I didn’t plan to be writing this blog right now. I should have already landed in Allentown, got in my car, and been on my way home to Philadelphia.
Instead, I made the mistake of flying Allegiant Airlines.
Please keep in mind I’m writing this on my tablet and phone. Never done that before.
They were an hour late on my trip to Florida on Friday, and an hour late again on my return trip today. And I won’t be getting home until tomorrow.
We were over Savannah, Ga., when the pilot told us there was a problem reported with the de-icing gauge. He said they knew wasn’t a problem but it had to be looked into, so we would have to make a sharp turn and fly to Asheville. I’m very familiar with that airport and Allegiant from my time in the Tri-Cities.
But if anything could go wrong…
There was bad weather in Asheville so we had to circle and circle around Spartanburg, S.C., until the weather improved, rather than land in Asheville in a thunderstorm.
Then, just before 9, the pilot came on and announced Asheville weather hadn’t improved, and after another seven or eight minutes, we’d have to go further away, to Knoxville! Jamie, do you need an 11:00 lead on channel 6? Lots of angry people!
Daniel and Jennifer, you were here. And I picked you up on the outside.
When we got internet service, Allegiant had estimated we’d arrive in Allentown at 12:20am. Now, a replacement plane is headed here, to Knoxville.
But if there was no emergency, why didn’t they just fly us to Allentown?
When the trouble began, supposedly over Savannah, we had already flown about 466 miles north from Fort Lauderdale. We’d still have about 770 miles to go until Allentown. (Those are driving miles.)
But we wasted so much time and fuel circling and detouring that we could’ve been to Allentown! Who makes these decisions?
To hell with the customer! What’s in it for us?
They gave us a little glass of water just before we left Fort Lauderdale so late because their baggage contractor’s workers were taking their time, and the crew was not happy. Gee, free water from Allegiant Airlines! It’s a big deal for them.
And we got a free bottle of water here in Knoxville. Good thing, because everything is closed, although I hear there are vending machines.
Actually, we got free non-alcoholic drinks on the way back!
We found out after finally leaving Knoxville — there was paperwork to be done while we sat on the plane — we’d be getting $50 vouchers. Maybe next time, I’ll use it to check a bag, round trip, if I ever fly Allegiant again. But I’m in no mood to travel on any airline for a very, very long time.
On both flights, I signed up for Allegiant’s flight alerts to be informed if there would be any delays. Both times, I got the alerts way too late to do anything.
So here I am, with water. Not hungry, but restless. Some nice people let me use their multi electrical outlet device because most of the outlets around the gate at the airport don’t work.
I’ve flown a lot and had my share of issues. I spent several days at Kennedy Airport, but not in a row, and they never close that place!
Back in 1987, the plane actually lost an engine and we had to get into crash position and return. But the airline took care of us.
In 2014, my flight from Israel arrived late and I ended up having to make and change arrangements to fly back to Florida. It took all day. But the airline took care of me.
Not so much this time, so I’m going to take care of them.
In 2015, I was supposed to be flown to Richmond for a job interview and that meant flying through Philadelphia in winter. Yes, Shane, your station and your predecessor!
The Richmond leg of the flight was canceled and I ended up spending the day at Philadelphia’s airport. It was a weekday, I couldn’t get out, and nobody I knew could get in to meet up. At least the flight was free, but the parking in Miami wasn’t.
And at least I don’t have to work tomorrow!
I will admit, the crew was very nice. They suffered as well.
So while I get ready to board, enjoy this Allegiant classic from 60 Minutes.
So we finally took off from Knoxville at 12:20am, and landed in Allentown at 1:20am.
Too bad for the folks heading from Allentown to Fort Lauderdale, like I did last week. They were supposed to take off at 8:34pm and arrive at 11:10pm, just like my first flight.
Now, they’re going to depart at 2am. Allegiant only flies the route a few days a week.
And the flight crew is also heading back to Fort Lauderdale tonight. How long are they supposed to work in a day? I’m sure the Federal Aviation Administration has its rules but it turns out, one flight attendant told me they never sign out, they were expecting a 15-hour day and it has happened before.
Somebody should look into that.