Written on: 30/04/2012
I just flew Allegiant Airlines for the first time, and it was the WORST experience I've ever had flying. NEVER, EVER FLY ALLEGIANT! To begin with, the outbound flight was 3 hours late. Because I made my reservations back in February (before Allegiant instituted a fee for carry-on bags), I was allowed one carry-on for free. But then on the return flight, however, the ticket counter supervisor in Las Vegas wouldn't allow me to carry on the same bag, claiming it was oversize. Although it was exactly the correct size according to the manufacturer's website (I showed her a printout from that site), the supervisor pointed out that those dimensions didn't include the wheels. Anyway, she insisted I check the bag. And when I wanted to just leave my medications in the checked bag, she insisted I remove them, and threatened to deny me boarding as well as call airport security. Anyway, I had to figure out how to juggle 5 separate bottles of prescription medications and get through security screening. And finally, the supervisor didn't even give me a checked bag receipt, so I worried the whole flight if I ended up filing a lost baggage claim when I had no proof that I even checked anything. Fortunately, the bag showed up.
Here's a copy of the email I sent to Allegiant Airlines Customer service.
I applaud you folks for looking after the profit margin for your shareholders. I notice that for future reservations, you will start charging a baggage fee not only for checked bags but for carry-on bags as well. What a great idea to get around the new regulations that require price quotes to include all applicable fees! After all, not everyone who flies needs to have a change of underwear.
And I really like your baggage fee structure - $13 per carry-on bag if paid in advance and $35 per bag at the airport. By the way, charging baggage fees per flight segment was another good idea. A flight with one stop is two segments and you can charge double! Just keep the details in fine print though, that way you can catch clueless passengers at the airport and get an additional $23 per carry-on bag. Let's see, if you hire someone at minimum wage ($7.25 per hour), and they can process one carry-on bag every 5 minutes, that's 12 bags per hour times an extra $23 each – that’s an added gross profit of $276 for a labor cost of $7.25. What a brilliant idea! The manager who thought that idea up should get a cash spot award!
And I love your policy of open seating. That way you can charge passengers an optional fee to reserve a seat ahead of time. But I was thinking, why provide a seat at all for the base fare? Here's an idea – for short flights (less than 6 hours), remove several rows of seats (over the aircraft wings for load and balance) and put in a standing room only section! Have those people board first (hey, priority boarding – another add-on fee!), put in some overhead grab rails, pack the passengers in like sardines during rush hour on the New York city subway, and then to get around FAA seat belt rules, strap them in with a big cargo net. I'll bet that section will be really popular with fliers like former TSA employees who enjoy groping passengers.
Airline sickness bags. I got this idea from the mini-bar in my hotel room. Provide every passenger with an airline sickness bag at no cost, and then charge them a fee if they use it!
And how about charging for air? Replace those air flow outlets in the overheads with a fan switch with 4 positions (off, low, medium, high) like I have on the dashboard of my car. You could charge a fee depending on what optional level of air flow each passenger wanted.
And finally, here's an idea that I'm surprised you haven't tried yet – pay toilets. You might be able to get some of those old coin machines from defunct Greyhound bus stations, but hey, 10 cents to use the bathroom? Where's the profit in that? Instead, put in a credit card reader on each lavatory door. I'd suggest a $50 fee per use. Think of all the money you could make from families traveling with small children! Plus, there's a hidden profit here as well on aircraft maintenance. You might only have to empty the aircraft holding tanks once every 4 or 5 flights.
Anyway, what a great airline! I am really looking forward to my next flight with you. And I'll be anxious to see which of my suggestions you implement. By the way, feel free to use any of my ideas as you see fit. I won't charge you anything. Besides, I'm sure most if not all of these have been considered by Allegiant Airlines at previous board meetings.