Allegiant Air Offers Low Fares with a Price

September 4, 2013 by

Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air is a tiny airline that has found a way to profit on routes other airlines couldn’t make work. In June, 2013 they started flying between Asheville, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., a route dumped by AirTran after Southwest Airlines acquired it.

Allegiant focuses on a niche market. They only fly from small cities to sunny destinations and they do it with lower fares.

Allegiant Flight

How They Make Their Money

Allegiant has been profitable for 10 straight years. While you get a lower fare and non-stop flights, Allegiant aggressively pitches hotels, rental cars, show tickets, and other entertainment to their passengers and it earns them millions in commissions.

Passengers also pay for just about every service and amenity you can think of. Allegiant charges for checked baggage and changing an itinerary, which is nothing unusual these days, but they also charge to book online, or to use a credit card.

Requesting a specific seat in advance costs $5-$75 each way depending on the length of the flight. Passengers also pay $2 for a bottle of water. And if you have a question, the airline doesn’t have a toll free number.

Allegiant also saves by avoiding substantial aircraft loans by purchasing older planes. It’s seats don’t recline, they don’t have TVs in every seat, and they pack in as many passengers as they can. While this doesn’t sound glamorous or even comfortable, small town Americans overlook the inconveniences to get to their sunny destination.

Last year 7 million passengers flew Allegiant and the airline earned $11.22 each way from those passengers, while the rest of the industry earned an average of 37 cents each way.

Allegiant pays their employees less, pays cash for their planes and they only sell directly to vacationers. They don’t “play” on Expedia, Orbitz or other sites. Yet, for small town Americans looking to get away to a sunny destination like Honolulu, Maui, Vegas, Phoenix or others, it’s the way to fly.

Photo credits: Aero Icarus, Little Flight Photography

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