Allegiant Cancels Dozens of Flights Because New Planes Aren’t Ready

Jun 14, 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.

Allegiant Air abruptly canceled at least 26 flights through next week and across the country Thursday morning, saying that it was forced to do so because new planes it had been expecting hadn’t been delivered yet.

“Unfortunately, some of the delivery dates for aircraft scheduled to join our fleet have fallen short of the projections, leaving us with limited resources available and the very difficult choice to cancel certain flights,” Allegiant spokewoman Krysta Levy said by email. “We have offered options to our passengers on canceled flights, including reaccommodation to other flights or refunds.”

The flights included departures from Grand Rapids (GRR) to Raleigh-Durham (RDU) to Tulsa (TUL) and destinations mostly in Florida. The affected flights were scheduled for Thursday, Friday and June 21.

Allegiant is in the midst of switching over its fleet of aging MD-80s to Airbus A320s, including used aircraft the carrier bought from a leasing company. It also bought new A320s, the first time it ordered new aircraft. Levy said that the issue stems from delays in the induction process, including everything from painting the company logo on the fuselage to getting the right seats in place in the cabin to getting certified to fly by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“I do want to be clear that it is not an issue with the newly manufactured Airbus — those are still on track for their delivery schedule,” she said.

“We expect this to be a short-term issue,” Levy added.

Robert W. Mann, a Long Island-based airline consultant and former executive at American Airlines, Pan Am and TWA, said the number of flights suggested that it involved three or four planes.

“This is an aircraft delivery issue, and is not related to any Allegiant planes that are currently in service,” an FAA spokesman said.

The FAA didn’t have comment by publication about whether the cancellations involved FAA clearances for planes not yet in service.

Though Allegiant seemed to be pointing a finger at the leasing company, Mann said the airline bears much of the blame, especially considering the eleventh-hour nature of the canceled flights.

“To have this problem arise with these aircraft at the same time shows a lack of planning on the carrier side,” he said. “You have to start massaging your schedules to reflect [the transition to a new fleet], but it looks like they waited till the last minute for something to happen, and when it didn’t, they had to cancel suddenly. It’s clearly poor planning on Allegiant’s part.”

It also demonstrates that the carrier didn’t have a backup plan in place, he said, even though it’s well-known that there are often delays in introducing new planes to a fleet.

“They probably retired MD-80s that they maybe wished they hadn’t,” he said.

“Right now our fleet is 63 Airbus to 29 MD-80,” Allegiant spokeswoman Levy said. “The remaining MD-80s are still in regular service (though planned retirements are still occurring on a regular basis) so we are limited on their capacity to fill in the gaps.”

Still, Mann said he expected the cancellation problem to be short-term, though the bad PR may linger.

“They way they handled it is looking like a rookie mistake,” Mann said. “They’ve been caught flat-footed.”

Featured image courtesy of Robert Alexander/Contributor/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

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 and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • 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.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • 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
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.