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Allegiant Air Review

Allegiant Air Review

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (3 Reviews)

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New Orleans Firefighters Arrive In Las Vegas For A Rest
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Allegiant is a U.S. airline operating on the budget carrier model. That means every attempt is made to keep airfares as low as possible by requiring passengers to pay for many services that come standard with traditional airfares. Allegiant serves about 75 destinations, with a focus on leisure destinations in warm climates.

Logistics

The Allegiant web site is relatively hassle-free. The same cannot be said for terminal set-ups in the two airports we used. Allegiant does not host self-service check-in kiosks. When buying online, the only way to show up at the airport with printed boarding passes and an assigned seat is to pay a $17/passenger fee prior to checkout. For another $10, you can get "priority boarding," which means you'll be among the first to board and choose overhead space without waiting in lines.

Those who don't pay are relegated to "Group Z," or the people who are last to board. To obtain these Group Z boarding passes, one waits in sometimes lengthy lines for a traditional airport check-in. If you elect to join Group Z, be sure to arrive at the airport well in advance of your departure time.

In-flight snacks are not provided with the fare, but may be purchased from flight attendants. At the time of our trip, a soft drink was $2 and a bag of pretzels was $3.

Baggage fees for Allegiant can be discounted from the $35 required at the airport if paid in advance online ($20). But take note: these baggage fees are per flight segment. If you make a stop along the way, a new segment is created.

Itinerary for Review

Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

I took a trip in July 2011 between Chattanooga, Tenn. and Orlando (Sanford) for $130 per person, round-trip. At the time, it was the lowest such fare I could find between the two areas. But remember that the Sanford airport is about 40 miles from MCO. Since affordable shuttle service is scarce in Orlando, it required a car rental.

Not wanting to pay for seat reservations, we took our chances with the open seating. It was not a problem on our trip in either direction.

Although neither Chattanooga nor Sanford were the most convenient airports, I will observe that both facilities are pleasant and uncomplicated. Airports such as these present fewer gates and less confusion, yet offer all the services you'll need.

Markets Served

The 75 markets Allegiant serves are spread across all regions of the U.S. The airline serves large airports such as Detroit, Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas, but often goes into smaller airports in large metropolitan areas as well as small- and medium-sized airports.

For example, the large Orlando market is served through Sanford International Airport, not Orlando International. This can create additional ground transportation costs that cut into the savings from low airfares. Allegiant hubs are in six airports, including Bellingham, Wash. (just across the U.S. border from Vancouver), Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix-Mesa, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the Florida cities of Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

You'll note that many cities in the Allegiant system are not connected by daily service. This could preclude people with tight, inflexible schedules from booking flights.

Conclusions

Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

Allegiant provides service to smaller cities, connecting them to major cities at low prices. But you'll have to navigate through a series of airline offers for vacation packages, car rentals and the aforementioned seat reservation fees.

Airport check-in is slow and requires patience. Personnel we encountered were helpful and professional, but at times appeared overworked and overwhelmed. For travelers who are comfortable with the budget carrier model of a la carte pricing, Allegiant is an airline well worth shopping for budget airfares.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Non Family Friendly, Nickel and Dime to Death!, Member sscyman

This was our first time flying Allegiant. When I called the day before flying out(which was a slight circus trying to get through to customer service)to pre-pay for our baggage(because it was significantly more expensive to pay the airport), I was basically bullied by the customer service rep to spend another $44 to be sure my husband and I could sit next to one another with our 18mo old that was travelling as a lap child. He acted like it was almost impossible that my husband and I would sit together if I did not pay to reserve seats. After I paid this I called my sister-in-law who has flown Allegiant and she stated that she has never paid to reserve seats and never had a problem sitting with the people she was travelling with. So I called back that afternoon and spoke to another customer service agent, I explained that I wanted to cancel my seat reservation and he was happy to oblige, but initially stated that my $44 would be credited as a voucher to be used on another flight in the future. I explained to him that I was not interested in being issued a voucher, I just wanted to have the difference credited. He spoke to a supervisor and was able to accomodate my request. He also stated that BOTH my flights were not full flights and there should not be any problem sitting with my husband. Our flight to Ohio went fine. The service person at check-in was very nice and she assigned us to a 3 seat row with just me and my husband, which was very nice. The flight was uneventful, although we were surprised that all in-flight service had to be paid for. Our flight home was another story. When we arrived at the airport my son was upset and crying. The woman who 'helped' us at the ticketing counter was awful. My husband mentioned that the previous flight we were able to sit together in a three seat row. She bluntly explained that was not going to happen on this flight, she was not sure if she could even seat us together and we should have paid to reserve seats (keep in mind my child is crying the whole time and we are trying to get out IDs for her and keep organized). I asked her if the flight was full, she said no. I explained that the rep I spoke to Thursday thought that seating us together would be no problem. A minute later she was suddenly able to find two seats together for us. When we finally boarded the plane (30 minutes after our scheduled take-off time) we were frustrated to see several rows on the 3 seat side of the plane with a single passenger. We were seated together (thankfully) but on a 2 seat row, which was definitely more cramped than the first flight. After boarding we waited on the tarmac for over 30 minutes waiting for two ticketed passengers that had not shown up yet. While I am sure that this made those two passengers happy, it was very very irritating that when we had been told repeatedly by Allegiant that we had to be to our gate an hour before our flight time or the gate would be closed and then to sit on the plane for over 30 minutes after already boarding late, with a toddler, waiting for two passengers. Our overall experience was that Allegiant was not family friendly like they claim to be, it was actually the opposite. They are only family friendly if you pay extra, which then makes them NOT an affordable option compared to larger airlines. I will be flying only Southwest in the future.

6 out of 7 people found this helpful.

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