Allegiant Air is a low cost carrier that flies to several cities across the country. Even though their airfares are notoriously inexpensive, did you know Allegiant tickets are even cheaper when you buy them at the airport? I’m going to show you why that is and how you can save $36 per person on each roundtrip ticket.
We live in the eastern suburbs of Phoenix and constantly see Allegiant flights coming and going from the Mesa Gateway Airport. Every time I see an Allegiant plane I can’t stop thinking about how nice it would be to fly out of a small airport instead of Phoenix.
I’ve never had much of a desire to fly a low cost carrier like Allegiant. Like Spirit or Frontier, Allegiant’s business model is to charge you a low price for the flight and then charge additional fees for each service you use. Everything from choosing a seat to an inflight drink will cost extra. When I’ve compared airfares in the past, the low cost carriers haven’t been much cheaper on the routes we’ve flown. Plus, I have several airline credit cards which helps me save on fees with those carriers.
The nice thing about Allegiant Air is they typically fly nonstop to several smaller airports around the country. These airports are usually not serviced by the legacy carriers or they’re expensive to get to. However, if you need to go where Allegiant flies, you really can’t beat the convenience.
Why It’s Cheaper
My wife and I love to travel and we’ll look for any excuse to get away. When I saw Allegiant had flights to our old college town for $77 per person round trip, I figured it was a great time to fly them for the first time. As I was researching flights, I heard that it’s actually cheaper to buy your tickets at the airport.
From what I knew about Allegiant, this couldn’t be possible. Why would Allegiant want me to go to the airport and talk with an actual person? Isn’t it more expensive that way instead of having me book my flights on their website? I did a little digging and not only found out that it was true but that it also made sense.
Airlines have to pay a 7.5% tax on the airfare portion of every ticket they sell. However, they don’t have to pay this tax on the fees they charge for extra services. By lowering the amount they charge for airfare, they’re able to save money on taxes. While they only save a couple dollars on each ticket, it really adds up when you consider the number of tickets they sell each year. In order for the airlines to be able to call it a fee, it has to be optional. Meaning, there has to be a way for the customer to avoid paying the fee.
Save Money By Purchasing Tickets At The Airport
One fee is called an “electronic carrier usage charge“. Everyone who buys a ticket using Allegiant’s website will pay a fee of $18 per person, per segment. That’s $36 per person roundtrip. Think of it as something similar to a convenience you pay when you buy movie or concert tickets online. You’ll find this fee under the “taxes, carrier charges and government fees” section of the fare breakdown. That means my tickets to Utah could be as little as $41 roundtrip!!!
If you want to avoid this fee, you can purchase your tickets at the airport. Unless you live close to the airport, this probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to do. Allegiant knows this and figures most people won’t deal with the hassle of driving to the airport. For those who do go, Allegiant doesn’t make it easy on them.
According to Allegiant’s website, they only sell tickets at the airport during designated times. As you can see below, the days and times aren’t the most convenient. Here’s a link to the page that shows the full list of times at each airport location. You’ll notice that it also says, “in most cities, airport ticket purchase will be available for one hour following each scheduled departure”. You can take a look at the flight schedule at the airport near you to see what additional days and times might be available. Regardless, I would strongly recommend calling them before you go down to confirm you’ll be able to purchase tickets.
How To Pay For Your Tickets
If you want to pay for your tickets with your points you don’t have many options. Allegiant isn’t part of any of the major alliances so you won’t find any award flights there. Allegiant flights also don’t show up on any of the major banks travel portals, so you’re out of luck there. The only way to use your points would be to use the “purchase eraser” function on a card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards credit card.
Allegiant typically doesn’t have daily service on most of their routes. If your flight gets delayed or cancelled, it’s possible you could be stuck there for quite a while. I would strongly recommend purchasing your Allegiant tickets with a credit card that has travel delay insurance. The card with the best delay insurance is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card (3x on travel). Other that have good trip delay insurance are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card,(2x on travel), the American Express Platinum and the Chase Ink Business Preferred® (3x on travel) credit cards.
Purchasing your Allegiant tickets at the airport is definitely cheaper than buying them online. Unfortunately, for most people, the hassle of getting to the airport will offset money you’ll save. However, if you’re going somewhere as a family, or happen to be close by, you can save a significant amount of money. Have you ever purchased your tickets at the airport? How did it go? We’d love to hear your thoughts about Allegiant.