights to the other Orange County. Meaning that a healthy number of people on those flights are fans going from one coast’s Disney parks to the other. That’s also not really a surprise given the surging popularity of the Premier Annual Pass prior to the parks’ closure.
It’s not just fans. When it’s just me traveling, I prefer to fly the Delta nonstop redeye between MCO and LAX, and it is incredibly common to spot Imagineers and other Disney employees on those routes heading into or out of the weekends. Those nonstop Delta Los Angeles-Orlando routes are popular, so it’s safe to say that the same will be true even with the smaller SNA.
My excitement for nonstop flights between Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s home airports is tempered by the reality that Breeze Airways is an ultra-low cost carrier. Those who have read my words of caution (to put it charitably) about Frontier or Spirit may thus be surprised to hear my enthusiasm for Breeze.
And in fairness, it’s tough to reconcile this excitement with my rants about Frontier or Spirit. In part, I’m excited for Breeze Airways because I’ve yet to have a bad–or any–experience with them. It’s also because I’m intrigued by the concept of another airline from the founder of JetBlue and WestJet that’s focused on “underserved” routes.
Both of WestJet and JetBlue have enjoyed good track records and positive customer feedback (at least, relative to Frontier and Spirit). I also like that Breeze Airways offers multiple daily nonstop flights between SNA and MCO. (If it were simply one route, it’d be too risky.) Given all of this, I’m intrigued by Breeze.
Frankly, I’m also hopeful that this proves successful and causes the legacy carriers to take notice and add nonstop routes between SNA and MCO. I’d happily pay a premium to fly Delta over Breeze, and the risk and time savings of not having a connecting flight (or having to hassle with LAX) would be huge to me.
I really feel like this has been an overlooked route that carriers should’ve added ages ago when the Disney fandom exploded in popularity. It truly seems like a no-brainer and has for a while. Of course, that’s not going to change overnight–especially with ongoing staffing shortages at the airlines that make it more difficult to add routes.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll be giving Breeze Airways a try on an upcoming trip. I’m not wild about the overall customer experience or nickel and diming of other budget carriers, but I’m willing to give Breeze a try before passing judgment. Maybe it’ll finally be the ultra low-cost carrier that bucks the trend. The price is certainly right–as is the nonstop itinerary!
To the price point, I’m downright surprised by the prices Breeze Airways is offering in both March and April 2023 during what should be the peak of spring break season in both Orange Counties. There are multiple daily $79 flight options during these popular travel times, which beats any other airline I’d consider flying by a very wide margin–and for a significantly shorter flight time.
On a tangentially related note, there have been reports that spring break travel demand is increasing, resulting in higher hotel rates and airfare costs. The Hopper travel app reported that domestic airfare is already averaging $264 per round trip for March and April, which is up 20% from a year ago and 5% above pre-pandemic levels.
Perhaps more notably, Hopper’s survey data shows that both budgets and interest in spring getaways are increasing despite recession fears. Though travelers are eager, 82% have not yet booked their trips. This strongly suggests that prices are poised to go even higher, especially since airlines are still grappling with pilot shortages and aircraft delivery delays, resulting in lower capacity. (Hopefully certain airlines will also learn a lesson from the New Year’s meltdown and not overbook their flights!)
In interviews with CNBC, multiple airline CEOs have reported strong spring break demand. It’s “probably the best we’ve ever seen,” Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle said. “Constrained capacity is real. When you couple that in with higher costs, most notably fuel, people are willing to pay [the higher fares], and the airlines need to charge it.”
Matt Klein, Spirit Airlines CCO, said that there was a travel lull this winter following a longer-than-normal school break post-Christmas, but demand has accelerated this spring, even beyond peak holiday weeks. “The busiest days of the week are returning to your Fridays and Sundays,” Klein told the network. “The best deals and the best offers should be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays would be my expectation.”
Klein also said that demand to Florida is particularly strong and that Spirit has boosted capacity to certain cities such as Orlando, where it’s ramped up service to hit a near-record 96 daily departures on peak days. He added that during popular vacation periods and to top destinations, demand will remain high regardless of the day.
Ultimately, there are still deals available for spring break right now, but many of them require flexibility with your departure date, airline, or itinerary. It also very much depends upon your home airport(s). If you’re based in a small town and only have a regional airport near you with limited flight service to Orange County (either of them), your options will likely be limited–and expensive. As always, we’d recommend signing up for fare alerts on Airfarewatchdog.com and price tracking via Google Flights.
Above all else, flexibility is your friend when it comes to saving money on flights (or just about anything travel-related). Hopefully with the info and offers here, you can save money on one of the most expensive aspects of your Walt Disney World vacation. (On a related note, to reduce flight-related headaches, see What to Do If Your Flight is Cancelled or Delayed.)
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Will you book a coast-to-coast Disney trip on Breeze Airways? Intrigued by this ultra low-cost carrier offering flights into and out of both Orange Counties, or will you stick with your preferred airline? Thoughts or expectations about airfare costs during spring break? Do you have any additional tips & tricks for scoring deals on airfare to Walt Disney World? Do you have a favorite airline? Any specific airline you dislike? Thoughts on the different airfare search engines or booking sites? What about sites (like Airfarewatchdog) to follow for hot deals on flights? Any questions about what we covered? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share in the comments below!