Allegiant Air is a budget carrier that specializes in flights from smaller regional airports to popular vacation destinations across the country like Orlando, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Many people are just now learning about the airline after a scathing report from CBS’ “60 Minutes” questioned its safety record.
Allegiant Air: What you need to know before you book a flight
“60 Minutes” said it reviewed service difficulty reports that Allegiant filed with the FAA and found more than 100 serious mechanical incidents between January 2016 and October 2017.
A few examples of incidents on the airline include mid-air engine failures, smoke in the cabin and aborted takeoffs.
Allegiant responded to CBS’ story by saying that the news organization presented a “false narrative” about the airline, but some passengers saw enough in the report and vowed to never fly Allegiant again.
Despite looming questions about its safety record, Allegiant Air flew more than 12 million passengers last year and is one of the country’s most profitable airlines.
If you’re thinking about flying Allegiant, here are answers to some of the questions you may have:
1. Where does Allegiant fly?
On top of wondering if it’s safe to fly Allegiant, you may be curious about exactly where they go! The airline says it services more than 100 U.S. airports, including many regional ones.
Flights are typically published six to nine months in advance, according to the carrier’s website.
Allegiant says all of its flights are nonstop, it doesn’t have one-stop or connecting flights and some routes may be seasonal. You can click here to check out its interactive route map.
It’s also important to note that Allegiant may not fly every day on your preferred route — another way it keeps costs down.
2. What’s going on with Allegiant’s fleet?
One thing the “60 Minutes” investigation noted is that Allegiant has the oldest fleet in the business, which includes McDonnell Douglas MD-80s that were purchased second-hand from foreign airlines.
On its Facebook page, Allegiant said it’s in the process of transitioning to an all Airbus fleet by November 2018.
3. How are Allegiant’s fares so low?
Allegiant’s fares can be just as cheap as its low-cost competitors Spirit and Frontier. It frequently advertises sales with rock-bottom prices like one-way fares starting as low as $28!
But Clark Deals travel editor Laura Sayers says you have to watch out for the add-on fees:
“I would definitely say that Allegiant’s fares are very competitive in the domestic budget airfare market, but much like Frontier and Spirit, you need to keep an eye out for those potential extra charges to make sure you’re getting the best deal.”
4. How much does it cost to check a bag with Allegiant?
The airline’s list of fees is lengthy, but it’s the baggage policy that’s most likely to catch first-time passengers by surprise. Allegiant only allows for one complimentary personal item (7 in. x 15 in. x 16 in.) that can fit under the seat in front of you.
Carry-on bags and checked bags will cost extra, depending on the route and when the bag is added to your itinerary.
For example, Allegiant’s giant table of fees says that passengers flying from Albuquerque to Austin will pay $22 to check a bag at booking, $45 before departure and $50 at the airport.
The price for a single carry-on bag on that route is $16 at booking, $45 pre-departure and $50 at the airport.
5. Does Allegiant serve snacks and drinks on its flights?
Allegiant offers sodas, juices, alcoholic beverages and a variety of snacks on its flights, but they’ll cost you! Sodas start at $2 and mixed drinks are $7.
Want a hot coffee or tea? You’re out of luck. The airline removed plumbing from galleys to reduce weight and fuel burn.
6. Do I have to pay extra to choose a seat with Allegiant?
According to its website, Allegiant will allow you to select your seat at the time of your reservation for a fee, which can range from $0 to $80. This is probably a good idea if you’re traveling with a companion.
If you don’t pre-purchase a seat assignment, you’ll be assigned a seat at no cost when you check in for your flight.
7. What will Allegiant do for me if my flight is canceled?
Nobody wants to think about their flight being delayed or canceled, but it’s something to prepare for. Passengers should know that Allegiant doesn’t make reservations on other airlines.
If your flight is canceled or rescheduled, you have the following three options:
- Take the rescheduled flight
- Reserve an Allegiant flight on different dates for no difference in fare and no change fee
- Cancel the remainder of your ticket for a refund of all unflown segments
Worried about weather-related issues with your flight? Here’s what the airline has to say about that:
“Allegiant will not be liable for any meals, alternate transportation or any other overnight expenses incurred but will assist in finding discounted or ‘Distressed Passenger’ rates at local hotels to help minimize the cost and inconvenience.”
Team Clark reviewed Facebook and Twitter messages from Allegiant passengers and it looks like experiences with the airline are mixed, but isn’t that the case for all carriers? People like to use social media to vent.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, Allegiant actually scored pretty high in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index report that was released in April 2018:
Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue led the way, but Allegiant wasn’t far behind. It’s worth noting that the satisfaction scores were collected before CBS’ “60 Minutes” report aired.
Have you flown Allegiant Air? Tell Team Clark about your flying experience on Facebook, Twitter or right below in the comments section!
More Clark.com stories about travel:
- Clark Howard warns about American, Delta and United’s cheap fares
- Hilton vs. Holiday Inn vs. Marriott vs. Best Western: Which hotel chain is best?
- Booking a cruise? Here are 3 tips on how to do it for less
- How to get a cheap rental car — Clark Howard style!