Allegiant Air / buyer beware the super-low fare - disgust awaits you!
I too am disgusted. Please, do yourself the favor of reading the whole post, and ask if you'd decide to purchase a fare knowing I've been delayed and disgusted by a variety of circumstances. Occasionally my flights have gone as planned, but more often not.
Initially very pleased this airline opened up a direct flight for my weekly commute, Tampa to Springfield, MO and back, a 2 hr route which makes door to door about 5.5, comparing to 8 - 10 hrs by several variety of other connecting or direct plus rental car routes available to me via US Air, USA 3000 or Southwest, (or any other airline flying TPA to XNA or STL, I bought the cheap tickets. 5 of 8 flights were late by two hours or more. I now compare at 7.5-10 hrs with savings in hand, but schedule and plans blown.
Here is a typical example. I could not make this up.
The week before Thanksgiving, as we awaited our plane, the passengers bound from Tampa to Rockford IL were boarded on ours. No wait, the week before Thanksgiving the arriving plane was three hours late then I flew direct. Sorry it's hard to keep track of the delays.
I'm talking about the weekend after Thanksgiving. Rockford passengers were boarded from the adjacent gate, then directed once on the Tarmac to our aircraft, outside our gate, instead of the ones outside theirs. I double checked to make sure theres was there. Then we boarded. We, too boarded the aircraft outside our gate. We all flew to Rockford. We knew something was up but were only advised once we were on the plane that our flights were combined, and our destination was second. Result, four hours late on arrival, roughly. So much for saving time, it still took over 9 hrs to get home. But I obviously was not the only dissappointed passenger.
Once in Rockford, those waiting in Rockford to go to Tampa were also boarded, and they were carted with us to Springfield. So they were late too, probably by about three hours. Arriving in Springfield, obviously there was a large crowd of disgusted and late passengers there as well, now looking forward to what had originally been a 9:30 arrival back in Tampa, but had to have been more like 1:00 AM. Anyone planning on renting a car that night would probably have needed a cab instead, due to an after midnight arrival at a small destination (Tampa flights are really St Pete) a nice bonus shocker and obviously a hit to the savings on the fare.
I did not mention the stated reason for the passenger transfer / combination routine. Apparently the plane bound for Rockford had trouble with the de-icing equipment. Not good when flying into an ice storm. However, upon further reflection, and doing some easy math, isn't it convenient that there were more than enough seats available on each route in each direction to combine the passengers bound Tampa-Rockford with the ones bound Tampa-Springfield, then combine Rockford-Tampa with Tampa-Springfield, then again Rockford-Tampa with Springfield-Tampa? Imagine all these things being possible. Seems like an awfully unlikely coincidence that all three of these things were possible. Sounds more like a suitable excuse was made, in this case, sorry folks no de-icing equipment is working for our flight into known icing conditions - who wants to fly on that, was made to combine four undersold routes - carpooling, into three, and ripping all of us off of the convenience we thought we had purchased for the two hour direct flight.
After booking over 13 fares this year, I called them to advise my wife and kids who were planning on staying with me in Tampa overnight last weekend decided to abort the hour drive to the Springfield airport through a ice and snow storm. It just was not safe. Since this happened hours before the flight we automatically forfieted those fares via the 24 hour rule. The others were cancelled for a $50 per each fee, and I recieve a travel voucher for the remaining funds, or $88 of an original $578 round trip fare for three. Having booked a waterside hotel and obtained box seats for a hockey game and four tickets to the Bucaneers-Falcons game in sunny warm Florida, the following day, everyone was looking forward to a good time anywhere but there in Popsicle, MO, but it wasn't worth the risk of my wife driving close to 90 minutes through the blowing snow.
When I called to make the cancellation, after waiting about 30 minutes on hold, the agent who arranged my cancellation seemed neither interested that I had flown this route nearly every week since it opened, nor that I had put up with my share of disappointments on their part, nor that I was understandably upset in losing nearly $500 of what I paid, for nothing. To be honest, I would have to say I sensed some satisfaction in her voice as she interrupted me to read the regulations to me right over my protests.
I fly almost every weekend and am platinum with US Airways and have extra trips saved on Southwest. If I were to call either of them with a change, and I have, I know how I would be treated. They would accommodate me if possible, and due to my frequency of travel, they would waive the fee. They would call me sir, and say thank you.
I've read several of the other complaints, and I too, have received the free cup of soda. The full can is still $2 should you need a full can after a three hour delay. I've also received cake for my troubles.
I've also been on the plane with the flaking paint, and I've probably flown unknowingly on the one with the broken de-icing equipment. Finally, all of them have an intercom so loud that it pierces your ears. Just try to take a nap if you can't stand suffering through what has already happened to you.
Finally, you may be lucky enough, as I almost always am, to be served by two stewards whom I've nicknamed (when I convey these tales to my wife) "The artist formerly known as Prince", and "Flock of Seagulls"! If you know what I mean, and I think you do! Those of you living comfortably and by choice in Key West, San Francisco, and West LA, you're in for a treat as you'll very much enjoy being served by these two striking and flamboyantly personable flight attendants. As for me, whatever. They can push a cart with the best of them, so they may be hired, but gentlemen prefer... never mind.
Shaky and unreliable schedules, shoddy looking aircraft, seemingly minor "squawks" like dim or stuck overhead lights, unkempt, inexperienced, and inadequate staff (wait until you get to baggage claim - another 30 minutes of waiting), rude customer service agents to respond to all of this if you hold long enough.... the list goes on. Everything you hope not to happen to you during your travels happens to you more often than not on this carrier. Will I do it again? Probably but I'll hate every second of it and at least I'll know what I'm up against from here on out. Nothing a few beers and a couple Tylenol PMs can't put my mind at rest of once I board their stinking plane.
Buyer Beware! Big Time! If your plans and schedule allow, spend your hard earned money on something you can count on, and get value, quality service, and clean, reliable airplanes, not empty promises, delays, broken planes, crappy service, and a free cup of soda. And don't bother to call to complain. After waiting thirty minutes on hold, you'll get shafted anyway. Enter the deal knowing your money and satisfaction are both at risk, and you'll consider yourself lucky if things actually go as well as planned.
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