Allegiant Air is frequently listed as one of consumer’s most hated airlines for their nickel-and-diming practices. While upfront prices may appear like the best offer, there are multiple fees that get added into the final price. Everything from carry on bags, to boarding passes, and even HOW you buy your tickets will add an additional charge if you’re not diligent. If you’re looking to score budget-friendly airfare, here’s how to outsmart Allegiant Air to get the lowest price.
Purchasing Your Tickets
How They Get You: Purchasing your tickets is where a majority of the fees take place. Among them: a processing fee up to $8 for credit card purchases, a $13 “electronic carrier usage charge” for tickets purchased outside of an airport’s ticket office, up to $80 for guaranteed seat assignment and up to $45.00 for carry-on bags paid at the airport.
How To Outsmart Them: To keep prices low, keep your debit card on hand and be open to sitting wherever you’re placed. In my first hand experience of flying on Allegiant Air, I’ve only seen one party be separated that didn’t pay for the seat upgrade, but they simply asked other travelers in their row if they’d mind switching seats, which worked out in their favor. Worst case scenario, use this as an opportunity to bring a book, pop some headphones on, and enjoy a few hours of alone time! With seat upgrades costing up to $80 per ticket, save your money and invest it in a hotel room upgrade or a fancy dinner instead!
Personal Bags, Carry-On, And Checked Luggage
How They Get You: Allegiant Air makes a majority of their profit off of luggage fees. As of December 2015, it costs $45 to $55 for checked bags if paid in advance, rising to $75 if paid at the airport; plus $15 to $35 for carry-ons paid in advance, jumping up to $55 at the airport. Prices do vary depending on where your tickets were purchased and the route flown, but we’ve never seen carry-on bags be available for under $45. You can view all of Allegiant Air Fees & Policies HERE.
How to Outsmart Them: Pack light! Every passenger can bring ONE free personal item. This item can include a purse, briefcase or a small backpack that must be stored completely underneath the seat in front of you.
As of December 2015, the maximum dimensions allowed for personal items are 7x15x16. While this baggage size seems small, you’ll be surprised at how many fellow travelers make it work! There are a few companies like AirLibiano which make bags specifically to meat Allegiant’s personal item requirements! Otherwise, camera bags, diaper bags, or large women’s totes can be great options as well!
Likewise, consider using space bags! While they won’t reduce the weight of your bag, they’re huge space savers and are an easy way to pack more of your favorite clothes while taking up a fraction of the space. Keep the space bags for non-metal containing clothing only (with personal items in a separate clear ziploc) and you’ll reduce your possibility of TSA needing to open your space bag to view your luggage. When paired with you wearing your heaviest, bulkiest items, you can easily fit between 5-7 outfits in the space including your toiletries!
How They Get You: Allegiant charges $5 to print out your boarding pass at their airline ticket booth.
How to Outsmart Them: Print your boarding pass out BEFORE you arrive at the airport. If you’re flying from home, most boarding passes are available at least 24 hours before your take off time, providing enough time to print out a solo piece of paper. At a hotel? Ask about your location’s business center, and if not, see if the front desk can print out your boarding pass for you. Most hotels provide complimentary internet, and if you have to pay for printing, the charges will be significantly less than if you have Allegiant do it for you.
How They Get You: Absolutely nothing is included. Nothing. Not water, not pretzels. Nada. All food, beverages (and WiFi) is available only for an additional fee ranging from $3-14.
How to Outsmart Them: Bring your own. Select foods are allowed through security, enabling you to pack a few small candy bars, granola bars, or even a sandwich. Food regulations do vary between airports, but generally small items are allowed allowing you to stay comfortable during your flight.
For drinks, consider bringing an empty water bottle. Once through security, you can fill it up at one of the McDonalds, Starbucks etc and you’ll be able to bring it on the flight with you! Food purchased after security is allowed on-board as well, just be curious not to pack too potent smelling foods (ex. garlic fries) to be respectful of those sitting next to you on the flight, as a majority of food options from the restaurants will be more affordable, and possibly more delicious, than the cabin food offered.
While Allegiant Air is certainly a budget airline, by”unbundling” fares upfront, passengers are able to choose what they want to pay for, instead of paying for services they don’t use. In doing so, the average price paid on Allegiant is significantly lower than the average domestic one-way fare.
In reviewing all of Allegiant’s policies, packing smart, and being open minded as to what’s provided on your flight, you can save hundreds of dollars on airfare that can be better applied elsewhere.
All airlines are required to meet the same necessary flight requirements, safety procedures and more. So while you may not have a tv on the seat in front of you, or a complimentary bag of pretzels, your flight is required to be just as safe and professional as any other airline, you’re just saving up to 60% of the cost!