Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pre-Cruise Thoughts on Air Travel with Allegiant

Allegiant Air - Pre-Cruise Thoughts

We are flying to Florida and back on Allegiant Air, and I already have some thoughts on the subject.  Few blogs I've read have taken the time to review/ruminate on items both before and after a cruise, so I hope this gives a unique insight to the experience.

I also want to preface this a little by saying that a lot of what I've learned already could easily come across as negative tword the airline, and that is not the intent.  Allegiant gave us a great price, even after add-ons and restrictions.  I just hope that an awareness of what they do and do not charge for will help you guys make an informed decision later!

Thought 1 - Cost

The primary reason we chose Allegiant was cost.  We shopped around and they were SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than other options.  This is both a good and bad thing as I've come to find out.
Allegiant's ticket price is LOW, but that comes with nothing, no bags, no food, no chosen seats, nothing.  I'm not saying thats a bad thing, heck its great if you want nothing, but be aware that you will have to pay for options.
What did we pay for:
Seat Choice
Checked Baggage
Carry On Baggage (yes, your reading that right)

So, if you aware going in, your good, and in the end, we did get our flights for way cheaper than I thought we would.  I'll go more into the Baggage fee's in a seperate "Thought"

Thought 2 - Airport Choice

I highly encourage you to research before you click Buy, especially with Allegiant, as our fare is not refundable.  The biggest regret I have is the airport we are flying to.  Our tickets take us to Sanford Airport instead of the main Orlando Airport.  This airport is about 50ish minutes away from Port Canaveral.  There are no free, or even cheap, shuttle options into Orlando proper or into Port Canaveral/Cocoa Beach.
I believe about the cheapest we were able to find ONE WAY transportation was about 125-140 dollars.
We ended up renting a car for about the same, but be aware, Sanford Airport does require a little more logistical planning than some other destinations.

Thought 3 - Baggage

Allegiant doesn't give you much, and Baggage is a good example.  As of the time I'm writing this, ALL Checked bags require a fee.  Its $14.99 to $35.99 per segment for the first 2 bags, and more for 3 or more.
Your also limited to 40 pounds per bag, which seems low compared to other airlines.  Pound 41 incurs a $50 upcharge.
Carry-on's don't get a reprieve either.  Carry-ons are limited to 25 lbs and carry a fee of $10 to $75 dollars depending on when you pay (online before, or at the gate).
You are allowed one "Personal Item" for free, but its quite restricted.  Here is the excerpt from their site:

One (1) personal item, such as a purse, briefcase, laptop computer, small backpack, small camera or food container, not to exceed exterior measurements of:
7 in. H x 15 in. W x 16 in. D (17.8 cm x 38.1 cm x 40.6 cm)
which must fit completely underneath the seat in front of you. There is no charge for one personal item, provided it does not exceed size requirements.

So, that being said, be prepared for the baggage fees associated with flying Allegiant.  
Again, I'm still not saying this is bad at all, we STILL ended up cheaper than other options.  But don't get caught by surprise.
Good to note, Allegiant DOES post what the fee's will be by segmant on their site, so you can figure this out ahead of time.
Our plan to Mitigate this is to pack our suitcases (we purchased 2 checked bags) and weight them, anything over 40 lbs (or less maybe) will get MAILED to the hotel before hand.  Make sure to call your hotel and verify that this is ok!

Thought 4 - My Conclusion

If I were allowed to cancel it all and start over, I can't say that I would arrange travel the same way.  I would still rent cars the same, but I would probably fly to Orlando instead of Sanford, and would probably not have chosen Allegiant.
That being said, we are traveling for a great price, and I'm open minded about the situation.  It may turn out to be great, less crowded, and less stressful than a bigger airport on a different airline.  We will just have to see!


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