As I boarded the plane to Omaha last week, I was reminded of former Utah Senator, Mo Udall’s opening line of a speech given at Western Carolina University in 1977. He started by saying that he wanted to come to Cullowhee in the worst way…so he flew Piedmont. Piedmont was a regional airline serving Western North Carolina and the butt of many jokes.
However, after flying Allegiant Airlines, I think Mo would have considered Piedmont a luxury airline.
We flew Allegiant because the flight was half the price of one of the major airlines. It was a good way to make a quick trip for a relatively low price. However, upon reserving our tickets, I found Allegiant charges for EVERYTHING.
Paying for checked luggage was no surprise, but there is also an $18 fee for carry on bags (that’s $18 each way).
There’s a charge for priority boarding and another for selecting a seat on the plane, and not just a seat with perks like extra leg room but any seat…with the warning that seats will be assigned without regard to those traveling together. (I decided to take my chance on this one.)
Failure to check in prior to arrival at the airport would result in another $5 fee if a boarding pass needed to be printed at the airport kiosk.
All food and beverages incur charges, including water.
It even cost extra to pay for the tickets using a credit card. Another excuse for a $10 fee.
Upon boarding I wondered if we were required to pay for air conditioning since the plane was extremely warm and stuffy.
Of course, the lack of leg room was expected. After all, we were on a plane, but the noise not only surprised me, but frightened me. I can only compare the sound in the plane to that of the roar heard inside the cockpit of bombers seen in movies. You know, the ones where the crew is forced to shout at one another to be heard. I’ve never noticed hearing the sound of engines accelerating and decelerating will in flight and the noises heard when preparing to land was quite unexpected. I wondered if the low fares were really worth it.
I can honestly say that the pilot and crew were wonderful on the way to Omaha. They helped inspire confidence in a plane that left a lot to be desired. I even thought I could look for future Allegiant deals.
However, the return trip made me rethink that decision. Starting with an early morning wake up call about a delayed flight, an apology about the delay that involved a story about the need to replace the crew due to FAA required rest times, and then interacting with a surly flight attendant whose response to questions always involved the words, you can pay for that and do you want to see the company policy?
Finally when I returned home, I received a message from Emily letting me know she was so glad we were still alive and included this news report:
I’ll think long and hard about another Allegiant flight, but at least I know what to do if I want to get somewhere in the worst way!