Allegiant Details LAX Plans

Despite all the skepticism around my initial post, Allegiant Allegiant Coming to LAXdid, in fact, announce this week that it’s coming to LAX and not any of the other surrounding airports. Glad to see that my source is as reliable as I thought. It’s definitely some new territory for the airline, and I imagine that they’ll do very well here, or shall I say they’ll do very well bringing people here. Let’s get the details out here for all those frozen Midwesterners who want a little sun and sand (today’s weather: 71 and partly cloudy).

Allegiant is a very simple operation. They will be basing two aircraft here at LAX and those planes will usually each do a morning roundtrip to some far flung destination followed by a second roundtrip in the afternoon every day of the week. That’s right. They’ll serve twelve destinations from LAX with only two airplanes, but that’s normal for these guys.

Allegiant doesn’t try for business traffic. They just want to bring leisure travelers to a destination, and in this case that destination is Southern California. It’s cheap (some flights for as low as $39 each way), but you have to fly on their terms. Make sure you pay attention to all the extra fees – almost nobody escapes without paying more – but it’s still a really good deal overall. Each destination will be served only two or three times per week. Here’s the rollout schedule:

Starting:
May 1 – Grand Junction (Colorado) on Monday/Friday
May 1 – Medford (Oregon) on Monday/Friday
May 2 – Bellingham (Washington – near the Canadian border) on Monday/Wednesday/Saturday
May 2 – Missoula (Montana) on Wednesday/Saturday
May 3 – Monterey (California) on Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday
May 3 – Springfield/Branson (Missouri) on Thursday/Sunday
May 22 – Billings (Montana) on Tuesday/Friday
May 23 – Fargo (North Dakota) on Tuesday/Saturday
May 23 – Sioux Falls (South Dakota) on Wednesday/Saturday
May 23 – Wichita (Kansas) on Wednesday/Saturday
May 24 – Des Moines (Iowa) on Thursday/Sunday
May 24 – McAllen (Texas) on Thursday/Sunday

It will be very interesting to see how United/American/Alaska react to direct competition on routes they fly nonstop. Scratch that – there really isn’t much competition here, but will it be perceived that way? Those United and American flights from Monterey to LAX are there mostly to feed other flights and not for local traffic. This thrice weekly flight on Allegiant really won’t take much traffic from the existing airlines but rather stimulate new traffic. It’s a little different in Medford where Horizon gets local traffic, but it still won’t be much competition with only two flights a week. Of course, Alaska (Horizon’s parent) has shown that it is all for strong reactions when threatened lately (right, Virgin America?), so there’s no guarantee they will ignore this either.

Another interesting thing is what you find when you pick through the schedules to look for holes. When a plane goes to Monterey on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, it looked like it was sitting on the ground for more than four hours. A little more digging shows that Allegiant is squeezing in a roundtrip down to San Diego from Monterey before it comes back to LAX again. Same thing goes for flights to Grand Junction, but from there the plane is just going back to Vegas, probably so they can swap aircraft through the system.

Also, one of the airplanes has a gaping hole on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons. The plane arrives back at LAX at 140p on Monday, 235p on Tuesday, 355p on Wednesday, and 135p on Friday and does nothing else for the rest of the day. Something tells me they could launch another route or two in the not-too-distant future. There’s no reason for that plane to sit idle.

One more thing. If you’re trying to put the schedules together yourselves, you may have a little trouble until you realize that the Wednesday and Saturday flights to Bellingham are actually flown by an airplane based in Bellingham and not one of the LAX planes. That’s how they can squeeze out an extra morning flight on those days.

Allegiant will use Terminal 6 at LAX, and they won’t need a ton of space. In fact, the flights are scattered so that this entire thing can be operated from only one gate. So, welcome to LAX, Allegiant. We look forward to seeing you bring many pasty white Midwesterners here to spend money and help us out of our budget hole.


25 Responses to Allegiant Details LAX Plans

  1. Voyager0927 says:

    Cranky,

    The junk fees that Allegiant tacks on might be worthy of their own post sometime soon. The one that gets my goat is the $13.50 convenience fee for booking on the website. Most other airlines tack on a surcharge for the time-consuming, expensive process of issuing a ticket in person at the airport. Allegiant seems to have taken a page out of Ticketmaster’s book by charging passengers for the right to book their ticket from the comfort of their own home, even though online transactions can be consummated at a fraction of the cost of in-person sales. If customers want to avoid this fee by visiting the ticket counters at one of Allegiant’s out-of-the-way airports, during the limited hours that their ticket counter is actually open, the airline is telling you to go right ahead. DirectAir uses the same dirty trick, as do several European airlines.

  2. james says:

    Didn’t Spirit do that “web booking fee” for about 10 minutes and retracted it?

    I’ve seen some good deals on Allegiant, and they fly from Fort Collins, (where you can practically park your car in front of the plane,) down to Las Vegas, but I always worry about the contingency factor of only having one plane available -per airport, per there times a week or whatever.

    I’m not a business traveler, but when I travel for pleasure it’s often during weekends or I rely on flying home Monday morning and going straight to work. I prefer an airline with a few flights a day to my destination, or if limited flights at least the resources to get me from A to B with the least possible delays.

    So when a plane needs maintenance in Bellingham or Fort Collins, with not even another airline serving the city, am I correct in that the passengers simply have to wait another day or two, or three, for another plane?

    At LAX I would assume they can work with airlines to route their passengers efficiently (right?) but it seems that any small problem would really plug up their system.

    It’s reason enough for me to avoid them, or am I just creating a problem that isn’t there?

  3. Ron says:

    Voyager,

    The convenience fee is a great example of value-based rather than cost-based pricing. At least it’s understandable when coming from a for-profit corporation. I find this behavior less justified, say, when the City of Long Beach charges a convenience fee for online bill payment even though it should be cheaper for them than processing checks.

    As for avoiding fees by going to an airport, United once wanted me to pick up an infant paper ticket (LHR-IAD) in person at LHR, but it had to be done before the day of the flight — a 1:40 hour drive each way under the most favourable conditions (not even counting parking at LHR). The alternative was to have it express mailed for an outrageous fee (still cheaper than driving or taking the train to LHR, though). When the ticket arrived a week later, it turned out it was mailed from Poland!

  4. CF says:

    Voyager – That web convenience fee drives me nuts, but as Ron says, it’s mostly valued-based pricing. Do you really want to drive to the airport and buy your ticket whenever Allegiant happens to have an agent staffing the counter? Probably not. So they know people will buy the convenience of booking online. Personally, I hate it, but I see why they do it. Besides, there isn’t actually much of an increased cost to Allegiant to book at the airport. I’m sure you can only do it when an agent is already there working a flight. So if they can process a ticket while they’re there, then more power to them.

    James – There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t fly Allegiant and that’s why most airlines have left them alone. They fly so infrequently that yes, a broken plane could cause problems. It’s like Priceline. If you have a certain time you need to be somewhere, you can’t use Priceline’s Name Your Own Price service. But if you’re flexible and cost matters, you should use them.

  5. Potcake says:

    My in-laws loved flying Allegiant from Ft. Wayne to Phoenix- Mesa Gateway. No bothersome plane changes in big, confusing hubs. I loved picking them up at an airport that lets you park within yards of the door for free. That all ended when fuel went thru the roof and Allegiant quit flights across the Mississippi. I wonder if the size of LAX will be an issue for the infrequent flier from a small community as opposed to flying into BUR, LGB, ONT or SNA.

    Also, what does Allegiant do if a plane goes mechanical– with such a tight schedule, small fleet and high loads do they simply cancel and refund? I could see this as a real mess for travelers in out of the way airports without other regularly scheduled service, altho it should be a lot less of an issue at LAX.

  6. Allen says:

    I’m with James on the issues that can come up with weather or problems with the plane. Direct flights on heavily traveled routes help to mitigate that. But if you’re in Fargo or Grand Junction, needing to fly to MSP, SLC or DEN to make a connection to get to Phoenix or LAX does add some risk to the equation. There’s always that chance you get MSP before getting stuck because of a storm and find yourself spending the night. It does give one more options in those situations but taking the direct flight also mitigates the risk.

    I’d be curious if airlines still drop flights on some of those routes with lots of flights. Awhile back it seemed like some of those closely timed flights would always just happen to have a mechanical problem or something when they weren’t too full and there was another flight in another 30 minutes or an hour. Like you might be flying the 2:30 flight on NWA from MSP to DTW and it gets delayed and before you know it they’re offering to fly you out on the 3:05 flight instead of waiting for that announced mechanical problem to be fixed. That is, the load was low so they cancel the flight without being blunt about it to pack you onto the next flight. Just curious if people notice that still going on.

  7. CF says:

    Allen – I know everyone thinks that airlines cancel flights because they’re empty, but that’s an ultra-rare occasion. If a plane breaks down, sure, that airline might take a plane scheduled on a route that has another flight coming soon so as to inconvenience people less, but if all planes are operating, I’ve never seen them just cancel a flight because it’s empty.

  8. Oliver says:

    If they cancelled a flight because of low load, what would they do at the destination airport? The aircraft isn’t just going there and hanging around, it is scheduled to pick up passengers and take them somewhere. In other words, they’d either need to cancel that flight to or find a different aircraft for it. That quick turns into a snowball effect, especially if the aircraft isn’t scheduled to do shuttle-like round-trips between to points.

  9. CZBB says:

    >>So when a plane needs maintenance in Bellingham or Fort Collins, with not
    >>even another airline serving the city, am I correct in that the passengers >>simply have to wait another day or two, or three, for another plane?

    I don’t know about Fort Collins, but for BLI is a G4 base with staff, maintenance, and I think 2 planes based there. Also BLI is served by QX(Horizon for Alaska Air).

  10. I wonder if they have any slack system wide to cover the Irrops? I’d assume given maintenance requirements there is one plane out of service at any given time, so they’d have the possibility of using that. And if push comes to shove they can add a third round trip using one of the existing planes, and people will just be really late…

  11. CF says:

    There’s no question that an irregular op means there will be a significant delay. They definitely have slack in the system – their utilization is very low overall – but it would still take time to get that plane out to the destination to pick people up.

  12. c says:

    “Those United and American flights from Monterey to LAX are there mostly to feed other flights and not for local traffic.”

    you can say that again. I once tried to book a return flight one month in advance on united and got quoted $880 for coach online. ouch! they could not have made it clearer they really did not want my business if they had sent me a dead rodent in the mail.

  13. David SF east bay says:

    I was wondering where Allegiant was getting planes for new service until I read today that they have 39 aircraft with four more due this year from Norwegian airlines of Sweden. It’s nice to see and airline these days getting more aircraft to expand instead of grounding aircraft to decrease in size.

  14. jd says:

    A. Alot of new functions on the website are really great and new but alot of increasing amounts of callers are very angry about the fact that seats were automatically assigned along with trip flex and the options for not selecting seats or adding the travel protection are not and were not clear and obvious possibilities for them thus making them have to call in and then have us removed and have lead refund. Second part of this would be when credit cards are declined the are told to call us at reservations line instead of the financial institution. They get so angry of being told to make a toll call to our line in order to be told to call the bank.

    B The increasing amount of web errors and duplicated bookings due to error messages that passengers experience when they are told the session has expired and page is lost when indeed it has been booked, They rebook and then have to wait on hold to cancel a duplicated booking that takes forever over the phone due to again, having to cancel one of the duplicated or sometimes triplicate booking and get a lead to refund.

    please keep in mind that you may be not saving money in the long run. It is a bait and switch airline that misleads its passengers big time by making it very hard to manuver the website without getting anything extra on you which is another reason why they are so profitable.

    mainly please please please remember or google the name Maury Gallagher and ValueJet. They are the airline that crashed in the everglades in florida and he owned them and sold them very shortly (about 2 to 3 months prior to the crash) You could be risking alot more than money flying on these (yes paid for ) but very older planes that McDonnell Douglas ( remeber the DC10 dropping out of the sky when they got too old?>>> made back when they were in business. This is a business and they are all in it for the money, not any kind of values. The reason why I can say this is because I worked there for over 2 years and I have seen the greed, behind the scenes maintenance reports and the real reasons why they are not making all the schedules on time and trust me its not always weather. Oh the planes they are getting are the old ones airlines felt were too old to fly btw FLYER BE VERY AWARE>

  15. CF says:

    jd – You might want to double check the facts on some of the accusations you’re making here.

    *Yes, Gallagher was associated with Valujet, and they did have safety problems. But the crash in the Everglades was due to oxygen canisters that were loaded by contractors. Regardless, this doesn’t mean that Allegiant is unsafe.

    *I’m not sure what DC-10 you’re talking about that dropped out of the sky because it was too old. Please give a citation or retract your statement.

    *Yes, many of Allegiant’s aircraft are older, but that does not make them unsafe. Northwest currently flies DC-9s that are twice the age of Allegiant’s related MD-80s. Douglas built planes that could fly for ages. But not all of the planes are that old. Many of the planes were built in the 1990s and some in the late 90s.

  16. Sarah says:

    Funny how the same posts from terminated Allegiant Call Center employees keep turning up on different sites…..about Maury and Value Jet etc. How the planes are unsafe…yawn!
    Get over it guys(and girls) and move on…..

  17. Ron says:

    Cranky, do you know what Allegiant planes might be doing at LGB? I’ve seen one land last Sunday (April 19) at 17:47, and another about a week before at roughly the same time (on a weekday). Would they be charters? I thought Allegiant didn’t do many charters.

    I just had the pleasure of booking my first ever Allegiant flight, leaving LAX to XNA at the end of May. The web site is extremely annoying, not only do they check the extras by default but they also make it difficult to remove them. For example, there’s no button to removed a pre-assigned seat — I was looking all over the place and finally clicked on the “change seat” button as an experiment, just when my wife (looking over my shoulder) noticed a line saying something to the effect that in order to remove seats you need to change them first; indeed, clicking on the “change” button replaced it with a “remove” button. Talk about discoverability — it seems like the designers have read Jakob Nielsen’s web usability reports and intentionally worked against the recommendations.

    Also, the web site says that for unassigned seats they make an effort to keep families together, but apparently their pre-assigned algorithm is not concerned with this: it put me in one place, my wife together with the older child in a separate row, and our 3-year-old in a different place altogether (they did have the age information by this point). Good thing I figured out how to remove the seat assignments :-)

    But why am I complaining — $426 round-trip for 4 people, including taxes and fees and one checked bag, is about 1/3 of the price I could get on any other airline. And while XNA is about 3 hours from our final destination (compared to 2 hours from LIT), this is as far as I know the only non-stop flight from L.A. to anywhere in Arkansas. Even if it’s delayed, it should be better than the 5-hour wait for a connecting flight in last year’s trip (rainstorm in IAH).

    Two final questions about Allegiant: 1. Why do their prices fluctuate so much? On Monday it was $49, Thursday it was $129, and Friday it was $29. I find it hard to believe it’s individual seat availability, because the same prices were showing for all the outgoing legs from LAX to XNA in late May and early June.

    2. Any idea why my flight doesn’t appear on OAG? At least I can’t see it through the LAX portal.

  18. CF says:

    Ron – Yep, those are charters so they fall outside of the slot limits at the airport. Allegiant actually does a ton of charter work for the casinos, and these are always Harrah’s gigs over to Laughlin.

    As for price fluctuation, I don’t know for sure. They could just be putting in short term sales and taking them out. This is a new market for them, so there could be some experimentation going on. Please let us know how the trip goes!

  19. Ron says:

    Sure, I’ll send a report after the trip. In the meantime, another web site foolishness I encountered while planning for this trip: I just reserved a car at XNA on http://www.enterprise.com, but the web site only allowed me to reserve 1 child car seat, while I need 2. This was corrected with a phone call immediately after I made the reservation, wasting everybody’s time. But I can understand the enterprise web site, after all it’s probably not worth the coding effort to put in options to support families traveling with 2 children, as this is such a rare occurrence.

    Incidentally, the reason I’m reserving car seats in the first place is that I believe that Allegiant charges for them (as opposed to legacy airlines, which kept these free when they started charging for bags). Allegiant’s web site is somewhat vague on the matter, but I assume that in this case vague means $$$, which means it’s more cost effective to rent the car seats than to lug them.

  20. Shanna says:

    Haha! Love the blog! I found this while searching to find out what Terminal Allegiant will be using at LAX. I love the “pastey white Midwesterners.” I’m loving this deal so far because I get to take a trip back to the Midwest to go home for a visit. I managed to avoid most of the extra fees. Yay!

  21. GB says:

    Does anyone know why Allegiant’s hotel packages (Fly Free to Las Vegas) fluctuate in price hour to hour?? Is there a better time to book when the price is down?

  22. CF says:

    GB – They could change for a variety of reasons, but I honestly don’t know if there’s a better time to book than others. My general advice on these things is that if you find a price that you like, just grab it and don’t look back!

  23. lou says:

    @ Shanna:
    I am flying out of LAX and the flight is at 6:35 in the morning. If I arrive at 5:15, will I have enough time. I am told they shut down their window 45 minutes before flight departure.

  24. CF says:

    lou wrote:

    I am flying out of LAX and the flight is at 6:35 in the morning. If I arrive at 5:15, will I have enough time. I am told they shut down their window 45 minutes before flight departure.

    They recommend 2 hours prior to departure and yes, it closes 45 minutes prior at the ticket counter.

  25. Shanna says:

    @ lou:
    Lou, yes they do close 45 minutes before. I always try to get to the airport no less than hour before the flight. They are usually not too busy (there’s only two check in desks), especially if you’re not traveling around a holiday.

    I believe the last time I had the 6:35am departure, I got to the airport around 5 or 5:15am and I had plenty of time.

    If you will be flying out of a small airport like Fargo, for example, please be sure to get there early as well. My family and I have always pushed the limits and got to the airport 50 minutes prior to departure and all the airport personnel were pissed at us (and everyone else because we all came late). Hey, there’s only 3 gates, can you blame us?

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