Allegiant Fined for Scorching Cabins During Tarmac Delays

Oct 10, 2018

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You get what you pay for, and with Allegiant Air, that’s taken to the extreme. The ultra-low-cost carrier is being punished by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for routine instances of uncomfortable temperatures on board its aircraft.

The DOT has fined Allegiant $225,000 after it found that the airline “failed to provide passengers a comfortable cabin temperature” on 10 different occasions where aircraft were delayed on the tarmac during 2016 and 2017. This is the second fine in six months for Allegiant after the DOT slapped the airline with a $250,000 fee for violating consumer protection rules.

Even worse, most of the airports where the incidents occurred were in high-temperature regions during summer months, including Las Vegas and El Paso, Texas. Allegiant said passengers on the flights in question were subject to outdoor temperatures north of 110 degrees. Its use of portable air conditioning carts and other tools to supplement the aircraft’s internal air conditioning system apparently failed to keep aircraft cabins at reasonable temperatures.

“In one of these instances, Allegiant did not provide food and water to passengers in a timely manner or announce to passengers that they had an opportunity to deplane, as required by DOT rules,” the DOT said in a statement.

According to USA Today, the government “based its findings on passenger complaints, crewmember statements, temperature readings, reported medical incidents, operational considerations such as the use of external cooling units or air carts during the delays and decisions to deplane passengers.”

In April, CBS’ “60 Minutes” aired a report on Allegiant that detailed similar incidents on planes that even included smoke-filled cabins and cases where the airline forced passengers to stay on board during uncomfortable or dangerous circumstances.

It’s unclear whether the “60 Minutes” investigation, which was critical about the DOT’s lack of discipline on Allegiant’s issues, had anything to do with the issuance of the fines.

The airline defended its decisions as “sensible” because of customers’ desire to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Allegiant says it will change its training procedures to better avoid temperature issues and noted that its soon-to-come all-Airbus fleet can better cool cabins than its older MD-80 aircraft.

In the DOT’s April fine, the agency said Allegiant “failed to provide passengers with disabilities adequate and timely assistance in moving within airport terminals, and did not adequately respond to complaints filed by passengers with disabilities. In addition, Allegiant failed to provide timely responses to consumer complaints and failed to make prompt refunds to consumers when they were due.”

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