August 23, 2012 Allegiant Air Goes Head-to-Head with a Legacy Airline
Today, Allegiant Air announced that they will be starting service between Phoenix Mesa airport and Honolulu. This service will be three times weekly with an afternoon flight outbound and a morning return the following day. This marks the first time Allegiant has really gone head-to-head with a US legacy airline. Allegiant has been primarily a low-cost leisure airline bring passengers from airport that do not see much if any major air service to Las Vegas. However, recently the airline has been changing that model. Over the past two years or so Allegiant has been making moves to acquire second hand Boeing 757-200’s and open service to the Hawaiian Islands. This is not Allegiant’s first route to Hawaii. Previously, Allegiant has announced service to Honolulu from Bellingham WA, Eugene OR, Santa Maria CA, Stockton CA, Boise ID, Fresno CA, Las Vegas NV, and Spokane WA. Allegiant is set to compete with Alaska Air on the Bellingham route (which Alaska started to preempt Allegiant service). As you can see these routes, with the exception of Bellingham, are not served by any other airline.
This new service from Phoenix Mesa will compete at least indirectly with US Airways service from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport where US offers 10x Weekly service during the Winter season. An unscientific search shows Allegiant pricing round-trips out at $378.00, with Allegiant’s bag and seat fees the price rises to $580.00 approximately depending number of bags and seat selected. US Airways is currently charging $803.00 for a flight on the same days, plus similar fees. Currently, Allegiant’s flights do not come up in Expedia and Orbitz Phoenix-Honolulu searches. I don’t know if that will change or even if US will take Allegiant seriously in this market. United’s one-stop service is about half of US’s and with bag fees and such is about equal to Allegiant’s all in fare.
Allegiant is a leisure carrier, it is interesting that they chose to go head-to-head with US Airways and to do so in Phoenix which is also home to a large Southwest Airlines operation. Allegiant is building up Mesa with flights into other destinations. It’s clear from the routes announced that Allegiant intends to have a large presence in Phoenix. Living near Phoenix, I can state that fares out of Phoenix have been generally been tied to Southwest Airlines. Allegiant, intends on at least some level to change the two incumbent carriers. The question is whether or not this service will be accepted by the local market as competing with US Airways and Southwest. Currently Mesa just announced service to Denver on Frontier and there is service to Dallas on Spirt Airlines.
Personally, I hope this service sticks around, because the fares are too high out of Phoenix.