When my husband and I set out to pay off over $650,000 of student loan debt, we looked for every option available to save money, including on travel. (Yes! We still travel while paying off debt, here’s how.)
Have you heard of Allegiant Airlines? They are a budget, no frills airline that often flies out of small airports in big metropolitan areas. I’d heard all kinds of things (good and bad) about Allegiant before booking my first flight with them. Things ranging from “OMG I got a flight to Disneyland for less than $100” to “Allegiant canceled my flight for my sister’s wedding 30 minutes before we were supposed to depart.” We live about 10 minutes away from an airport that Allegiant flies from so I knew I’d have to give them a shot at some point– which I did this weekend. Here’s my honest Allegiant Airlines review.
My honest Allegiant Airlines Review:
I think Allegiant Airlines is totally worth it if you can be flexible in your travel plans. Flexibility isn’t always possible so here’s everything you need to know about flying with Allegiant in this Allegiant Airlines review.
Allegiant has some of the cheapest flights out there. Their prices are only listed on their own website. So you won’t find their amazing deals on Google Flights, Expedia, Priceline, etc. So that’s step one. If you want to fly Allegiant, you have to go straight to their website. They list flights just like Southwest– first you see your outgoing flight and and then you select the price of your return flight. Midweek flights are generally cheaper than weekends, and non holidays are generally cheaper than holidays. The first time I checked prices, I was shocked to see one way flights as cheap as $39 one way. But keep in mind that Allegiant charges you for everything. Literally everything. Carry on bags, checked bags, your seat choice, extra leg room, in flight drinks (including water) and snacks. If you need anything other than a seat on the plane, you are most likely going to be paying for it.
Allegiant CAN be totally worth it under certain conditions. Here are my best tips for saving money/having success flying with Allegiant.
(1) You have to be flexible.
To save the most money with Allegiant, you have to be flexible with your travel dates. You can check Allegiant’s “rate calendar” to see what days of the week/month are cheapest to fly. If you’ve got flexible dates, you’ll save the most money.
In addition, you’ll need to be flexible because Allegiant is not the most reliable airline out there. It’s a budget airline. So think cheap, not reliable. I’ve heard dozens of stories about Allegiant canceling flights last minute, departing hours later than scheduled, circling around the destination airport only to fly back to its origin airport, the list goes on. And on. I’d say it’s about a 50% chance that you’re flight will go as planned. For example, I flew Allegiant last weekend. They boarded us on our flight and then we were delayed for over an hour because “they had to do paperwork” — whatever that means. On our return flight, we got a text message that our flight was delayed before we even made it to the airport, which was nice because we could just come to the airport later rather than waiting around the airport for hours. So we showed up about 45 minutes later than we would have normally, only to find out that our airplane was NOT delayed and we had to literally run to get on our flight in time.
What I’m saying is, don’t fly Allegiant if you absolutely have to reach your destination at a specific day or time. If you are the maid of honor at your best friend’s wedding and your Allegiant flight is scheduled to leave the morning of the wedding… yeah I wouldn’t trust them for that. If you need to make it to a funeral, an important business meeting, or anything that really can’t be rescheduled for you, don’t count on them. If, however, you’re planning a simple weekend away where your plans are flexible, Allegiant can be a good fit and great way to make your weekend away cheap.
(2) Pack light.
Avoid paying extra fees for carry-on’s and checked bags by packing as light as possible. With Allegiant you are only allowed to bring one personal item on the airplane for free, which basically has to be the size of a standard backpack. Everything else costs money. Carry on’s cost money. Checking one or more bags cost money. You can see how for some trips that would be fine and for others, that just wouldn’t work. You can save money by wearing as many clothes as possible, and packing light.
(3) Bring snacks and an empty water bottle.
I would be remiss in this Allegiant Airlines review if I didn’t mention that you’re going to need to bring snacks and an empty water bottle to avoid paying for expensive in flight water, drinks, or snacks. Yes, that’s right, Allegiant charges for ALL in flight beverages and snacks, including water. And for how unreliable Allegiant flights can be, you’ll want to have snacks on hand in case the worst happens, and your stuck on the plane delayed for hours (which has happened). Make sure your water bottle is empty for getting through security– you can fill it up at a water fountain at your gate.
(4) Check in late.
Avoid paying for charges for picking your own seat by checking in late. Allegiant charges you for picking your own seat, and the prices vary based on where your seat is on the plane– seats in the back are going to be much cheaper (the cheapest I’ve seen is $4) to $20 for seats towards the front. Many people will pay for the cheap seats in the back for the simple reason that it’s cheap and it ensures they know where they’ll be sitting. If you wait to check in late, you’ll get most likely get a seat in the front (the seats that no one else was willing to pay for because they were more expensive). The airline will start filling the seats in the back of the plane before they fill the seats in the front of the plane, which is why checking in late will mean it’s more likely you’ll get a better seat. This obviously won’t work if you are traveling with small children or otherwise need to sit by anyone you’re traveling with. But if you are solo or are willing to not sit with the people you’re traveling with, this is a great way to save a ton on Allegiant.
That about does it for Allegiant. Because they’ve been so unreliable in the past, I can’t whole heartedly recommend them. But if you’re flexible, Allegiant can be a great way to save on domestic travel.
Have you flown with Allegiant before? What was your experience like?
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Here at Deeply in Debt, we offer tons of personal finance advice based on our own journey paying off $650k of student loan debt. If you have student loan debt and aren’t sure where to start or what to do, I highly recommend the CFA’s over at Student Loan Planner to help you put together a solid financial plan for your student loan debt. We personally used them and it literally saved us over $200,000 on our student loans. You can check out the Student Loan Planner here.