Judge Me, Haters: Why I Love Allegiant Airlines

This article was written based on personal opinion and was by no means paid by Allegiant or affiliated with their marketing.
A man with a bit of a beard and a football jersey had popped up from his aisle seat in row 21. “Can I help you with that?” He asked the middle-aged woman standing in the aisle.  She’s assigned to a seat about 5 rows up from his.

He lifts her luggage as he asks.

“Oh, thank you so much!” She exclaims, pushing back her head covering. “There’s no way I could have gotten that up myself.” I was just about to ask her if she needed help myself, but this man has already gotten her bag securely tucked away in the overhead bin. He lingers just to chat.

“I recognized you from the flight in,” he said.

“Oh yes, how was your daughter?” She asked with a smile, holding a bouquet of flowers she is trying to save from being crushed.

“Great, we had a good time. And you?”

“Great as well,” she replied. The man wished her a good flight and went back to his seat before I made my way to mine before our flight from Baltimore to Cincinnati.

This was not my first indication that there’s something great about Allegiant flights.

So many bloggers and frequent travelers bash Allegiant for the obvious reasons: you have to pay for everything, the seats are smaller, there aren’t class divisions, etc.

I get it. But it’s not just the no-nonsense pricing that makes this such a good thing.

For me, it’s the people on this airline that make me love it. And I love it even more now that I’m comfortable and know the rules. I’ve flown it about 20 times, quite often in my college days between Cincinnati and Savannah, Georgia, where I went to school. And I won’t lie to you, it’s really one of my favorite airlines now that I know how it works.

It’s not often when you’re traveling that there’s a sense of community on a flight. It might be because it’s generally the same people on a flight to and from a city—their routes, dates and times make it the perfect schedule for a warm weekend getaway from the northern and Midwestern cities it serves to the south and other popular destinations.

And these people often get to know each other. And they start to care. And it might have something to do with the fact that it’s almost all vacationers in a generally good mood. But hey, if you’re going to be crammed onto a flight next to them without so much as a complimentary Coke-Cola, you might as well have a good time with them.

It’s not uncommon to recognize others on your flight. And incidences like the one I described earlier happen on almost every flight I’ve ever been on.

I find myself thinking about others travelers I’ve previously flown with while I’m on my trip, wondering if Kelly is having a good time with her fiancee in Baltimore and how the two girls next to me were doing on their hiking trip in Georgia.

And I honestly can’t really think of a truly bad interaction on this airline. And, with the exception of a few quick-and-dirty flights with Frontier, I guess you could say that I’ve remained, well, allegiant to Allegiant for this reason.

Sure, you have to pay for everything. And thanks to the weight and balance system, if the flight isn’t full, everyone who didn’t pay the extra $12 to choose their seat will be crammed in the back half of the plane. (As a woman seated next to me once put it, “you get what you pay for.”)

And here’s the thing: most of what people complain about on Allegiant flights can be easily resolved in a few ways.

First, if you have a great attitude, you’re going to have a good flight. If you have a flexible mindset and understand that you’re traveling 200+ miles for less than it would have taken you to drive it, you’re going to get there just fine.

For some extra space, pack light. This will allow you to do two things. First, if you don’t choose your seat and end up in the hoard of passengers jammed in the back, you’ll be able to move easier without that large, rolling carry-on. Once you’re up to 35,000 feet and that seat belt light goes off, pick up your stuff and move on up to those empty rows. (Your row-mates will thank you.) And you’ll end up with a view like this.

The view from my Alliegent flight; which cost round trip $60.

Secondly, you won’t have to pay for that overhead bin space, allowing you to save even more money on that already low fare. As with costs, less is more on these flights. The less you have, the happier you will be.

For example, on my flight from Baltimore to Cincinnati, I was next to a guy man-spreading in the aisle seat, which meant that I didn’t have enough space to fit my backpack all the way under my seat.

So, when everyone was boarded, I put my backpack in some extra space in the overhead bin, left my purse under the seat in front of me and then waited until after takeoff, rather uncomfortably, with my feet in the aisle for some extra room. I’m not tall, but I’m by no means short, so I like the extra room.

And then I waited. We climbed, evened out and the minutes passed. And then, Ding. I jumped up, grabbed my backpack, bag and booked it up to the front.

I know it’s not Delta or American Airlines, and Allegiant isn’t trying to be. But it has become an airline that is transparent about its pricing and attracts very practical, down-to-earth people. And they actually care about their customers as well. Something you don’t get on every airline.

When Hurricane Matthew messed with my college schedule last year, they refunded my tickets without a fee and gave me a nice voucher for one of the legs of my flight I wouldn’t be able to use. That refund allowed me to attend my brother’s graduation. When my grandmother died earlier that spring, I was able to get home last minute for a lot less than even a bereavement fee.

I can’t say that the one time my flight was delayed has really made it not worth the money I’ve saved or the sheer number of things I’ve been able to attend.

So say what you will, first-classers and frequent-flyer business travelers. But a free plastic cup of Coke won’t get me. I’ll buy my own in the airport, move up that aisle, have a row to myself and remain allegiant.

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