Nowadays, a large majority of air passengers buy their tickets online, given the practice of electronic ticketing. However, some ultra low cost carriers encourage you to book tickets at the airport. I’ve written about this practice at both Spirit Airlines and Breeze Airways, and in this article I wanted to see how you can save money buying your Allegiant Air tickets at the airport.
Save money by buying Allegiant tickets at the airport
Allegiant Air is one of the largest ultra-low-cost carriers in the United States, as the airline serves a variety of point-to-point routes that are otherwise underserved. Even if you don’t go out of your way to fly Allegiant, chances are you’ll find yourself in a situation where Allegiant has the most convenient flight.
Allegiant Air generally has incredibly low base fares, although you’ll see that each ticket includes an “e-Carrier Usage Fee” of $22 per passenger per segment. This applies to all reservations made through the Allegiant website or call center.
You won’t really notice these fees unless you look really closely. For example, take the flight below from St. Petersburg (PIE) to Flint (FNT). The fare is $84, and on the very last page before booking, you can see a breakdown of that, and you’ll notice there’s a $22 “carrier usage fee.”
If you book your ticket through the Allegiant website or call center, you are responsible for paying this fee. However, there is a way to avoid it – if you book at any Allegiant airport counter instead, you won’t have to pay the “Carrier Usage Fee”.
Now, Allegiant doesn’t want to make it easy for you to book at the airport. The Allegiant website lists the times you can buy tickets at the airport. The airport ticket office is available for one hour after a flight is scheduled to depart, so there is often only a one-hour window on certain days of the week when you can travel with a ticket.
While it might not be worth making a special trip to the airport for a one-way ticket for one person to save $22, if you’re traveling in a larger group, booking multiple tickets, etc., the savings can add up.
It’s funny how Allegiant tries to hide that you can tag your reservations at the airport. For example, if you navigate to the Allegiant FAQ, you will see the following:
Can we buy our tickets at the airport?
Travelers are advised to book in advance through the Allegiant Air website or customer call center. Airline tickets for same-day travel can be purchased at the airport counter depending on availability. Airport counter opening hours are limited and vary by location.
You do not need to travel the same day to make a reservation at the airport. On the contrary, Allegiant’s logic does not hold. The airline says it will only sell you tickets at the airport for one hour after a flight departs, but also says you can book at the airport for same-day travel.
Why Allegiant tickets are cheaper at the airport
Ok, you can save money by booking your Allegiant tickets at the airport, but what is the logic of this policy? It comes down to taxes.
Airlines must pay a 7.5% federal excise tax on airline tickets, but not on optional fees. For something to be considered an optional charge, there must be a way to avoid paying it. So Allegiant doesn’t have to pay taxes on the “carrier usage fee” portion of the ticket cost, because it’s technically a fee, rather than an airfare, since you can avoid it.
Of course, Allegiant doesn’t want it to be easy or lucrative to avoid paying these fees, which is why the airline only allows you to avoid this by booking at the airport, and severely limits hours. where you can do it.
Virtually all ultra-low-cost carriers have similar fees that make up a large portion of the airfare, to reduce the taxes they have to pay on ticket prices. In this particular case, Allegiant saves 7.5% of $22, or about $1.65. These tax savings add up when you consider the number of tickets sold by Allegiant (Allegiant typically carries over 15 million passengers per year).
At the end of the line
Just like with other ultra low cost carriers, you can save money by buying your Allegiant tickets at the airport. This will save you $22 per person per segment because you won’t have to pay the “carrier usage fee”.
Allegiant certainly doesn’t make it easy, as you can only book tickets for an hour after a flight departs, so you really have to time your trip to the airport. While it’s probably not worth the trip to the airport to save $22, if you book multiple tickets, some might find it worth it.
Have you ever bought Allegiant Air tickets at the airport?
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