Allegiant MD-80 tail with a clear blue sky

Allegiant MD-80 tail with a clear blue sky

Allegiant Air announced today that they will be adding 16 additional seats to most of their MD-80 aircraft. All of the 48 currently operating and nine of the additional ones will be operating with 150 seats will be changed to accommodate 166 seats.  The three MD-87’s that hold 133 seats will not be changed.

Allegiant is investing $50million into this change, which includes removing the galleys. They will start the changes near the end of 2011 and will be completed by the end of 2012.

“These added seats will allow us to grow our capacity with the least amount of risk,” Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant President, said. “This project effectively increases our capacity by 11 percent while lowering our cost per seat. In addition, we expect to fund this through internally generated cash-flow.”

This investment shows that Allegiant will continue with their fleet of MD-80 aircraft as well as their newer Boeing 757s for the future.

Due to the increase in passengers, Allegiant will be adding a fourth flight attendant to the 166 passenger aircraft. This increases the ratio of flight attendant to passenger from 1:50 to 1:42.

I wondered if this would mean Allegiant would offer less seat pitch for customers. Just back in 2004, Allegiant made a big deal about taking out three rows of seats to provide more leg room (thanks to Dan Webb for that link). I asked Jordan McGee, Director if Allegiant Corporate Communications and she explained that all Allegiant’s aircraft are not configured the same, but even after the conversion to 166 seats, all the aircraft will have a seat pitch between 30-32 inches.

“Our current seat pitch varies by aircraft because of different configurations, but our average is 30-32 inches. We also have quite a few seats at 33 inches and then some upwards of that, depending on the aircraft. Once we make the conversion to 166 seats, each seat will be between 30-32 inches,” McGee explained.

If they aren’t using the galleys to serve food, why have them? Heck, if Allegiant can put in more seats and more flight attendants while not taking any leg room away from me and while trying to keep fares competitive, I am all for it.

Image: p1anespotting

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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7 Comments

LOL…what legroom?

I wish I would have written it down somewhere, because I knew you were gonna have that as a comment 🙂

Well, 30″ isn’t horrid when the seats don’t recline and I never recline mine anyhow…

Daid

JL Johnson

Chris: “What legroom?” I find it interesting that you pose that question. I flew Allegiant last July out of pure curiosity and was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps my brother and I were lucky on both flights and ended up with the 30″+ seats. We flew two MD-83s, N861GA row 26 and N880GA 27 to be exact. I’m a heavy set guy and 6’1″ and fit just fine, I was so impressed that I even tweeted and posted a photo about it. http://twitpic.com/23wscd

I can’t help but feel that folks immediately form their opinions about Allegiant simply because the nickel and dime their customers. Yes, there is a fee for nearly EVERYTHING but I have to say, the service was great and even after myriad fees the flight was cheaper than the other guys.

Plus, what other airline sells die-cast models of their planes in flight?

WHAT?! How did I miss that? They sell plane models in-flight?

David

I’d love to see a chart/graph of flight attendant per set for various aircraft and airlines some time. Do some airlines that fly similar aircraft have less flight attendants than others? How do their costs compare?

The minimum number of flight attendants per aircraft is dictated by Federal Aviation Regulations. Thus, with Allegiant moving from 150 to 166 seats, they are required to carry a 4th flight attendant. You’ll likely still see Delta using just 3 on their MD-88s, which only seat 142.

I do plan at some point to take Allegiant, as I have an airline geek friend who lives in an area they don’t fly to (within reasonable distance of him). So, there is discussion of doing a quick trip, though I think going to Vietnam/Cambodia is going to take priority over a trip to Vegas.

With the tight airline budgets, I would guess than that they’re all going to have the minimum the FAA requires. 😉

Allegiant flies out of Greensboro. I haven’t had opportunity to fly them but they have Sun/Tues/Thurs flights and the prices appear to be less than half of the other airlines. I’d like to try them sometime too.

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