Should you consider flying Allegiant Air to Hawaii?

Should you fly with Allegiant Air?The price of airfare can be one of the biggest expenses for a Hawaii vacation. Allegiant Air is known to be an airline that offers cheap fares, but should you book with them?

Here today, gone tomorrow?

Last April, we shared the announcement of Allegiant Air providing service to Hawaii. Allegiant initially began offering flights to Honolulu in June 2012 with two cities — Las Vegas and Fresno. Since then, they expanded to offer flights from several more cities plus added a flight to Maui.

Now, they’re planning to “temporarily” cease service from seven of nine mainland cities — Boise, Eugene (Oregon), Phoenix, Spokane, Fresno, Stockton (California) and Santa Maria (California) per the Star Advertiser. That will only leave Bellingham, Washington and Las Vegas, Nevada with ongoing Allegiant service to Hawaii.

Beginning August 14, Allegiant will go on “seasonal hiatus” from the affected cities. They hinted that they may return service around the December holiday season and again in summer 2014.

Does Allegiant’s cheap fares really save money?

Allegiant is known for their low fares, but do you really end up saving? One FlyerTalk member shared that a friend initially bragged about getting a $300 roundtrip fare on Allegiant from Boise to Honolulu. Unfortunately that $300 fare ended up costing almost $500 per person with all the a la carte fees — such as a fee to choose a seat, a fee for sodas and a fee for both checked and carry-on luggage.

Quality of service?

In March, Allegiant stranded more than 1,700 passengers traveling between the mainland and Honolulu for as many as two days due to mechanical issues. One flight was delayed over 50 hours. Inconvenienced passengers were provided hotel rooms, meal vouchers and discounts of $50 to $200 off future flights. (Source)

Transport Workers Union members at Allegiant expressed concern over this delay situation. Allegiant flight attendants placed an advertisement in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “our airline can do better” per this article. In addition, a TWU representative said,

Not only is Allegiant said to nickel-and-dime customers with additional fees, but it also strands them on their vacations for several days. How much more can passengers take? Allegiant flight attendants believe the company can do better for its customers and employees.

The March incident was extreme, but that wasn’t the only time Allegiant Air upset passengers between Hawaii and mainland routes in the short time that the airline has been providing service. In November 2012, hundreds of passengers were inconvenienced due to mechanical issues — to the tune of 19-hour and 26-hour delays. You can read about that incident along with passenger complaints in this article.

As I was gathering information for this post, I couldn’t help but notice a slew of negative comments from passengers who had flown with Allegiant. One commenter, Hendo, shared this comment on this Star Advertiser article,

I flew on Allegiant twice before. Both times, the airplane had engine problems and our flights were delayed. One time the air conditioning was broken and the flight attendant took care of that by using a magazine to fan passengers as she walked up and down the aisle.

To be fair, no airline is perfect. However, in the nearly seven years we’ve been covering Hawaii travel, we have never heard of such frequency of extreme mechanical delays as has been reported with Allegiant.

So, what do you think? Would you fly with Allegiant to Hawaii?

  1. Not in a million years. Have heard too many stories similar to these, Sheila. They fly from our little local airport to Vegas, LAX, and PHX/Mesa. I just don’t think it’s worth the risk.

    1. Thanks for weighing in Matt. I’m starting to think there’s a correlation between the demand for their flights and their flagging reputation. In theory, shouldn’t there be a bigger demand for the cheapest flights?

  2. I fly Allegiant Air from Grand Junction (my “local” airport) to Las Vegas all the time – I’ve never had a real problem, a few delays but nothing crazy. It’s also only a 50 minute flight – so that helps – you can stand just about anything for less than an hour.

    That being said, they do nickle and dime you. And I’m not sure I’m comfortable flying over that much water on a nickle-and-dimer airline 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Carrie. Yeah, a 50 minute flight makes a lot of things tolerable. 🙂

  3. I have flown Allegiant on the East Coast and consider them a “regional” provider at best. Having vacationed in Hawaii annually since 2008, we have tried a lot of different options and airlines. I am firmly behind Hawaiian. I have found their planes to be larger and on time. We fly west, layover and then fly direct with them. They serve a variety of west coast airports and offer discounts on their island hopping tickets. We always arrive refreshed this way and not worn out after 17 hours of travel to reach our vacation destination.

  4. I am fly Allegiant today to Arizona. I know all airlines have their problems but I will be honest I am a bit nervous from all the horror stories I have heard since Allegiant seems to have tons.
    I have seen the great deals to Hawaii on Allegiant but I decided to try this short flight before taking the plunge and going to Hawaii with them.

      1. Well I guess I can say I survived. We were delayed about an hour each way. And I will be honest the planes were super old and seemed to struggle on takeoff but they did make it. I guess I would take Allegiant as long as I knew I didn’t have to be somewhere on time and probably not to Hawaii.

  5. I have flew Allegiant before with no problems, but they were shorter flights. I did know about the extra fees and when you think about it, there really does seem to be an effort to lure you in with what appear to be low fares. Going to Hawaii in the summer and will be very careful which airline I choose, I didn’t realize they had such a bad reputation.

  6. My family, a party of 6, were some of the many passengers delayed in Honolulu in March. We feel they dealt with the issue rather well..after all they had had a week to practice. We were given meal vouchers and told of travel credits (yet to materialize). However; in retrospect I have decided I am not a discount traveler; seats that don’t recline, no movies, no free water or coffee service, pay per seat and per bag – it’s just too much or maybe not it’s not enough.

    If we had stayed in Honolulu the $299RT price would have been an awesome deal. However; our overnight hotels in HNL on arrival and departure as we traveled to The Big Island brought up the cost. The final insult was landing in Bellingham at midnight after getting up at 4am and having no where to go but another hotel. We could have flown direct right from Victoria for the same price or less and our travel would have been 8 hours and not 2 days over and 2 days back. If my vouchers show up I might go to Vegas, but I will NEVER fly anywhere else and I freely share my story as much as I shared my initial excitement over my “deal”

  7. I’ve read all the previous review about allegiantair. It does not give me and my family any easy feeling. I flew allegiant air before but didn’t come across any delayed or issue. Of course it was just from Fresno to Vegas. I just booked a vacation to Oahu for July 2015. Hopefully all the issues are no longer there. All, the reviews are dated few years ago. Does anyone out there encounter any recent issue then i appreciate an input.

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