While most people in the travel hacking community blog about business and first class redemptions, we try to keep it real and fly ultra low cost carriers on short domestic or international trips. This stems from my original roots of flying budget carriers in Asia and Europe as a means to explore, and it’s a cheap and fun way to discover the world one city at a time. For this post, we look back at our experience using Allegiant Air from Jacksonville to Memphis and back.
Like our Dallas trip, our Memphis trip was another impulse buy. Allegiant had a super cheap sale; we didn’t know anything much about Memphis aside from Graceland, but we proceeded to book it anyway. The schedule was perfect: fly out early Friday afternoon and come back Monday at noon. That gave us two full days (the weekend basically) and a half day in Memphis, which wasn’t so bad. So, once we got to the airport, we were in for a surprise:
We were on the inaugural flight!
I swear, we didn’t book the flight because we knew it was the inaugural flight. It kind of just happened, and it was a very welcome surprise!
What happens at an inaugural flight? Well, there’s free food and drinks – yay! Our lunch and snacks were covered for that day! The menu? Memphis BBQ pulled pork sliders, a bag of chips, and soda, catered by Sticky Fingers. Delicious.
Ah, no wonder we needed to be at the gate an hour before the flight. That was one of the surprising things that we saw when we printed our boarding pass. The boarding was on time, and when we got on the plane, we were handed little cookies shaped like an airplane in Allegiant’s colors. Great touch!
We got a great seat, row 14, and were lucky enough to get seats beside each other. If you want to guarantee seats together, that will set you back $12 per person. No thank you, we’d rather save that cash for another trip. There was more space on Allegiant’s plane, so Peter wasn’t as cramped in the seat as he was on the Spirit Airlines plane last month. However, the plane looked a bit dated for my liking, and I read somewhere that Allegiant has had some issues with safety so book at your own risk. The planes they are flying are second hand, sourced from Cebu Pacific, eastJet, Philippine Airlines, among others – all airlines I used to fly around a lot when I was living in Europe and in Southeast Asia.
So, would I fly Allegiant again? You bet. For a very low cost, it will get me to my destination, and they don’t have as many delays as Spirit has. If you do get delayed, well, cuddle up with a book or a magazine or just work to make more use of your time. We’re actually flying Allegiant again in August to Richmond! Another plus? Well, they fly out from my home airport, JAX, whereas we have to drive more than two hours to catch a flight on Spirit to Orlando. The home advantage definitely wins for us.
I hope Allegiant will announce more flights from JAX. We were actually eyeing Asheville too but ran out of days off for this year. If the seasonal flight comes back for the summer months next year, you bet we’ll be there!