Allegiant Plans Its Big Expansion in Phoenix and Ft Lauderdale

Allegiant, FLL - Ft Lauderdale, PHX - Phoenix, Schedule Changes

Yesterday, the East Valley (that’d be Mesa/Chandler/Gilbert/Tempe – east of Phoenix) was jumping with joy after learning that their long-suffering airport, STBPMGA (that’s Soon-To-Be Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport), would become Allegiant’s fourth base after Las Vegas, Orlando/Sanford, and St Petersburg/Tampa. Today, Ft Lauderdale received word that they’ll be base #5.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway (as I believe Williams Gateway will be renamed soon, probably thanks to the urging of Allegiant) is a former Air Force Base that has been trying to attract flights for a long time with spotty success. Yesterday’s announcement that Allegiant will start flights on October 25 was a big win for the airport. I’m guessing Allegiant is getting a very sweet deal here.

Ft Lauderdale is a different kind of thing. The airline’s last 3 bases have been at secondary airports, so this is a return to a main airport, unless you count Ft Lauderdale as secondary to Miami. Flights here begin November 14, and while I’m sure Allegiant got a good deal (they won’t fly anywhere unless they do), it would surprise me if they could squeeze much out of FLL. The airport already has ample low cost service from JetBlue, Southwest, AirTran, and hometown airline Spirit. They also have somewhat of a crowding problem, but Allegiant’s low frequency service – a couple times a week per destination – likely won’t hurt that much. Besides, Allegiant almost never competes with existing airline service since they fly to much smaller cities.

So where are they going from these new bases? Well they’re turning this into a big guessing game. We do know that Phoenix-Mesa will get flights to 13 cities already in the Allegiant network, none of which have nonstop service from the Phoenix area currently. Ft Lauderdale will see service to 12 cities, one of which will be new to the Allegiant network, and I’m guessing that none of these will have nonstop service currently either.

The airline will slowly start trickling announcements out over the next month, and they’ve got a countdown clock on their website to show you when the next one will be announced.

07_08_01 allegiantcountdown

If I had to take a guess, I’d expect to see a bunch of Snowbird Specials launched here just in time for the peak winter season. For Phoenix, maybe we’ll see places like Duluth and Rochester (Minnesota), Cedar Rapids (Iowa), Rockford and Peoria (Illinois) and Lansing (Michigan). Ft Lauderdale? Maybe a little further east with some overlap. Youngstown or Toledo (Ohio)? Maybe Ft Wayne and South Bend (Indiana)?

07_08_01 letmakeadealMy best guess is that they don’t even fully know the list. While they have a pool of cities in the running, those could change depending upon who gives the airline the best deal. Allegiant is known for being a hard bargainer, and if Rockford can outdo Cedar Rapids, that might make the difference.

Having the countdown clock just feeds into that. It’s like watching the lottery balls come up every week, hoping you have a match. Come down on your costs and tick, tick, tick, tick, you could have your name in lights and an old MD80 landing on your runway.

Either way, it’s good news for people in small towns all over the US. They continue to get service, though infrequent and with no frills, to places they’d never have been able to fly nonstop before. I’m just waiting to see how long it takes before another airline stops finding this amusing and starts trying to compete.

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10 comments on “Allegiant Plans Its Big Expansion in Phoenix and Ft Lauderdale

  1. Nice to see Allegiant growing the business to breath life into once busier airports that are starting to see services trickle back all be it on a low cost basis.
    I have Friends who live in Cedar Rapids and services to areas like Las Vegas and Florida get good patronage locally.
    I expect services to the new hubs like Ft Lauderdale would also be well received.
    As you said though how long before someone comes along and spoils the party, I know competition is good for prices but I believe legacy airlines only like to run airlines like Allegiant out of business and then close the routes afterwards.

  2. quote: but I believe legacy airlines only like to run airlines like Allegiant out of business and then close the routes afterwards.

    That’s why Allegiant should start a marketing campaign stating “Fly us to KEEP us here” It may sound desperate, but if people have a choice on a $90 RT ticket to fly Allegient vs UAL or AA they need to be educated that it’s better in the long term to invest the money in Allegiant for that very reason – long term benefit.

  3. I love Allegiant. When will they have a Frequent Flyer program? Gosh, for $39 one way non-stop from TYS-SFB I’m happy to pay for my bags or seat.

  4. I would be surprised to see a frequent flier program from these guys. Those programs cost money, and since Allegiant is the only game in town for most of these city pairs, they don’t need the frequent flier program to get people coming back.

  5. Knowing two of their finance people, I agree — frequent traveler programs are nothing but useless fluff to them.
    Remember that their primary market isn’t the business traveler — it’s Wayne and Irma going on their annual package vacation with the rest of their bowling league.

  6. I need round trip flights, around Christmas time, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. to Bloomington Ill. or Peoria, Ill. Please advise asap.
    Thank you

  7. I need roundtrp flihts, around Christmas, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Bloomington or Peoria, Ill. Please advise asap
    Thank you

  8. Gerald Steffen wrote:

    I need roundtrp flihts, around Christmas, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Bloomington or Peoria, Ill. Please advise asap
    Thank you

    If you would like assistance with your trip, you may sign up at crankyconcierge.com. If you are simply looking to get a booking with Allegiant, you will need to go to allegiantair.com. This site is not affiliated with them.

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