Allegiant also transports firefighters for the United States Forest Service as well as college basketball teams. Allegiant had a contract to supply charter flights from Miami to four cities in Cuba beginning June 2009. One aircraft was committed to the contract. The contract was for fixed-fee flying, meaning all the airline was required to do was provide the dry aircraft and the flight crew. The contractor was responsible for all other costs including fuel. However, Allegiant ended this service in August 2009.
On August 4, 2008, the Associated Press reported that jetBlue would replace their recycled pillows and blankets with an "eco-friendly" pillow and blanket package that passengers would have to purchase for use. Each package will cost $7 and will include a $5 coupon from retailer Bed, Bath and Beyond. This decision is the latest in a series of moves designed to increase revenue. jetBlue told the Associated Press that it expects to collect $40 million from passengers selecting seats with extra legroom and $20 million from passengers paying $15 to check a second bag. As of September 8, 2008 JetBlue charges passengers $10–30 for an extended-leg-room seat depending on the length of the flight.
In January 2008, Allegiant opened its sixth base at Washington's Bellingham International Airport. The airline bases two McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft in Bellingham as part of the expansion. Routes served exclusively from Bellingham include Las Vegas, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix. Expansion in Bellingham has been largely driven by its proximity to Greater Vancouver, British Columbia.
In 2007, jetBlue was also facing reliability problems with its Embraer 190 fleet. For a couple of months, jetBlue contracted ExpressJet to operate four Embraer 145 regional jets on behalf of jetBlue. While this was going on two E-190 aircraft at a time were sent to an Embraer maintenance facility in Nashville, Tennessee. ExpressJet operated routes between Boston Logan and Buffalo, New York and Washington Dulles, and between New York–JFK and Columbus, Ohio (has terminated) and Richmond, Virginia.
A November 2016 analysis by the Tampa Bay Times noted that Allegiant's planes were four times more likely to have in-flight failures than other major US airlines. A 60 Minutes report by CBS News in 2018 continued to investigate the issues first raised by the Tampa Bay Times. Public records cited in the investigation found that the airline had more than 100 serious mechanical incidents between January 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017, including "mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted takeoffs." Other public records further revealed that Allegiant aircraft, on average, were nearly three and a half times more likely to have mid-air breakdowns than American, United, Delta, JetBlue and Spirit.
The airline tends to offer lower fares, which requires strict cost control. Part of the airline's lower cost structure included operation of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jets, which the airline can purchase and refurbish for as little as $4 million. While the aircraft are less fuel-efficient than newer planes, Allegiant was able to purchase used MD-80s outright for one-tenth the cost of a new Boeing 737 although Allegiant has subsequently purchased used Boeing 757-200s, Airbus A319s and Airbus A320s. (The 757s were acquired for its Hawaii service while the Airbus jets were beginning to replace MD-80 aircraft). As of November 2018, however, Allegiant no longer operates any MD-80 aircraft, relying instead on an all-Airbus fleet. Given the low cost of ownership, Allegiant is able to operate its aircraft less (seven flight hours per day on average versus 13 hours per day at JetBlue Airways), which helps keep labor costs lower. Overall, Allegiant operates with 35 full-time workers per plane compared to more than 50 at other carriers. Allegiant schedules their crew members so that they always return to their domicile at the end of the day, thus avoiding the need for hotel rooms which can be a costly expense for airlines.
In January 2010, the airline celebrated its one-millionth passenger to fly out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Allegiant's parent company also announced that it had purchased 18 new MD-80 aircraft from Scandinavian Airlines. In February 2010, Allegiant opened its ninth base at Grand Rapids' Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Michigan. The airline based two McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft in Grand Rapids, but ended their airport's status in 2011. The airline continues to fly out of Grand Rapids in a reduced capacity.
^ For comparison, fleet ages as of 2018: Southwest, 10.7 years; JetBlue, 9.7 years; Spirit, 5.4 years; WestJet, 9.7 years; Volaris, 4.3 years, Allegiant, 17 years, VivaAerobús, 5.2 years; Sun Country, 14.4 years. Information from Airfleets.net: Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit, WestJet, Volaris, Allegiant, VivaAerobús, Sun Country. (listed airlines from List of largest airlines in North America)
Allegiant aims primarily to serve leisure travelers, particularly those in colder northern climates, going to warm-weather tourist destinations such as Punta Gorda, Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles and Phoenix. It also serves smaller destinations that see few direct flights by major carriers. Many of the airline's markets, such as Peoria, Illinois, are served only by commuter service requiring a connection at an airline hub. In October 2009, Allegiant had competition on just five of its 136 routes.
The company had charter contracts with Caesars Entertainment to ferry customers to Caesars casino properties through Reno-Tahoe International Airport, Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport and Tunica Municipal Airport. These contracts ended in December 2012 when Caesars Entertainment signed a new contract with Republic Airways to provide the charter service to Caesars properties in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Tunica, Mississippi and Laughlin, Nevada.
LIARS & SCAMMERS. Don't trust anything. Made a reservation for a rental car in Denver (Advantage) for a funeral trip. After waiting in line for an hour with only 3 agents helping a mass of people, the rental agent, "Aric," offered us a Yukon XL in place of the Camry we reserved. He said it was because we had waited in line for an hour and we were in Denver for a funeral. He said, "I'm going to give you guys a Yukon and free gas as well." We asked repeatedly if this would change the price because we didn't want to pay any extra. He told us to return the vehicle empty. He assured us more than once that this was just his gift to us and there would be no extra cost. He also added an additional driver also at no cost, so he said. The Yukon reeked of cigarette smoke and was very dirty but after waiting in line so long we just bought Febreeze and dealt with it ourselves. Aric made sure to ask us for a nice survey and recommendation when we got home as well. Our reservation was for $125.95 but we were charged $438.54!! Now wasting time fighting this. Unbelievable.
In July 2012, Allegiant announced the future addition of the Airbus A319-100 aircraft to its fleet. The aircraft are used and formerly belonged to easyJet and Cebu Pacific. All of them are high-density A319s, fitted with four overwing exits, allowing 156 seats. Two former easyJet aircraft entered service in 2013, with another in 2014 and an additional six in 2015. In December 2012, Allegiant cancelled the agreement with Cebu Pacific citing an inability to agree on economic provisions. On May 1, 2013, Allegiant purchased another A319 aircraft previously operated by easyJet that would enter service in the third quarter of 2013. On February 23, 2015, Allegiant purchased six more A319s from Cebu Pacific.
In March 22, 2010, jetBlue turned down incentives from the City of Orlando and announced its headquarters would keep its Forest Hills office, start leasing and using a new office in the Brewster Building in Long Island City, New York. in Queens Plaza in Long Island City, move its headquarters there in mid-2012, and start a joint branding deal with New York State using the iconic I Love NY logo.
In 2008, jetBlue partnered with Irish flagship carrier Aer Lingus to allow passengers to switch between airlines on a single ticket for flights with connections in New York–JFK or Boston Logan. Unlike traditional codeshare agreements, the companies cannot sell seats on each other's flights, so customers initiate the purchase on one airline's website and then are transferred to the other site to complete the transaction.
Today, it serves 77 cities on 176 routes. They cover destinations like Bellingham, Washington, Vancouver, British Columbia, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Nevada, Los Angeles, California, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, PhoenixMesa, Arizona, San Francisco Bay, Fort Myers and Tampa Bay or St. Petersburg-Clearwater. They have their operation bases at Bellingham International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Oakland International Airport, Orlando-Sanford International Airport, PhoenixMesa Gateway Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.
Dave Siegel took the chief executive officer role in January 2012. Siegel's tenure ran through May 2015, when he left for personal reasons and was succeeded by the company's chairman, Bill Franke, who would manage strategy and finances. In April 2014, Barry L. Biffle was appointed as the company's president, reporting to Siegel; after Siegel's departure, Biffle was charged with managing the company's day-to-day operations.
On July 1, 2010 Allegiant returned to Long Beach Airport (LGB) in Long Beach, California having previously served LGB with DC-9 jets with nonstop flights to Las Vegas (LAS) and Lake Tahoe (TVL) in 2000. The airline also intended to fly from Bellingham International Airport and Stockton several times a week; however, there is no service at present flown between these two cities although Allegiant continues to serve Stockton with flights to Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa and San Diego. In November 2011, Allegiant closed its Long Beach facility and consolidated all Los Angeles area flights at Los Angeles International (LAX).