I'm normally a big fan of Allegiant and we've flown them 20+ times to Las Vegas and Florida, but they really dropped the ball in every possible aspect yesterday on the return flight to Grand Rapids from Punta Gorda (Ft Myers area). I'm sure we'll fly them again because nothing like this has ever happened to us with them, and I feel bad complaining (but I'm going to anyway) because I know with the horrible weather lately, people have had it much worse than we did yesterday.
First the flight was delayed in landing because of fog. Now I'm on board with that -- I was driving back to the airport from our hotel in Naples, and I can vouch for the fog. I have no issue with the fog excuse. The pilot instead landed (with a plane full of passengers from Grand Rapids) in St Pete to wait it out. I'm good with that. What I hate is the lying and deception (intentional or not) from the airline staff. If you don't know when the plane is going to arrive, say you don't know when the plane is going to arrive. Don't tell us it'll be here in 45 minutes because the pilot finally felt the fog had lifted enough and just took off from St Pete. It really pisses us off when, an hour and a half later, you tell us that the pilot still hasn't taken off but should be in the air within the next half hour or so. Have a nice flight, people flying to Niagara Falls. It was nice sharing this very tiny space with you for two hours.
So the pilot finally lands, the passengers disembark, we go to load up, and people are being turned away from the plane. Mechanical problems, more delay. Again, I'm good with the mechanical problems. I have no issue with that excuse either. Safety first and all that. It's the lying and deception again. "Oh, we'll have an update to you on the condition of the plane in 20 minutes." An hour and a half later we see the flight crew leave the plane, close the door, and get into cars and drive away. At least a half hour after that, we're finally told that that plane won't be flying today and Allegiant is trying to scare up a different plane to come pick us up. We'll know more in an hour and we'll definitely keep you updated. Have a nice flight, people flying to Greensboro. It was nice sharing this very tiny space with you for two hours.
Now Punta Gorda is a very small airport with one gate. They say it's two but they're like 15 feet apart from each other and labeled 1A and 1B. There are no jetways -- you walk outside on the tarmac and up the rolling ramp/steps to get on/off the plane. The entire building is the size of my high school gymnasium. There's a closet that was turned into a snack shop and that guy's having the greatest day of his life in there, selling $6 saran-wrapped handmade sandwiches. The only fresh air we get (other than leaving and going through security again) is when the other flights are loading passengers and they have to open the doors for them to go outside to the tarmac.
By now, other people are calling and having family members at home call Allegiant to find out WTF is going on, since we're being kept out of the loop. Oh, don't worry, they've located a plane at Sanford (Orlando area) and it's on the way, the plane will be landing in 45 minutes and your loved ones will be in the air in no time flat. This is from the Allegiant staff.
Two hours later, we're told that they're still trying to find an extra airplane for us to use, and hopefully one will be coming from Sanford in the next hour or two. Have a nice flight, people flying to Lexington. It was nice sharing this very tiny space with you for two hours.
The stupid plane from Sanford finally comes, and an hour or two later (I caught up on most of season 4 of 30 Rock on Netflix because I parked my fat ass next to an outlet and DH plugged his iPod into my netbook) they announce that boarding will start -- on the original plane that had all the mechanical problems earlier. That's right, they were able to fix it after all. And the really good news is, Allegiant is giving us all $25 vouchers good for our next flight on Allegiant.
Now, the woman behind us on the plane tells us that when her mother called Allegiant's customer service number, they told her that they (Allegiant) had taken great care of its stranded passengers -- why, they ordered us all pizzas and had beverages brought in and everything! You know, except that they didn't. They didn't even offer us a bottle of water.
So the head stewardess (normally I'd call them flight attendants, but today they're lucky I'm not calling them air whores) apologizes for the delay, talks about the wonderful $25 vouchers, and laughs when somebody asks if we'll get free drinks or food on the plane.
A little while later she soberly apologizes and says that she didn't realize that Allegiant provided us with zero service while we were stranded in the airport and that's not their normal standard of service. And no, we can't comp snacks, you still need to pay for those; nope, we can't comp alcoholic beverages, you'll still have to pay for those too; we can comp water, juice and soda, but you won't get a full can because we didn't stock enough for everybody to get a full can of soda -- unless you pay full price for it; then we have enough. You will get a cup of soda for free though on each beverage pass.
All told, a nine-hour delay with Allegiant gets you a $25 voucher good for your next Allegiant flight and two free cups of soda.
Clearly I just needed to vent. Like I said, we'll probably fly them again in the future since this the first time this has happened to us on their airline.