The Niche, all Jet Carrier – Allegiant Airlines

Allegiant Airlines MD-82 at Laughlin - Bullhead City - Low Cost Carrier, Big Routes | Airline News and Deals

Allegiant’s Successful Niche – Small Cities, Big Destinations

Allegiant is a niche, low cost carrier, operating flights from undeserved cities and secondary airports to popular leisure destinations. As an example, in December, Allegiant started non-stop flights between Niagara Falls, NY (IAG) and Tampa, or more specifically, the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE).

Both airports are secondary, non-congested facilities to the markets they serve. Allegiant isn’t alone at Niagara Falls International Airport, another low cost carrier, Spirit, operates out of the airport to their base in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Niagara Falls catchment area not only includes Buffalo, New York, but the greater Toronto Area, including Hamilton, Ontario – Canadian citizens frequently cross the border to catch flights here or at Buffalo’s primary airport, Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF). A number of charter carriers including Sky King and Miami Air International also operate from Niagara Falls to places like West Palm Beach (PBI) as well as secondary airports in Florida including Punta Gorda (PGD) instead of the Ft. Meyers / Southwest Florida Regional Airport (RSW).

Some of the secondary airports they use are extremely close to nearby, larger airports, which handle the majority of commercial traffic. In the case of Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG), Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) is a mere 20 mile drive. St. Petersburg-Clearwater International (PIE) is only a 14 mile drive from Tampa International (TPA), a 20 minute trip, if you’re doing the speed-limit, mostly on the I-275 bridge across old Tampa Bay.

Another key destination for Allegiant is Orlando – here they use Orlando Sanford Intl (SFB) instead of the much larger, Orlando International Airport (MCO). The two are a bit further apart, but not by much – 33 miles by automobile, or about 40 minutes driving.

On the west coast, you’ll find Allegiant at Bellingham International (BLI) — Bellingham, Washington is a large community north of Seattle, but right on the border with British Columbia, Canada.  With the city of Vancouver, BC, not much further, they have quite the catchment area – did I mention it makes travel cheaper for Canadian’s who don’t have to pay airport immigrations and customs fees to make the drive across? It’s a great strategy to operate from secondary airports right on the border.

From Bellingham, Washington, you can find a selection of non-stop flights to Los Angeles (LAX), Oakland (OAK), Las Vegas (LAS), San Diego (SAN), Palm Springs (PSP), and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway (AZA). Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is another secondary airport with Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) a mere 22 miles away.

Alaska Airlines, which serves the West Coast and Alaska is also a player at Bellingham with non-stops to their hub in Seattle, but non-stops to Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as Las Vegas. It’s amazing the traffic an airport just across the border will generate.

Phoenix, one of Allegiant’s leisure markets, has non-stop flights from Peoria, IL (PIA), Sioux Falls, South Dakota (FSD), South Bend, Indiana (SBN), Grand Rapids, MI (GRR), Fargo, North Dakota (FAR), Duluth, Minnesota (DLH), Rapid City, South Dakota (RAP), Missoula, Montana (MSO), Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID), Bozeman, Montana (BZN), Bismark, North Dakota (BIS), Great Falls, Montana (GFT), Fort Collins Regional (FNL), Colorado Springs (COS), Quad Cities / Moline (MLI), Appleton, WI (ATW), Tri-Cities – Pasco, WA (PSC), Billings, Montana (BIL), Minot, ND (MOT), Grand Forks (GFK), Springfield, Missouri (SGF), Grand Island, Nebraska (GRI), and Wichita, Kansas (ICT).

The above is just their Phoenix market, but as you see they take smaller cities and provide non-stop jet service to leisure destinations. Allegiant also offers package vacations for those looking to plan their entire trip at once.

From Orlando Sanford, you’ll find they fly to a variety of cities, some of which overlap above, including Plattsburgh, New York (PBG), Grand Rapids, Michigan (GRR), Allentown, PA (ABE), Fargo, ND (FAR), Williamsburg, Virginia (PHF), Lexington, KY (LEX), Youngstown, OH (YNG), Huntington, West Virginia (HTS), Owensboro, Kentucky (OWB), and Ashville Regional in North Carolina (AVL).

This is only a portion of the cities they serve, but the one thing they’re good at is connecting markets with little or no service to top leisure destinations be it Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando, or the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater areas —- or Laughlin, Nevada or the casinos on the Gulf of Mexico.

Allegiant operates a fleet of MD-82 and MD-83 aircraft in an all economy setup as well as the Boeing 757-200 for high-density routes and West Coast to Hawaii.

On a final note, the cities served were accurate as of this writing, but when you book with Allegiant, be sure what airport you are flying from — and to, as a result of their use of secondary airports. If you book a rental car for Orlando, you don’t want to land at Orlando Sanford only to find your pickup location is across town at Orlando International Airport.

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