Allegiant apparently decided to leave a quarter of the plane behind on a flight last week, arguably due to understaffing their station in Lafayette, Louisiana. According to passengers the agent working the ticket counter simply walked away with about 30 customers still in line trying to get checked in and obtain boarding passes. The passengers claim this happened more than 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure while the airline claims it happened 32 minutes prior, actually inside their published 45 minute rule.
The part of the story that simply doesn’t make sense at all to me, however, is this claim from an Allegiant spokesperson:
We made every effort to contact the flight crew and hold the plane, however, we were unable to do so.
In what world are we living that an airline is unable to contact the crew operating a flight while the plane is still on the ground? Did they not have the number to connect with the local station office? Or the gate? Or the pilot? Or the tower? Or the ACARS system? Seems to me there are a lot of ways they could have held the plane; it is shocking that they all failed.
The other rather awkward part about this is that they’ve basically admitted they are understaffed at their stations. Having the same agent responsible for the ticket counter, baggage and the gate is just begging for something to go wrong. It is certainly possible to share some of those responsibilities amongst a limited staff, but if there’s really only one person doing that stuff then they’ve got a problem.
And this brings us back to the post title. Always check in online in advance, even if you think you’ll be at the airport in plenty of time. There are so many different things that could happen – many of which I’ve personally experienced – where having already completed that online check in process more or less saves the day. It is a couple moments out of your life at any point in the 24 hours leading up to the flight that can mean the difference between making the flight or not.
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