America’s newest operator, Avelo Airlines, is ready to fly. The carrier intends to launch service on 28 April from its home base at Burbank airport with an initial portfolio of 11 destinations.
Avelo has a simple purpose — to Inspire Travel. People are ready to reconnect with family and friends and explore new places. Avelo is a different and better kind of airline, built from scratch to offer an affordable, convenient and caring travel experience.– Avelo Founder, Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy
Founder Andrew Levy comes to the role with plenty of experience. He previously served as a co-founder and President of Allegiant and as CFO of United Airlines. Now he’s ready to put that experience to use with a new operation that looks an awful lot like Allegiant did at its beginnings, just in a different location.
The carrier will focus initially on secondary and tertiary markets, not big cities. And with a perceived shift in travel patterns based on the COVID-19 pandemic, the company plans routes that “focus on outdoor recreation, national parks, and coastal and mountain terrain – as well as providing air service for an increasing population of remote workers.”
Santa Rosa (STS) is the initial market, launching with daily service on 28 April. Phoenix/Mesa, AZ (AZA) also gets daily service, starting a week later. The remaining markets are served 3-4x weekly and will be added in to the schedule through the first month of operations.
With the 737-800 as the backbone of its operations the company plans to attract passengers with a larger plane than typically serves the smaller markets, though also without the onward connection options available. It also creates a challenge for the airline of actually filling the seats. Though if the economics of the operation are anywhere close to how Allegiant started the break-even load factor will be notably lower than the competition, at least to start.
Low fares, plenty of fees
The 737 seats 189 passengers in the Avelo configuration. It is an all-economy layout, but on-board comfort can be bought, like nearly everything else, in the company’s unbundled business model.
The bulk of the cabin – 129 seats – will offer a 29 inch pitch slimline configuration. Securing a window or aisle seat in advance will cost travelers at least $5, however. The remaining seats are pitched from 31 to 38 inches, with prices starting at $18. They top out at $36 right now for the Burbank-Santa Rosa route, but the company’s disclosure simply states “$4 and up.”
The carrier will also charge for checked bags, though the $10 fee is arguably more annoying than market shifting. An extra $10 fee comes if paying for the checked bag at the airport. A larger carry-on bag in the cabin will run $35. Boarding the plane early costs $10 and bringing a pet along on the trip $95.
The company also notes “other modestly-priced optional services” will be available to travelers.
One potential fee option conspicuously absent: In-flight entertainment. There will be no airline-provided solutions on board, paid or free, when service starts.
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