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?