Even though travel and flight bookings have been on the rise recently, it might not be the best time to start a new airline while a pandemic is going on. But when Avelo Airlines, a new low-cost airline, starts flying on April 28, U.S. passengers will see planes in the sky with colors they aren’t used to seeing.
Andrew Levy, who helped start Allegiant Air and was the president and CFO of United Airlines, started Avelo Airlines. It was the first new mainline airline in the U.S. in 15 years.
The company announced new routes from its first hub, Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR). Levy said that the move was made because Burbank Airport is closer to downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Pasadena, and many other places of interest in Southern California than any other airport. As the airport for the San Fernando Valley, Burbank will make it easy to get to a lot of new,
beautiful, and relaxing nonstop destinations in California and the rest of the Western U.S. “And for people who are thinking about going to Los Angeles for a vacation or long weekend, Burbank is the most convenient and stress-free way to get to Greater L.A. and the famous fun-in-the-sun activities that Southern California is known for.”
Levy also said that passengers would find it easier to fly into and out of Burbank instead of one of the area’s bigger airports because the facility is smaller, pick-up and drop-off services are more streamlined, gate distances are shorter, and security lines move faster.
At first, Avelo Airlines will run single-class Boeing 737-800 planes with 189 seats, just like Southwest Airlines. The seats will be set up in a 3–3 configuration. Most of the cabin will be filled with 129 slimline seats with 29 inches of pitch, and a smaller section will have 60 seats with extra legroom and 31 to 38 inches of pitch. Prices will start at about $18 more for the seats with more space.
Avelo Airlines’ list of launch routes includes 11 nonstop flights to other places in the western U.S. All of these routes are now open for booking, and some tickets cost as little as $19 each way. Some of the places are:
Even though those airfares are low, Avelo Airlines has said that they will not include change fees or fees for making reservations through their call center. This is similar to what the rest of the airline has done to boost customer confidence at a time when many travel plans are still up in the air.
However, if you want extras like checked bags or to select your seat, you’ll have to pay more. You might have to pay more for other airlines, though. Priority boarding will also cost $10, and pre-reserved aisle or window seats will start at $5 each. But if you want to bring a standard overhead carry-on instead, you will have to pay an extra $35.
Avelo Airlines’ choice to launch from a single hub on the West Coast is an interesting one, given that even the biggest U.S. airlines have started looking into more point-to-point options as the demand for travel has changed from business to leisure and from international to domestic. But it does make sense given how the airline wants to run. With such low prices,
Avelo will have to fill its planes with people who have never flown with them before and are looking for a deal, and then make the turnaround times as quick as possible to get the most out of each plane. Operating out of a single base to start is a smart way to do this and protect the new business from any weird things that might happen in the first few months.
Interestingly enough, Avelo Airlines was only one of two new airlines that were supposed to start up this year. The other was Breeze Airways, which was started by David Neelman, the man who started JetBlue. Also, that airline should start flying by the end of this spring.
Even if you don’t live in the Western U.S., the start of a new airline should be exciting news for you. We hope that Avelo’s low prices will eventually bring down prices, not just in the markets it serves initially but also in other destinations that are in competition. Also, other airlines might look at how well their flights connect secondary cities and airports that aren’t well served to see if they want to get into those markets and give leisure travelers even more options.
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