Allegiant Air canceled more than a dozen flights into and out of the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport today through June 21. They say it is due to a delay in putting their new aircraft into service.
The budget airline has been using McDonnell Douglas MD-80 airplanes, but it’s switching to Airbus 320s. The process should replace all of the MD-80 planes by 2019.
“Unfortunately, some of the delivery dates for aircraft scheduled to join our fleet have fallen short of the projections, leaving us with limited resources available and the very difficult choice to cancel certain flights,” said Allegiant Media Relations’ Krysta Levy in a prepared statement.
Levy also stated that the airline has, “offered options to our passengers on canceled flights, including re-accommodation to other flights or refunds.”
Steven Hopper lives in Iowa. He is a father and curriculum technology coordinator. He says the forced rescheduling ruined his family’s vacation.
“I’ve got nine-year-old boys, and it was supposed to be our first trip to the beach,” said Hopper. “Instead, we were up at 3 a.m. to catch a return flight out of Orlando.”
Today was supposed to be the family’s last day in Clearwater. Last night, the Hoppers got an email with a voucher before they even found out their flight was cancelled. Hopper says the airline did not give them an explanation or an apology.
He said the only option Allegiant offered was to rebook the next available flight from the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport on Monday. But he was scheduled to return to work that day, so they rented another car and drove to Orlando to fly Allegiant from there instead.
“If it would’ve been weather related it’s understandable,” said Hopper. “The fact that it came out this morning that cancellations were related to not having planes… that was a new one for me.”
Hopper advises other travelers to do their research before booking. He says his family found out about the airline’s maintenance issues from a 60 Minutes interview.
“We would’ve cancelled before, but we already booked our flight, said Hopper. “So, buyer beware when you fly a budget airline.”
Hopper took to Twitter to share his complaints, and the airline responded to him.
— Steven Hopper (@thinkteach) June 14, 2018
We’re sorry for disrupting travel plans. You may be aware we’re transitioning to a single fleet type. Supply chain issues delayed delivery dates for aircraft scheduled to join our fleet. Unfortunately, we had to make the difficult choice to cancel some flights. ^KS
— Allegiant (@Allegiant) June 14, 2018
A list of cancelled Allegiant flights can be found here.