When it comes to booking flights, everyone’s always looking for the cheapest fare and the quickest flight. Allegiant Air is a relatively new airline that’s starting to main stream itself with low, one way fares to certain cities. Yes, their fares can be enticing, however those low fares come with other, easily over looked fees that the passenger pays for flying cheap.
Where and what does Allegiant Air fly
Allegiant Air has hubs in FL, WA, NV, CA, SC, AZ and AR (starting in June 2013) that will take passengers to an array of destinations such as New York or even Hawaii. They operate with the smaller McDonnell-Douglas MD 82/83, McDonnell-Douglas MD 87 on up to the larger Boeing 757-200 series aircraft, which have the ability to carry up to 217 coach passengers.
Tricky travel days
If you plan on flying Allegiant, make sure they offer flights within your needed travel window. Allegiant does NOT provide flights on an every day basis and sometimes, depending on the destination and departing airport, they may only fly 2 days out the entire month. This can make booking with them extremely tricky, especially since they only tend to also fly on certain days. So you may catch a flight on May 8th, but won’t be able to return via Allegiant until their next scheduled flight to that city on May 30th. This may leave you with the only option of purchasing a one way ticket and using a separate airline to return home.
Fees, fees and more fees
Here is where those low, one way fares don’t seem to sound like such a great rate at times. Now every airline has those optional fees that we all expect, such as priority boarding, trip cancellation insurance, changes to your tickets, pets on board and so on. Allegiant has added a few more that aren’t really known until after your almost done booking your flight. Below is a list of fees that Allegiant charges their passengers and the possible price associated with them. You can also find them all on Allegiant Air’s Fee Page.
- Seat Selection – Selecting your seat at time of reservation – $0 – $75
- Priority Boarding – The opportunity to board the plane before general boarding – $5
- Trip Flex – Avoid most change and cancellation fees. Protect your travel purchase with Allegiant’s Trip Flex – $11.50 – $37
- Changes to itinerary – Any changes to ticket, trip or anything associated with it – $50 – $75
- Food & Beverage – There are NO complimentary items offered on Allegiant Air flights, all must be purchased – $1.99 – $12.99
- Pet in cabin – Domestic cats and dogs are allowed on a per person basis in a soft sided carrier – $100
- Carry-On Bags – You are allowed 1 free personal item, such as a purse or back pack. However your 2nd carry on item must be purchased. – $10 – $75
- Checked Bags – If booked in advance, the baggage fee for the first and second checked bag is $14.99 to $35.00 per bag, per segment depending on your departure and arrival airports. Bag fees paid at the airport for the first and second checked bag are $35 per bag, per segment for travel through April 30, 2013; for travel after that date, this fee will be $50 or $75 per bag, per segment depending on your departure and arrival airports.
– Additional charges for sporting equipment and/or overweight and/or oversize and excess baggage may apply.
- Overweight Bags: between 41 and 70 pounds (18.6-31.8 kilos) +$50.00
- Overweight Bags: between 71 and 100 pounds (32.2-45.4 kilos) +$75.00
- Oversize Checked Bags: height + width + depth in excess of 80 linear inches (203.2 cm) + $75
Electronic Carrier Usage Charge – All fares booked through Allegiant’s website or call center are charged an electronic usage charge per passenger, per segment. – $10 – $14.99
Traveling with children
As with all airlines, children may fly free as a lap child until their second birthday. After that they must have a purchased ticket and a seat to fly in. Most airlines, including Allegiant Air will allow you to gate check a stroller and/or a car seat for free. I was able to gate check my stroller and check my car seat for free when I checked in. Allegiant Air does NOT offer family pre boarding. If you wish to board before others you must purchase priority boarding when booking your flight. This will run you an extra $5 per person per flight.
My personal Allegiant Air experience
I’ve flown Allegiant Air for one round trip so far, and honestly, have not been impressed. I went to visit my parents in Orlando, Fl from Appleton, WI. We were initially drawn to Allegiant Air with the low fares they were offering for one way trips. Thinking the whole trip was going to cost about $200 it was a no brainer to go with Allegiant. It wasn’t till we finished booking that my $200 trip ended up costing upwards of $400. With my ticket, Priority boarding fee, (which was a necessity traveling with 2 young kids) my carry-on bag fees of $10 x 2 plus my checked bag fee of $35 x 2 (you have to pay the bag fees for each way) it started to no longer be such a deal.
It clearly states when booking your flight that you MUST check in no later than 1.5 hours before your flight is set to depart. Allegiant does not have a concierge staff to man their check in so they use flight attendants to do so. This means those same people will be on the flight with you and won’t have time to wait around for late check ins. In fact, when I got to the airport for my flight, I was exactly an 1.5 hr early and when I went to check in, ironically there was no one to be seen. Not one person even showed up until about 25 – 30 min after I’d been sitting there waiting.
From the get go I was not impressed with Allegiant’s choice in employees. I was clearly waiting at the ticket area, hoping to be helped when a man walked right by, ignored me and didn’t even ask if I needed help. Again, this happened with a woman who decided it wasn’t time for me yet, until 10 minutes later when she decided to man the desk and ask for my ID and flight info. The check in staff was snotty and seemed to have attitudes as if they didn’t have time for this sort of thing.
After finally being checked in, getting past airport security, and waiting for the plane to arrive, we were announced for priority boarding. We were able to board before regular passengers but after the handicapped. I’d say it’s definitely worth paying the extra money for, especially flying with kids. It gives you just a bit of extra time to gate check anything and get settled without feeling rushed. The plane itself was nice. Our flight to Orlando was on a mid-size plane with 2 seats on one side and 3 on the other. In flight snacks and drinks are NOT complimentary, so if you get thirsty be sure to have your credit card handy. They do offer snacks, meal packs, drinks and alcohol for purchase. I suggest picking up snacks in the airport since, it’ll be a bit cheaper.
The flight attendants were the same stuffy people from the check in counter so we didn’t receive any over the top service. The flight was smooth though and the captain kept us alert as to our time and the weather. After landing I went to pick up my stroller at the gate check. I was extremely unhappy to see that the crew apparently must have had issues putting the small canopy down on my umbrella stroller, since it had been ripped off on one side and is now totally unusable. There was no one available for me to complain to and having my two young kids with me, I was in no shape or mood to seek someone out.
Luckily my return flight went a bit smoother. Nothing else had been broken off my stroller and my luggage ended up back in my hands. Needless to say I most likely will not be flying Allegiant Air again anytime soon. If you choose to fly with them, be sure you are aware of what you’ll be needing to pay for and do it before you get to the airport. The optional fees really increase when they are purchased last minute.
Good luck and safe travels!
I was in no way compensated for this article. It’s simply my own, experience traveling via this airline.