Allegiant begins flying from SDF, but passengers could pay high - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Allegiant begins flying from SDF, but passengers could pay high fees for cheap seats

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -

The first thing most travelers look at when they book a flight is the dollar sign. 

Starting Friday, there's a new discount airline flying out of the Louisville International Airport. Allegiant is bringing six direct flights to Louisville, including four year-round flights to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Meyers, Florida, and two seasonal flights to Destin, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia. Prices can be as low as $53 one-way.

“It would jump out at me, but it would probably make me a little suspicious,” traveler Pam Hargett said.

Passengers say they might be suspicious for a good reason. While the upfront price seems like a steal deal, passengers will get dinged for choosing a discount airline.

“I feel it’s turned into the airline companies doing bait and switches with how they're charging all of these different extra fees now on top of the initial price of what it actually costs,” traveler Gretchen Brees said.

It starts with taxes and fees. Taxes and fees are $38.90 on one upcoming flight.

Next, the airline asks passengers to pick a seat. On that same flight, extra leg room is $18, while a normal seat ranged from $11 to $26, depending on how close to the front of the plane the passenger chose to sit.

“I'm a short person, so obviously I don’t need all the leg room," Brees said. "But people who do need those things, it's kind of unfair."

Next, the airline asks passengers to choose bag and boarding options. Passengers get one free personal item. A carry-on bag costs $15 to buy it online, but according to a sign at the SDF airport Allegiant kiosk, it could be as much as $50 to buy it at the airport. Checked bags starts at $20 online and $50 at the airport, according to the same kiosk sign.

If a passenger prints a boarding pass at the airport, the airline tacks on $5. A soft drink or another beverage on the plane will be between $2 and $7.

After all of that, fees could reach near $200. However, some passengers said as long as airlines are up front about fees, they might not mind paying them if the total still costs less than a traditional airline.

“[As long as] it’s still a less expensive flight, I think that's the main thing.” Hargett said. 

In a statement sent to WDRB, an Allegiant representative says: "We believe that our service offers travelers the ability to customize their travel experience. Don’t need a checked bag? You won’t be paying to subsidize other travelers’ baggage. Don’t care where you sit on the aircraft? We’ll assign you a seat at no additional charge. Additionally, of the six new routes that we will begin serving out of SDF, we will offer the only nonstop option to four of them: Savannah / Hilton Head, Fort Lauderdale, Punta Gorda / Fort Myers and Destin. These convenient nonstop options allow travelers to spend more time on vacation and less time on layovers. There are no hidden fees, and we work hard to make sure that our customers know exactly what they are getting." 

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