Allegiant Under Fire for Safety Record Following Damaging ’60 Minutes’ Report

Apr 16, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air is under fire on Monday following the airing of a damaging “60 Minutes” report that aired on Sunday. The seven-month investigation into Allegiant’s safety record showed that its status as one of the most profitable airlines in the country also comes at the cost of it being one of the most dangerous flying in the skies.

The Las Vegas-based carrier is known to travelers as offering ultra-low fares, flying to many destinations underserved by legacy carriers. Allegiant operates the oldest fleet of aircraft in the US, including 30% of those planes being dated and gas-guzzling McDonnell-Douglas MD-80s, almost all of which were purchased second-hand from foreign carriers. And, as the “60 Minutes” report shows, the problems that the airline has been the source of include an alarming number of aborted takeoffs, emergency descents, unscheduled landings and more.

You can watch the full report below:


Between January 2016, and October 2017, Allegiant had more than 100 serious mechanical incidents — a number much higher than its larger competitors. In fact, in 2016, The Washington Post examined just how many more Allegiant flights had unscheduled landings. During the same 15-month period, Allegiant, which had 50 MD-80s, had 50 unscheduled landings, five emergency descents and eight aborted takeoffs. On the other hand, Delta, which operated more than twice as many MD-80s (117 total) had just six unscheduled landings, one emergency descent and no aborted takeoffs.

While the sheer number of incidents from Allegiant is alarming, perhaps what’s even more so is the fact that the airline has continued to be allowed to operate without just about any penalty from the Federal Aviation Administration. In fact, the most discipline Allegiant has gotten for its poor record of safety operations, was described by a former FAA lawyer as not even a slap on the wrist.

During the investigation, Allegiant gave “60 Minutes” a short statement from its vice president of operations, which said in part:

“All of us at Allegiant are proud of our strong safety record, as noted in the most current, comprehensive FAA audit. Safety is at the forefront of our minds and the core of our operations.”

However, since the airing of the report on Sunday night, with the carrier’s stock down nearly 10%, the airline has issued a memo to employees, which was made public by AirlineGeeks. In it, Allegiant says in part:

“The story follows an unoriginal narrative based entirely off of outdated statistics, incidents that are years-old, and so-called ‘industry experts’ — many of whom have not seen the inside of an airline’s operations in decades. Indeed, none have any direct knowledge of our operations including our people nor our procedures or SMS program.

We have reason to believe this story was instigated by a terminated employee who is currently engaged in a lawsuit seeking money damages from the company. It breaks no news. Know we are prepared to fight back against 60 Minutes, which has set its former standards of journalistic integrity aside to draw in viewers.”

The report has brought to light information that the airline encourages its pilots and mechanics to not officially report maintenance issues.

People on social media were quick to react following the airing of the report, noting that they would never consider flying with the carrier with its safety record and practices in place.

The airing follows a 2016 survey of Allegiant pilots in which more than half of respondents said they wouldn’t let their families fly with the carrier due to safety concerns.

Featured image by Wikimedia Commons.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.