Thousands of Cincinnati-area travelers fly the discount airline Allegiant because its flights to popular vacation destinations are often half the price of Delta's.
However, one couple has a caution for anyone flying a deep discount airline after spending a whole weekend stuck at the Doubletree Hotel at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Sarah Haydon is a certified mine safety rescuer on her way from her home in Lexington, Kentucky, to a training conference in Destin, Florida.
She and her travel partner have been stuck at the Cincinnati airport for three days.
"Today's Monday," she said. "So we were here Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night."
How two-hour flight turned into long delay
It began Friday evening when her Allegiant flight had to turn back at the last minute.
"We were about 100 feet from landing in Destin, and our landing gear was down," she said. "You could see the runway, you could see that. They said we couldn't land because of weather."
Two hours later, she was back at CVG.
Agents gave passengers a number to call, but Haydon said it was a dead end: "They said they couldn't do anything for us. They couldn't get us a room, anything."
Almost two hours from her home in central Kentucky, and without a car, Hayden decided to stay in a hotel near the airport, hoping Allegiant would find her some weekend flight.
It didn't happen.
Risk of deep discount airlines
Discount airlines have opened up air travel to thousands of people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford flying on mainline carriers like Delta and United. Hayden's flight was just $200 roundtrip.
But the downside is when that flight doesn't go, you may not go either.
Hayden thought they would make a plane available Saturday. "On their website it says they will fly you the the next day. It doesn't say in 2 or 3 days, it says the next day they'll get us on a flight."
We contacted Allegiant, where a spokeswoman named Sonya explained when weather cancellations happen: "They can be re-accommodated to another Allegiant flight or receive a refund. When a flight is canceled due to weather, we do not assist with hotel expenses."
She also said Allegiant cannot transfer passengers to another airline as major carriers would usually do in cases like this.
For Haydon, that meant a three-day wait in an airport hotel on her own dime. The good news is that on Monday night, Haydon and her travel partner were able to get on the next Allegiant flight to Destin, and arrived on-time and without any additional fees or issues.
That way you don't waste your money.
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Full Allegiant Statement:
As you know, there have been several large storms over the past few weeks disrupting travel across the country. Airlines have canceled thousands of flights because of it. While we have no control over the weather, we do everything possible to help our passengers get to their destinations.
When a flight is canceled due to weather, we give them several options. They can be re-accommodated to another Allegiant flight or receive a refund for the untraveled leg of their itinerary. We also don’t have interline agreements, which provide travel on other carriers.
Our policy states that, when a flight is canceled due to uncontrollable circumstances such as weather, we do not assist with hotel expenses. This information is also available on our website.