Allegiant flying high after 18 months in Gulfport

Updated: May. 1, 2019 at 4:40 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Allegiant, a low-cost air carrier, has been flying out of the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport for the last 18 months.

Officials are continuing efforts to make sure the carrier stays in the air with a stop on the Coast for years to come.

On Wednesday, the Allegiant flight from Gulfport to Orlando was almost full.

Last year, the Mississippi Development Authority gave the carrier a $750,000 subsidy to help the carrier make a profit. More help is expected to come.

“Well, they’ve started year two. And so, they were here for the initial year, and they’ve begin year two. And so, Allegiant is still evaluating our market obviously as any airline does. Any airline follows volume and not potential,” explained Clay Williams, airport executive director.

Some of the carrier’s business is made up of people taking Allegiant out for a spin for the first time.

“This is a straight shot from Gulfport to Orlando, so a good price, good flight. So, we’re ready to enjoy it,” said passenger Phillip Dunnam, along with his family.

Some passengers enjoy the carrier for various reasons.

“I like the rate. The staff is very friendly. I’ve never had a problem flying as a disabled passenger,” said Patricia Edwards.

One passenger said you can’t beat the cost.

“Mainly just for the price. We thought it was a really good deal, just a quick flight over and back,” said Dana Hardy.

Some travelers just prefer Allegiant over other carriers.

“I’ve flown about five times. I like the price and the time. It’s fast, quick, the staff, everything,” said Melissa Rini.

One of the perks Allegiant offers, setting them apart from much of the competition, is something that’s only offered to the men and women who served in the military.

“They give us up to three bags free, which saves a considerable amount of money. Priority boarding, they let us board second on the plane. They just treat us great. They treat us veterans great,” said Phillip Manley, a Navy veteran.

Williams said the key to keeping Allegiant here is its low cost and accessibility.

“It’s affordable. It provides a slightly longer than one hour flight to Orlando. It beats driving eight, nine hours in the car," he said.

Allegiant offers the direct flights to Orlando on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Roughly 19,000 passengers flew with the carrier in the first 18 months in Gulfport.

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