Are Allegiant Hawaii Flights Poised To Return With This Bombshell?

What Hawaii airline of the past comes to mind for its crappy planes, bad service, delayed and cancelled flights, and passengers being nickel and dimed for everything? If you guessed Allegiant, you’re right.

The airline had two good years of route options and then started pulling back to having only a flight daily between Las Vegas and Honolulu. After a tumultuous few years and the significant downward spiral we all witnessed, Allegiant pulled the plug entirely in 2017 and stopped flying here.

But wait, it may not be over! Significant changes are afoot at the Las Vegas-based airline that makes us think service to Hawaii may be resuscitated.

Yesterday’s news gave editor Jeff dreams (nightmares) of Allegiant’s Hawaii return.

Allegiant Air has just announced, what is for it, an enormous order for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. They are now planning for there to be as many as 130 of the new Hawaii-capable aircraft. Those orders will come in the form of both firm purchase agreements and options.

It started early last year when the company began deals with Boeing for purchases of two 737 MAX models. Planes were to have been delivered starting this year. To our knowledge, these haven’t appeared in their fleet as of today. But it certainly won’t be long for them to start acquiring these for their flight arsenal, with deliveries starting before year’s end.

Even while the company’s CEO reasserted recently that they remain focused largely on pre-owned planes, this huge and groundbreaking-for-their-size order clearly says something different. These Boeing MAX jets are new purchase, direct-from-manufacturer aircraft.

These will provide “flexibility for capacity growth and aircraft retirements, significant environmental benefits, and modern configuration and cabin features our customers will appreciate.”


State of the art fuel-efficiency is critical to Hawaii flights.

Airlines have quickly moved to the most fuel-efficient planes for their Hawaii flights, including American with A321, Delta, with A321, Hawaiian with A321, Southwest with 737 MAX, and United with 737 MAX (and A321). This comes too as the airlines strive for carbon neutrality. Allegiant clearly plans to be a part of this movement.

Why Allegiant Hawaii flights were such a bad bet in the past.

First, the airline used an old and frequently unreliable small fleet of Boeing 757 aircraft that they added specifically to fly to the islands. Towards the end, the company was facing unwanted and expensive heavy maintenance checks on old planes.

When Allegiant arrived in Hawaii, there were very high hopes.

That was back in 2012 when they announced Allegiant Hawaii flights from eight cities, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Bellingham, Phoenix, Boise, Eugene, Fresno, and Stockton. These included some unique routes that no one else has offered that might well have been popular for leisure destination travel that’s within Allegiant’s wheelhouse.

But in less than two years, reality struck as Allegiant stopped all routes except Los Angeles and Las Vegas to Honolulu, followed by the termination of Los Angeles and, ultimately, Las Vegas.

Interesting to note that neither Hawaiian Airlines nor Alaska Airlines took Allegiant very seriously and rarely competed with Allegiant Air on price.

Prior problems with Allegiant Hawaii started with their fleet.

Allegiant bought six used Boeing 757-200 aircraft in 2010 for Hawaii flights, which was followed by obtain ETOPS certifications for Hawaii over water flights. For whatever reasons, the planes were not adequately reliabiable, especially in a small fleet, to keep operations running smoothly.

Here’s a whole history of Allegiant Air Hawaii problems.

1. Limited service model including seats that did not recline. As for recline, there remains adequate controversy about this function to question whether it will continue to be offered widely by airlines or not. We flew on a European full-service airline last week (SWISS), and within Europe, it had no recline, but seats were pre-reclined permanently to a degree and also had spring-loaded seat backs that offered temporary recline.

2. A la carte pricing, including fees for carry-on luggage. Pioneered by Spirit and Frontier, Allegiant was also an early adopter of carry-on bag fees. Others like United continue to play with such fees, which aren’t ever out of the question as airlines look for more ancillary income. These fees have become customary in most places outside the US. Editor Editor Jeff just flew the huge European carrier Easy-Jet and found he had to pay a fee for seat assignment, carry-on-bag, and checked bag. Also, because he wanted extra legroom, it caused his $40 flight to mushroom in cost to $120.

3. Multiple newsworthy service delays and safety concerns. Not only were their planes unreliable, but that problem, compounded with their general lack of customer service, meant passengers were notably stranded, which in part dealt the death blow to people not wanting to be stuck heading across the Pacific. When we met the Allegiant execs as they arrived in Hawaii, they clearly told us Allegiant is not a “high touch” airline. It is about getting people cheaply from point A to point B.

Where would Allegiant fit this time in Hawaii flights?

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this matter. If the offering is of standard enough quality, as well as reliable and well-priced, we do see the opportunity for unique routes, some of which they tried before without success. Travel could commence on the US West Coast as well as a range of cities inland that can be reached with the MAX.

A final note is that, even years later, Allegiant still doesn’t rank well in airline reviews. That bit them here in Hawaii last time, and could again, should they return to Hawaii, even with new planes.

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21 thoughts on “Are Allegiant Hawaii Flights Poised To Return With This Bombshell?”

  1. For most travelers to Hawaii it is a vacation destination. If any airline is offering twice a week service it means you could be stranded for up to 4 days if a flight is cancelled. With the costs of hotel rooms in Hawaii that could be a disaster for many. What if you were set to return home on Sunday with return to work on Monday. ULCCC cancels the flight and will get you home on Wednesday so you only miss 3 days of work? Think travel in the other direction. You lose days of vacation time in the islands but also the cost of your rooms for a few days. If it is in a busy time of the season, you might not be able to extend.

  2. Perhaps they will bring sanity to mainland Hawaii airfares.

    Allegiant has never had a fatal accident. Even though I hate late departures, I prefer to arrive alive even more.

    If they provide better service this time, they will be a plus. If not, well…sayonara.

  3. This Allegiant Airline should consider flying inter island first, to prove to the people how dependable they are, in all Airline service.

  4. 6 hours in uncomfortable seats, no wi-fi or entertainment, crappy snacks sign me up! We used them one time to fly to Hawaii and never again. We do use them every couple of months to go to Vegas from Montana and that 2 hour flight is uncomfortable. I just save all my miles and fly Hawaiian Airlines first class.

  5. Allegiant from Bellingham was great! If you are a veteran, you and everyone traveling with you get free bags. It’s a good deal. I hope they return.

  6. I think if they price flights correctly and do charge for carry-ons they can be a player. Especially if they fly from other smaller airports.
    Las Vegas being the exception. Fresno, Santa Rosa, and San Luis Obispo to name a few. Also direct flights to other Islands and not just Honolulu.

  7. Hi,
    Thanks for the opening paragraph.Best laugh I’ve had this afternoon. Perhaps had I had the misfortune in the past of flying Allegiant to Hawaii I wouldn’t be as amused.

    Seems fitting that Allegiant is based out of Vegas. I would consider flying thousands of miles over water on Allegiant a true gamble.

    I’ll see myself out now…

    As always thanks for the work you guys do.


  8. Sorry but I have to say no to Allegiant – bad history – unreliability – poor customer service – why would I fly them at all – after years of flying for business (now retried ) I really want 1st class service. After flying to Hawaii for more than 25 years we are convinced that Hawaiian Airlines is where we have that superior service with “Aloha”. Allegiant Will never be there!

  9. I flew with Allegiant to Hawaii from Vegas. Bought their premium seat up front. When I boarded there was a coat draped over the back of my seat, so I moved it to the window seat. All the FAs started giving me wierd looks and eventually a spokesman for the airline came onboard to tell me the pilot decided he wanted my seat when he took his midflight break. I objected but they pretty much told me I needed to sit elsewhere if I wanted to get to Hawaii. I complained to customer service by mail but all they did was reimburse my fee for the seat. I won’t be using them again.

  10. Good reporting about Allegiant. They’re a terrible airline and on a personal level it took my daughter two days to get from HNL several years ago to get to LAX. My one experience coming over here on them was no less pleasant with a 4 hour delay out of LAX to HNL, and they wouldnt allow anyone off the plane, but wanted to charge for water (“not a joke” as Biden likes to say).
    I will say SWA wasnt arround then, and i would be very supprised if allegiant decides to take on SWA in the Hawaii market. ALGT’s model has been to utilize second hand aircraft, and this new Max order will add debt. SWA already has the max 8 serving Hawaii and the MAX 7 will expand service dramatically. I wouldnt worry about ALGT stinking up the hawaiian skies!

  11. I am all for these low-cost carriers. I know than many take issue with the a-la-carte pricing, but it works for me. Every dollar I save getting to my destination is one I have to spend when I get there, especially Hawaii. I think I fly a bit more than the average person and budget airlines haven’t proven to have anymore comfort/delay/cancellation issues than any of the legacy carriers. Maybe I am just lucky, IDK, but I certainly welcome another option for getting to the islands I love so much. 🙂

  12. The cities I envision have no nonstop service to Hawaii and, in most cases, either involve a short flight or multiple hour drive to a connecting city.

    Possible cities (current alternatives)
    Reno (fly to SFO/OAK/SJC or drive to SMF)
    Tucson (drive to PHX)
    Spokane (fly to PDX or SEA)
    Albuquerque (fly to PHX)
    El Paso (fly to DFW/PHX or drive to PHX)
    Boise (fly or drive to SLC)
    Fresno (drive to LAS/LAX/LGB/SNA/ONT/BUR or fly to LAX/LAS)
    Stockton (drive to SFO/SJC/OAK/SMF)
    Modesto (drive to SFO/SJC/OAK/SMF)

  13. My experience with allegiant airlines was horrible. when trying to fly recently from New Orleans to Orlando, the flight was delayed for four hours, and then canceled on a Friday late in the evening with the next option to fly Tuesday which is not acceptable for most people. I wouldn’t take the chance flying with that airlines ever again

    I don’t think that would be a viable options for most people going from the mainland to Hawaii, unless they had multiple flights going out daily. I still would roll the dice.

  14. I flew Allegiant to Hawaii several times back then. It was $99 from Fresno, one day a week. If I needed a different day, I’d fly to Vegas, then take another flight to Fresno (they used to have $7 flights to Fresno!)

    I don’t recline my seat (rude to the person behind me) so that’s not an issue. I have a ScotteVest jacket so I can pack a lot of stuff on my person and how much do you need in Hawaii anyway? You can always buy stuff/do laundry/take your own water bottle, etc. With all the prices soaring for tourists, making the trip more affordable for the non-wealthy is welcome news.

  15. As if southworst flying to Hawaii wasn’t bad enough, now there is this. Wow! Allegiant is right up there with southwest as far as horrible maintenance goes. I wouldn’t trust them with a 10 foot pole.

    1. SWA has an excellent product to the Hawaiian Islands. We went RT from Dallas last week, service was perfect, employees friendly, flights on time or even early & two free bags per person. The most leg room of any carrier in economy.

    2. Not sure where you got your “facts” on SWA, but blurting out to the whole world that they have poor maintenance is irresponsible at best! SWA has the second best safety record in America with 1 in flight fatality in over 50 years! (this arguably was due to the engine manafacturer, which doesnt reliver SWA of responsibility. SWA conducts well over a million flights a year! if thier maintenance is poor, one fatality over 50+ years is a whole plane load of dumb luck!
      You may not like SWA because they compete with the local airline or you dislike thier service model, but don’t make false claims about thier maintenance! And dont forget those $189 dollar interisland fares frome Americas safest airline, Hawaiian Air!


        Don’t have to look far to see issues with swa maintenance. Google southwest maintenance issues. It’s own employees whistleblowing about maintenance practices and missing records.

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