Joined: Aug 11, 2010
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March 28th, 2013 at 9:28:15 AM permalink
So the gf and I are thinking about flying with Allegiant to Vegas for our 1 year Anniversary...
We can rent a car and drive (8 hours) for $72 (plus the cost of gas)
OR we can FLY (1:15 flight) for $250 ($125 each)
We'd REALLY like to fly...just because it'd be fun...
Has anyone else ever flown Allegiant? How is it?
The only plane I've ever been on was a private jet from Fresno to Reno, for my 29th birthday...
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Joined: May 10, 2011
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March 28th, 2013 at 9:37:39 AM permalink
I've flown Allegiant from Fort Collins, CO to Vegas, but they no longer have the route. Also, I work with several people from Billings, and they exclusively fly Allegiant when going to Vegas.

It was just fine. Watch out for the baggage fees, though, as they also charge for a carry on. The only thing you can take with you for free is a personal item, which measures 7x15x16 or less. I have flown Spirit Airlines, which has similar (and maybe the same) baggage fees, except they allow a larger personal item (12x14x18, I think).
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March 28th, 2013 at 10:07:10 AM permalink

The only plane I've ever been on was a private jet from Fresno to Reno, for my 29th birthday...

It won't be as luxurious as a private jet. Allegiant's domestic fleet are planes between 17 and 27 years old, so it will be closer to riding in a bus then your last experience.

Although it was more common before the depression for airlines to fly older planes, many of them were retired because they used so much fuel. Basically the increased fuel and maintenance costs cancelled out the lower financing costs for the cheaper planes. Allegiant makes virtually no profit on their base fare. So they must pressure you with baggage fees, or to purchase a hotel or rental car or show tickets through them. That's where all their profit comes from.

On the other hand, it is very difficult to get on a round trip flight of any duration for $125 these days. I doubt that you will save any money driving when you add in the cost of fuel plus food and beverages. You must be using over 40 gallons of fuel to go round trip which is about $150. Add in the car rental and the insurance and the meals on the road, and the two modes of transportation have similar costs.
Joined: Jul 19, 2011
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March 28th, 2013 at 10:22:54 AM permalink
An 8 hour drive is usually my cutoff point where I look into flying rather than driving
When you add up driving to the airport, getting there 2 hours before your flight, your time in the air, reclaiming checked baggage, renting a car, and driving to your destination and checking into your hotel you are only saving a couple hours, if that in overall time.
I have never flown Allegiant. To fly with them I would have to fly out of Rockford which is trying its best to be Chicago's 3rd airport. They have the runways but it still remains largely a freight and not a passenger airport.
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Joined: Mar 28, 2010
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March 28th, 2013 at 10:32:20 AM permalink
ive flown allegiant plenty of times before. no complaints. i like them because theyre cheap and fly into the smaller airports.
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March 28th, 2013 at 10:46:05 AM permalink
I have flown allegiant 20 times or so from bozeman and billings to vegas and LA. You get what you pay for nothing is free they get you with fees to book online, baggage fees, snack fees, early boarding fees. But it is often times much cheaper than taking a regular domestic carrier. We have taken 4 Kids with us and usally they work with us to get the seats together. The one problem we had was we missed our flight back from Vegas last June due to our youngest being admitted to the hospital. Intially they were unwilling to work with us to get a differnt flight into another airport because we didn't give them 24 hrs notice of the need to change plans. We ended up having to split our party and send 3 kids back with grandma and grandpa as my wife and I stayed with the ssick child. Once he was released from the hospital i had to pay last minute flight $ for an allegient flight for me and the baby. Once we got to the airport the plane had to abort on take off. We had to wait 13 hrs to get a new plane for the trip talk about a long day at the vegas airport with a sick child. Mean while my wife took the later flight with a connection in SLC and beat me home by several hrs. The bad thing is I was the one with the car and house keys. They did end up giving us a credit for the missed flight about 3 months later. My wife and I used that for a thanksgiving get away with out kids so it worked out great in the end.
Joined: Oct 20, 2010
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March 28th, 2013 at 10:56:33 AM permalink
If you think of it as taking a no-frills bus in the sky, Allegiant's not bad. As others noted above, their business model is to sell low price tickets and make up the difference in fees. If you pack light (all luggage under the seat in front of you), don't care what seat you get, don't buy food on the plane, and don't add on show tickets or other frills, you'll get a great deal.

I live south of Seattle-Tacoma airport, but there have been two times that the price savings has been so significant, it was worth it to drive two hours to Bellingham to catch an Allegiant flight.

Sometimes, you might find that buying an Allegiant airfare+cheap hotel package might be less expensive than Allegiant airfare alone. I saw that once and jumped on it -- I visited my room at the El Cortez, but didn't stay. With hotel/airfare packages, you can choose the number of hotel nights independently of the travel dates.

I'd do it again, if the price was right.

(The second flight, the plane was delayed because of high winds in Vegas. I ordered a Dominos pizza delivered to me at the airport. I could feel the jealous stares from the other passengers.)
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March 28th, 2013 at 11:56:37 AM permalink
As someone that has flown Allegiant a lot, the biggest downside is when they are having airplane problems. It takes forever for them to get you a new aircraft. Waits of over 8 hours are not uncommon when there are airplane malfunctions.
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March 28th, 2013 at 12:07:26 PM permalink
Allegiant's Business Model has some unusual features

(1) No connecting flights are sold. While many small off price airlines have few connections, Allegiant is the only one that I know of that never sells a connecting flight
(2) Small Airports. While Southwest almost originated this technique, Allegiant has taken it to new levels. Their airports in Florida sometimes have no other commercial flights on other airlines. Frontier has made a hub in Trenton where it is the only airline, so the practice may spread.
(3) Charter's available. Casinos like those in Laughlin and Tunica charter their planes frequently. Usually a commercial airline rarely charter's planes.
(4) Older airframes. While this practice was once widespread, most airlines have stayed away from it because fuel consumption and noise restrictions now are more dominant factors.

Many of the major carriers are limiting flights to small airports. Where they used to connect to several hubs, they often connect to one or two only. Allegiant is sometimes the only point to point carrier at the airport. (A point to point flight is one where everyone or nearly everyone gets on the plane at their origin and gets off at their destination). A flight to a hub might be the destination of some of the passengers, but most of them are just changing planes. You can rank airports by passengers going to that destination. Las Vegas and Orlando would move up in the rankings, as Atlanta and O'Hara have large numbers of connections.
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March 28th, 2013 at 12:45:11 PM permalink
Have flown out of Bellingham several times. Nothing fancy and they even have a carry-on baggage charge. Changes or even to add a bag at the airport will cost big time. But the price is excellent if you book ahead of time. Flights get more expensive as the plane gets full and last minute flights with them will often be more than a full service carrier. Will likely continue to use them for the cities they service as Bellingham is more convenient for me than Vancouver, about 2/3's of the Bellingham airport traffic is Canadian passengers.
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