Flying on a Bargain Airline Means You Get A Seat and a Destination.
The only free drink you will get on Allegiant
Bargain Airlines, Bargain Service
Over the weekend I took a trip up to Helena, Montana on an airline I had never flown with before, Allegiant Airlines. I'm like anybody else, I look for the best fares and when I saw the one Allegiant was offering, I jumped at it. The one-way fare to Great Falls, Montana was $19.00 and I couldn't believe such a low fare could get me across the country since that's less than it would cost me to fill my car's tank. However, the fees started to add up right away.
When you book with Allegiant online, it is cheaper than calling because they add on a $14.00/person charge if you book with a human being. I elected to do my ticket online. Their website is horrible, very confusing and tries to sneak in extra charges like "priority boarding" and insurance. I elected to take neither. Allegiant adds on a mystery fee at the end of your booking, some kind of "usage" fee and that runs about $11.99. My return ticket was $59. When I ended up paying for two seats with no seat selection, no checked bags, no additional charges, it went up to $300 for two travelers. You can't even see what the ticket will cost you until you enter passenger information. I informed my daughter we would be traveling lightly...I was not about to pay $35/bag to bring a carry-on!
At the airport counter, the staff at Allegiant is very particular about carry-on size, and if it is bigger than their allotted dimensions, you have to pay to bring it on the plane. Fortunately, our bags were qualified as approved. The gentleman at the counter was the Floor Supervisor, but he was unorganized and very confused. We were a total party of four and he couldn't understand that we didn't have to have all four seats together as long as we had 2 groups of two. If he is the boss there, Allegiant is in trouble.
We boarded the plane and were surprised that they allowed my niece and me to board early because our bags went under our seats and not in the overhead compartment. My sister got to wait with my daughter. When we got to our seats, they were bulkheads and had no underseat storage, so we had to put our stuff in the overhead compartment 11 rows behind us. That meant, when we got off, we would have to wait for everyone else to leave so we could go back and retrieve our belongings. What a dumb idea...but I kept telling myself the price was right.
Much to our amusement and surprise, the flight attendant made an announcement while everyone was getting settled. "We need 10 volunteers to move to the back of the plane to even out the weight of the baggage." Never in my life, in countless thousands of airlines miles, have I ever heard an airline ask for people to move to the back of the plane. Isn't that sort of the job of the baggage manager? Strangely enough, people got up and volunteered. I thought maybe they would offer a free drink or something, but on Allegiant, nothing comes free. The plane was not very full so I am really not sure why this happened, but we took off and started our journey to Montana.
As the drink service started I looked at the menu of available options since after previously flying on Spirit Airlines the running joke between my sister and me was that they offered Cup O'Noodles on-board. Whatever happened to nice airline travel? Anyhow, the flight attendant came to me and asked what I wanted, so I said, " Just a cup of water please." The very nice flight attendant informed me that I would have to pay for water. I told her I didn't want bottled water, I just wanted some water because my throat was dry, but she advised me that at Allegiant, water is NOT free. However, I could have a cup of ice...that was free. With Allegiant, what you see is what you get...and ice is free. So I chomped on my ice and made a mental note to write about this.
We got to Great Falls ten minutes early. I have no complaints about the trip and I did not use the bathroom because I figured I would have to pay for a flush and a paper towel. I am not cheap, not at all. I just do not understand why an airline charges for baggage when they have the space, why they charge to pick a seat when the seats are there to begin with, and why they would charge for a cup of water. The seats are small and the legroom is pretty bad for a person 5'10" or taller. The least they could do is make a customer comfortable. This airline doesn't even provide a Skymall Magazine or an Allegiant periodical, just some advertising thing for Las Vegas shows. (Allegiant is based in Las Vegas)
Would I recommend Allegiant to anyone...Yes...BUT...I would tell them to compare the costs for using the overhead storage, checking bags, and beverages before actually paying for a ticket. The airline meets our needs for a cheap and quick way to Montana, but compared to airlines like Southwest, Allegiant is the Grayhound of the skies.