No Propellers, Please!
November 25, 2010 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone flown via Allegiant Air? How was it?

I moved to Knoxville and most of my family lives in Tampa Bay.
I tried finding flights but there are multiple stops and the total costs end up being over $400 (short of someone driving me to Nashville or Atlanta).
So, I noticed that Allegiant Air is SUPER cheap and has non-stop flights right to St. Pete.

Besides one flight on Southwest, I've only ever flown via JetBlue. JetBlue has always been awesome because they have a built in TV to distract me and I've never experienced any problems. I know that Allegiant doesnt have this, but I'm just wondering if they're an okay company to fly with.

Are their planes super small regional planes that are "scary" ? How is the boarding process? The crew?
posted by KogeLiz to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
Best answer: I flew Allegiant once from Bellingham to Vegas and back. This was a couple years ago however, so I'm assuming things might have changed with the whole TSA situation since then, but I don't know. The Bellingham airport is *tiny* (I think they only fly out of smaller regional airports?), but the whole process was pretty straigtforward and un-special. The staff and crew were friendly and helpful, the plane clean, and I don't recall a single issue - nothing of the process stands out in my head at all. In fact, the whole experience was pretty forgettable. When dealing with flights (and I don't fly alot, either), I think thats a good thing. We boarded by walking out to the tarmac and climbing the steps of the plane. No frills or anything like that obviously, and I dont recall the plane being that small (actually, here are the two planes they use). I'd have no problems flying with them again - I might even prefer it. In fact, given that Bellingham is the closest american airport for me, its likely I will will fly with them again at some point.
posted by cgg at 7:40 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

This isn't a budget airline like JetBlue, this is more like Spirit. Not great in my expirence.

It isn't UNSAFE, so I'd try it once to see if you can handle it.
posted by k8t at 7:43 PM on November 25, 2010

Completely agree with cgg. Flew Allegiant round-trip Bellingham-San Diego once and it was fine, though super-late. Because their fleet is quite small, if something is wrong with a plane, getting another one to the airport to replace it can take a while. The flight itself was unremarkable. I don't remember the planes being particularly scary; in fact, I've been on small regional United planes that felt way more like a propeller plane. My in-laws fly Allegiant a lot because it's so cheap; I'd probably fly with them again too.
posted by pised at 7:53 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

The MD-80s that Allegiant operates are roughly the same size (based on passenger capacity) as Southwest's 737s. They should feel larger than a "scary" regional jet.

As far as safety, there are two reportable incidences on file with the NTSB since they started keeping records (1962); one was an ATC controller error and one was a flight crew error, neither of which caused a crash or loss of life. So, I would consider them safe.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:56 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

its cheap because it flies out of weird airports and doesn't include anything. you have to pay extra to check bags, etc, even to guarantee that you'll sit together if you fly with someone. (although i declined to pay for that and we had tickets next to each other anyway.) so if you don't mind that, it's worth it. we flew rockford to orlando for 50 bucks and it was great.

the one thing that sucked was we sort of left our laptop on the plane. we realized it on our way home from the airport and started calling frantically but it was too late and they never found it. of course, i can only guess the experience wouldn't be all that different with any other airline. and its our own fault for forgetting it. but their attitude was pretty much like 'yeah sorry but you're screwed.' sigh.
posted by lblair at 8:15 PM on November 25, 2010

I flew on Allegiant from Des Moines to Las Vegas and back. It was nothing special, but it wasn't that much different than any other carrier. It was certainly larger than the small regional jets I've been on, but due to their schedule and fares you're never going to find an uncrowded plane.
posted by mikeh at 8:34 PM on November 25, 2010

I flew Allegiant from Bellingham to Oakland in September for $79 (one of the more expensive fares available that week, but the only one that fit my schedule). The flight was easy and pretty basic, and the little bitty Bellingham airport was so much fun to fly out of. TSA staff were hilarious and jokey, the ticket counter issued me a ticket for Stephen-somebody, then TSA folks had to keep making cracks about how I must've been Stephen-whatsisname in a past life, then they accused me of smuggling clams in my carry on. It was so charming and ridiculous and better than any big airport I've ever flown out of. Anyway, I feel pretty positive about Allegiant, which I think gets most of their business flying minor league baseball teams around.
posted by soviet sleepover at 8:53 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've flown Allegiant, also Bellingham-San Diego, this year.

They are indeed cheap because they nickle and dime you to death; f'ex, they charge you a convenience fee to purchase a ticket online. They also charge you to purchase a ticket over the phone. The only way they don't charge you to purchase? In person day of flight. The one family I saw try to do that got so much flack from the check-in people that it was kind of unfortunate.

So just start adding up the extra costs (luggage, ticket, etc) and see if they're still worth it.

Boarding process is normal (more Southwest style than JetBlue style), the crew is fine and planes are a fair size (no propellers). Nothing wrong with their planes, nothing wrong with their crews, and they were ok at arriving and departing on time. Don't expect *any* frills, though.
posted by librarylis at 9:39 PM on November 25, 2010

I used to fly them all the time between St. Pete and NC - never count on them being on time or on the planes being anything close to clean. It's pretty much the usual budget flying experience. They do charge for every little thing they can possibly charge for though. I used to just pack a carry-on to avoid luggage fees and I never cared where I sat so I never paid a seat preference fee.

Enjoy your flight!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:10 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I can tell you about Allegiant, but you have to pay me a $10 "opinion fee" first. :D
posted by Jacqueline at 2:45 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've flown Allegiant more than anything else lately, and I've never had a problem. I usually do Tri-Cities to Orlando and the flight is fast and cheap. I actually kind of like them because the planes are smaller and boarding and deplaning are faster. Two of the types of planes they use are listed on SeatGuru, but I remember the last one I flew on being smaller (no propeller, though!).
posted by Mouse Army at 7:46 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

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