Here’s What Happens When Allegiant Air Cancels Your Flight
I’ve written several times about Allegiant Air. Since flying them for the first time in 2018, my wife and I have taken several subsequent trips with them thanks to direct flights to places like Orlando, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas as well as their super low fares. While our experiences have been great on the whole, there has been a small hiccup or two. However, last weekend, I got to see what happens when things don’t go right and your Allegiant flight gets canceled.
To set the stage, my dad and step-mom flew out from Phoenix (Mesa, technically) to visit us in Springfield. This was made possible by Allegiant’s aforementioned low fares and direct flights. After flying in on Thursday, they were set to head home on Saturday. Alas, as we sat in my living room watching Black Widow while killing time before heading to the airport, word came down that we’d be waiting a bit longer.
Due to anticipated storms in both Phoenix and Springfield, my dad got a text in the afternoon that the flight had been canceled and would not be rescheduled. That second part is key as, given Allegiant’s limited flight schedule, the next available flight wouldn’t be until Tuesday. Since they needed to get back sooner than that, we knew right away that we’d need to find another airline and alternate arrangements, eventually settling on a Sunday flight out of Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) on American Airlines.
With the AA flight booked, the next step was to get a refund from Allegiant. Unfortunately, when they tried calling the main number, the wait times were “longer than 45 minutes.” In reality, the call ended up dropping after an hour and change. Several tries later, they eventually realized that there was a different number listed in the fine print of the email. Calling that number, they had a much shorter wait and were able to talk to someone about a refund.
When all was said and done, Allegiant issued them a full refund for their return flight. On top of that, they were given an extra $100 per ticket. Initially, I thought that this was in the form of a future credit — similar to the $50 per person credit I received when my flight to Vegas was delayed into the middle of the night — but it turns out that it was also issued in cash (more accurately, a direct deposit, prepaid card, or paper check). Those checks arrived today, less than a week after the canceled flight. For the record, the text offering this additional compensation arrived moments after the initial cancelation text and was not the result of some negotiation between my dad and the airline.
Obviously, scenarios such as this are a notable risk when it comes to flying Allegiant. Given their model that finds them only flying to certain cities two or three times a week, a canceled flight can mean a much longer delay than it would with most major airlines. However, they also seem to be well aware of this fact, given how quick they were to offer additional compensation. Granted, that extra $100 still didn’t cover the price difference between the original Allegiant fare and the cost of buying a last-minute ticket on American — even with the savings found by driving two hours to XNA.
Ultimately, as frustrating as the situation was, it won’t put me off to flying Allegiant in the future. That said, it will lead me to better consider backup plans and make sure I understand my Amex Platinum card travel protections lest I find myself in a similar spot (my dad’s Venture card, while great, doesn’t include such insurances). Of course, if this risk is just too great for you, it may be better to stick with airlines that have more robust schedules and options.