Last month, Mom and I flew a direct flight from Nashville to Palm Springs, a new route that sprung up on Allegiant Airlines in the last year. Around the time we booked, I noticed a lot of chatter online with people seeing similar deals and trying to figure out: should I fly Allegiant Air? I’m breaking down our honest experience with Allegiant.
First off, let’s just say that the in-flight experience of most domestic airlines these days is the same. In the past six months, I’ve flown United, Delta, Southwest and Allegiant on anywhere from one- to four-hour U.S. flights, and as I fly the cheapest fare in economy possible, there’s not really a discernible difference between any of them. If that’s also your reality, I recommend you book the flight that a) offers you the best price and b) the best flight path (ideally, direct, but if not a short layover in an airport that isn’t LAX or JFK).
This was my second time flying Allegiant; the first was a round-trip to Hilton Head/Savannah, a seasonal route that is not currently offered. On both trips—or four flight legs—I had the same perfectly seamless experience. Most Allegiant routes like this are only offered once or twice a week and to secondary airports, which is why the fees are so cheap, so you have to be flexible. For Palm Springs, we could only fly direct on Saturday and Wednesday, so we planned our trip accordingly.
What does an Allegiant Air flight cost?
The reason people fly Allegiant Air is because it’s cheap. For the purpose of this post, I did a quick flight search from Nashville to Fargo—not a large airport—for a couple weeks out, and rates start at $38 each way.
Sounds dreamy, right? Only, when you go to the next screen, you’ll notice that everything from seat selection to a carry on is an upcharge:
Still, even if you select the highest fare in this case, it works out to just $170 more and a total of $291 a person round-trip, which is about as affordable a flight as you’re going to find to Fargo. What you need to know, though, is the initial price you see in the booking engine or on Google Flights is for the bare-bone experience so you’re likely going to want to upgrade your fare.
What class of fare should I book on Allegiant?
I highly recommend doing the Allegiant bundle where everything is included. In all, we paid $377 a person for a round-trip ticket from Nashville to Palm Springs direct. It wasn’t that more expensive for us to go this route than the basic fare, and we were able to pre-select our seats and get an exit row, which was dreamy. And we had an empty seat between us.
And even though we didn’t check bags, it was nice knowing there would be no fee surprises (like for our carry-on bags) since we had paid for all of that upfront.
One of my few rubs with Allegiant is the booking process. Because it’s a low-cost carrier, they try to upsell you on everything: hotels, rental cars, vacation packages. You have to bypass all these screens before you get to the actual payment portal.
What to expect from the Allegiant planes
Allegiant Air’s fleet of planes are all older Airbus A319s and A320s, very basic and no-frills. That means a three-seat configuration on each side of the aisle and only one class of service, economy. The airline recently announced the purchase of 737-7 and 737-8-200 aircraft, which will be implemented over the next few years. We booked exit row seats in our bundle, which gave us plenty of legroom.
Allegiant’s in-flight service
Most of the domestic flights I’ve been on lately have not had in-flight service other than complimentary water, coffee/tea and sodas, and Allegiant’s in-flight service was similar. They do sell beer, wine and spirits, in addition to meals and snack packs, for the same prices as the other airlines, but I didn’t purchase anything on my flights.
I also found the flight attendants very friendly and helpful. Allegiant may be a “budget airline,” but the customer service element was far superior than what I’ve found flying low-cost carriers in Europe like, say, Ryanair or easyJet.
Allegiant’s baggage policy
Here’s where airlines like Allegiant and Frontier really get you: with the added fees. As I already noted, if you book the bundle, you won’t have to worry about this. But if you book the cheapest seat possible, you’ll have to pay for not only your checked baggage, but also your carry-on. Your personal item (purse, laptop bag, etc.) is free.
If you’re looking for a no-baggage-fee airline, Southwest is pretty much your only option. We fly Southwest a lot—mostly for free, thanks to having their reward credit card—and though we rarely check bags, that policy comes in handy when we’re heading to cold-weather destinations like Colorado with our ski gear.
The downsides of Allegiant Airlines
There are no perks on Allegiant like WiFi or in-flight entertainment, so you’ll need to bring your own. I often get a lot of work done on flights, but honestly not having WiFi is usually a blessing for me because then I have no excuse to work and can unplug and actually read for the duration of the flight.
So … should I fly Allegiant?
If you’re like me and value price over frills, then you should fly Allegiant. If it’s going to annoy you that everything is an up-charge and there are no classes in the airplane, this probably is not the airline for you.
Personally, I would fly Allegiant again. It was a perfectly comfortable, seamless experience, and I think if you buy a ticket with everything included—seat selection, carryon, checked bag if you’re bringing one—then there won’t be any surprises and you won’t be disappointed.
Have you flown Allegiant Air before? Would you agree with my assessment of what it’s like to fly Allegiant?