60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft investigates airline Allegiant Air and his findings are important for every traveler to know about before booking with the low-cost airline company.
As reported by Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes,
Allegiant Air is a small, ultra-low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas, that happens to be one of the country’s most profitable airlines. But, according to federal aviation records and interviews with pilots, mechanics and industry experts, it may also be the most dangerous.
Public documents show an alarming number of aborted takeoffs, cabin pressure loss, emergency descents, and unscheduled landings. Yet for the most part, allegiant’s difficulties have managed to stay under the radar of the flying public.
Allegiant Air is an ultra-low-cost carrier primarily known for its rock-bottom fares and its high profit margins. But what really sets it apart from the competition is that its planes have been nearly three and a half times more likely to have serious in-flight mechanical failures than other U.S. Airlines. That figure comes from a seven-month review we conducted of safety records on file with the Federal Aviation Administration. What’s equally surprising to us is what some have called the FAA’s passive approach to correcting Allegiant’s difficulties
For the past seven months, we have been scrutinizing ‘service difficulty reports’ filed by Allegiant with the FAA. They are official, self-reported records of problems experienced by their aircraft. What we found raised some disturbing questions about the performance of their fleet. Between January 1st, 2016 and the end of last October, we found more than 100 serious mechanical incidents, including mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted takeoffs.
Allegiant has some of the lowest fares, the least frills, and the oldest fleet in the business. Right now, nearly 30% of its planes are antiquated, gas-guzzling McDonnell-Douglas MD-80s, almost all of them purchased second-hand from foreign airlines. It also has more than its share of angry, traumatized passengers willing to share their experiences.
Click here to get more of the in-depth 60 Minutes Allegiant Air investigation by Steve Kroft.