Allegiant Air MD-83 (N865GA) at LAX
Allegiant Air has announced they are looking into the possibility of charging passengers a carry-on baggage fee. As reported by AviationWeek, Allegiant Air President Andrew Levy stated the carry-on baggage fees are “intriguing,” during a presentation at the Low-Cost Airlines World Americas conference on May 3rd.
Currently, Spirit Airlines is the only US-based airline that charges for carry-on bags. They too are an ultra low cost carrier and first received a lot of flack when they announced the new fees. However, it doesn’t seem to bother travelers enough, since the airline has continued to make additional profit on the fees. For the first quarter of 2011, Spirit doubled their bag fee revenue compared to first quarter 2010 and average non-ticket revenue per passenger increased by 37.9%.
Remember, weight costs money. The more an airplane and its contents weighs, the more fuel (and money) it takes to fly. It might anger most people thinking about paying another fee, but why should someone with no luggage pay for someone with luggage? More importantly, why would airlines turn down this revenue maker? Charging for carry-ons doesn’t cause health concerns or kill anyone, so why do passengers keep acting like it is the end of the world to charge for carry-ons?
When asked what Allegiant’s future plans are for charging a carry-on bag fee, Jordan McGee Director of Allegian Corporate Communications explained, “It’s really too premature to provide any further info on potential charges for carry-ons.” However, she confirmed that Allegiant is, “considering it.”
For me, this is not a huge surprise and I have been waiting for Allegiant to announce such a fee. Allegiant’s model of providing cheap prices, with fees for everything beyond getting you from point A to B seems to welcome a new fee like this. You better believe other airlines are watching how Spirit and Allegiant are doing with carry-on fees and it might not just be ultra low cost carriers having them in the too near distant future.
Image: Brandon Farris
Paine Field already sees aircraft from Southwest, Alaska Airlines and Allegiant coming in for maintenance work. Why not for passengers?
The fight for Seattle to get a second airport up north has been dragging on longer than many have expected. For those of you who do not live in the Seattle area, Allegiant and Horizon Airlines started to look into the possibility of flying out of Paine Field, which is located in Everett, WA. Talking to Horizon, Allegiant, Boeing and the airport recently, they all say there are currently no updates for the addition of commercial flights.
There are a lot of positives about adding commerical flights to Paine Field, but there are a lot of people who are fighting hard to “save our community”. Wait, what?
Since 1992 a group, called Save Our Community, has come together and tried to stop commerical aviation at Paine Field. Their main goal is to preserve, “the quality of life in this primarily residential area of Puget Sound.”
Now, I feel they do have a few good points. If the traffic at Paine Field is increased, this could cause issues for Boeing and possibly make them look to move their main factory to other parts of the country. Of course, no one would want that to happen.
However, I don’t think allowing commercial flights would cause Boeing to leave and there is surely a happy medium that could be reached. Adding commercial flights at Paine Field would create many new jobs in the Everett area with the need for additional hotels, increase in tourism and the hiring of airline workers.
Personally, I think the arguement that the quality of life for everyone around the airport would deteriate is just hogwash. During public forums in the Everett, WA area back in January 2010, many people felt that the Paine Field area would become dirty, filled with porn and crime, forcing people to leave. Many complained that they bought homes around an airport and are upset about the idea of increased flights. For me, many people seemed to be quite selfish about the matter.
I live in the flight path of Paine Field and bought my house fully well knowing that. Sure, I am a bit different since I actually enjoy aircraft flying over my house, but people shouldn’t assume to buy a house around a very large airport and not expect planes to fly over. People have complained that adding MD-80 and Q400 flights would be a huge nuisance, which is odd, since we already have Boeing 747’s and even the Dreamlifter, which are much bigger and louder, flying overhead. Not to mention the Boeing 737s that fly in all the time to get maintenance work done. Would adding a few smaller planes really make our lives that much worse? I feel the possibility of commercial flights coming out of Paine Field should be driven by market demand and not private citizens fearful for the value of their homes.
The Save Our Community website states that people who run Paine Field, “are going all out to declare war against the community by working to bring in air service to Paine Field.” Really? War? If people in the community come together and create a demand for air travel in and out of Paine Field, why shouldn’t airlines meet that demand? No airline is going to start flights to a new destination without expecting to make profit. It is not like airport and airline officials are getting together just to make your life worse. In fact, starting commercial traffic to Paine Field will make more people’s lives better.
Competition is a beautiful thing. If airlines are able to fly out of Paine Field, it will cause competition for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport down south and for Bellingham International Airport up north. This means that not only will the airlines be competing for your business, but so will the airports.
Yes, some people will have to make some sacrifices, but we have to look at the greater good for our community. Could my house value drop if there is an increase of flights. Sure. Am I willing for that to happen for the greater good of the community — of course. What do you think? Would adding commercial flights at an airport that normally doesn’t have them, but could handle them be a good or bad thing?
Model of an Allegiant Boeing 757 located behind Allegiant CEO's cubicle at their headquarters in Las Vegas.
Dan Webb on his blog, Things in the Sky, wrote up a story about Allegiant looking to possibly offer a new type of fare that changes with the cost of fuel.
In a filing to the Department of Transportation, Allegiant wants to have the option of offering a fare that could fluctuate based on the price of oil. This would mean you could buy a ticket for uber cheap now and then possibly have to pay more later if the price of oil goes up. This fare option would be in addition to their regular fares.
Is this crazy? Maybe, but again maybe not. Determining the price of fuel is a huge part of running an airline. Passengers will purchase tickets months in advance (especially leisure fliers, that Allegiant caters to) and there is no telling what the price of fuel will be when the flight actually happens. If airlines charge too little for tickets, they could end up losing money for that flight.
This new fare options, allows passengers to gamble on their airfare, which makes sense for the Las Vegas based airline. The big problem is, are most passengers savvy enough to understand the fuel-fare? And who would regulate that Allegiant would be raising fares properly based on fuel costs?
This could be taking the ala cart airline fees to the next level. Brett Snyder via BNET recently took a look how the traditional low cost carriers are growing and becoming more traditional. This leaves room for airlines like Allegiant to come up with creative ideas on how to add additional fees and revenue. People complained loudly when Spirit announced carry-on fees, but their low fares and fees have been very successful for them. Passengers seem to complain, but when faced with the option, they love the low fares and fees.
Even when I flew Allegiant, I got a bit overwhelmed by all the fees, but I flew for much cheaper than on any other airline — by quite a bit. Could fuel price-sharing be the future of ultra low cost carriers? Who knows, but Allegiant wants to be prepared if it is.
To see quotes from Allegiant and Southwest Airlines on this issue, check out my story on AOL Travel News.
View of Allegiant's entrance at their Headquarters in Las Vegas
I always enjoy it when I get the opportunity to check out an airline’s headquarters. It is an inside look at the airline’s culture and of course it is always nice to picture where they work when interacting with them as a media contact or customer.
Allegiant is located in a new business park just outside of downtown Vegas. It is away from the flashing-lights and casinos and in an area that just looks just a few years old.
When pulling up, it was not obvious it was Allegiant’s HQ since there was no signage outside, even though their roof prominently has “Allegiant” on it. However, after stepping into the lobby, there was no question.
Their lobby is two stories with two Allegiant sun’s on the floor. The best part was the replica of an MD-80 tail used as their front desk. Not too shabby. After checking in, I had the opportunity to sit down and wait on some airline seats. They were blue and leather like Allegiant’s, but quite a bit larger. They must have been taken from another airline’s first class or business seat — I wasn’t able to tell which.
Allegiant's MD-80 trainer for flight attendants.
I love walking through an airline’s operations to be reminded how most people there truly enjoy their job and have a smile. I always feel many passengers feel like there are airline people just waiting to screw them over. The nice part of Allegiant’s smaller operation is it didn’t take long to get through all departments. From those who take reservations to President and CEO’s Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr’s desk. Speaking of him, he doesn’t even have an office. All the Allegiant executives work in cubicles out in the open, bettering their interaction with other employees. Of course the executives have a little bigger than others, but they kind of deserve that.
There are also quite a few Allegiant models spread around the facility. Most are MD-80’s, but there were a few Boeing 757’s. The biggest 757 model was located right in the middle of all the executive’s cubicles (photo).
This is probably the coolest front desk ever.
A second building holds Allegiant’s training facility. They have the rear section of an MD-80 used for flight attendants. It is raised above a hole in the floor, where employees can practice evacuations. I need to find one of those for my home.
All through out the facility there was quite a bit of Allegiant spirit. Not only where many walls painted in Allegiant blue, but many desk areas were showing off holiday spirit with a decoration contest. Almost every area had decorations and one thrilled worker actually turned their cubicle into a ginger-bread house.
It is fun to imagine the folks sitting in the operation center while flying back home to Seattle, planning the aircraft’s flight and dealing deicing. I only wish they sold those tables they used as their front desk.
CHECK OUT ADDITIONAL PHOTOS OF ALLEGIANT’S HEAD QUARTERS