Bismarck News

Allegiant Air Under Fire... Here's What ND Travelers Have to Say

Bismarck - After an episode of CBS' 60 minutes questioned the safety of an airline known for it's low fares, many travelers around the country are feeling nervous.

Emily Medalen reports on why Allegiant Air is under fire - and what frequent flyers think.

CBS correspondent Steve Kroft says he spent over 7 months investigating the safety record of Allegiant Air.

He says he did so because of a close call he had years ago , and was concerned about the safety of others.
Allegiant Air flies in and out of Bismarck and Minot's airports several times per week.
I spoke with local travelers about their concerns.
"I want to fly, but I don't want to die..." says Ron Kuecker, Webster, South Dakota.

Allegiant Air is under scrutiny after CBS' 60 minutes aired a segment stating that the airline is unsafe.
Every month, thousands of people in North Dakota take these very same flights across the country.

"We're going to Las Vegas," says Roger Heidbreder, Bottineau, North Dakota.
"Just want to get to Arizona," says Betty Schall, Minot, North Dakota.

The third hot spot is Orlando, Florida.
On Sunday, CBS said the airline has had "an alarming number of aborted takeoffs, cabin pressure loss, emergency descents, and unscheduled landings," and that they're flying "old aircraft."

"I just assume that these airlines have to stay within compliance with FAA regulations, and I expect that for my dollar," says Kuecker.

Since Allegiant began flying out of North Dakota in 2004, over half a million passengers have walked through these lines and gotten on an Allegiant flight.
Now, those who have been doing that for years, are a little nervous.

"I'm having a little apprehension about the whole deal," says Kuecker.

Others aren't as shaken.

"We just take our chances," says Betty Schall, Minot, North Dakota.
You're not nervous at all?
"Nope," said Schall.
"I don't think it's any worry. If the FAA didn't think it was safe, they wouldn't let the planes fly," says Heidbreder.

For many, the biggest perk of the airline - that flies out of over 100 U.S. cities - is the price.

"We like the affordability, and we like the fast flight and all that, but this idea about not having the mechanical things up to grade... it's alarming," says Kuecker.

Kuecker says now, he's unsure about how he's going to fly from here on out.

"I hope they address this problem relatively soon, and get it taken care of. Say a prayer for us people flying Allegiant today."

Allegiant Air put out a statement saying the story on CBS was "negative and innaccurate," and that they will continue to provide "safe and affordable access to air travel" for their customers.
Allegiant Travel Company's stock value fell nearly 3% yesterday, after the 60 Minutes report.

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