FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – Hundreds of passengers are frustrated after one airline has seen a slew of delays and cancellations in and out of Flint’s Bishop International Airport.
“We were looking forward to some sunshine and time away and it just wasn’t in the cards,” said Michelle Smith.
Smith said she and her family were on an Allegiant plane destined for Florida on Saturday. Everything seemed fine, but after sitting at the gate for two hours everyone had to deplane for what Smith said was a computer glitch. Then she saw luggage coming off the plane.
A couple of hours after deplaning, the flight was cancelled. Smith tells TV5 Allegiant told her she could wait for another flight.
“We stood in line for about 45 minutes for them to tell us there are no flights out. The next flight out is Wednesday, which is when we were supposed to come home,” Smith said.
By this time, Smith said all the flights had departed Bishop International Airport. She was out of options. The only thing left to do was console three disappointed kids and eat the loss of their AirBnB rental in Florida.
Smith doesn’t understand why Allegiant canceled the flight.
“We had an entirely full flight and there was a full crew. So, the reports saying that it was because they didn’t have enough people flying, I’m not buying that,” Smith said.
Nino Sapone is the CEO at Bishop International Airport. He tells TV5 there have been 22 canceled Allegiant flights from the airport this month.
“We don’t like it. It’s disturbing. But industry-wide the airlines are going through some tough times and everybody knows with the labor force and hiring,” Sapone said. “Really that’s a small percentage of their deplanements here. They’ve tripled in size. And again, it’s during the heaviest time of year, peak season for spring breakers, and they’re having staffing issues also.”
Sapone expects the number of cancellations to improve in the coming months. He tells TV5 Allegiant is doing everything they can to keep flights on schedule.
“They don’t want to cancel flights. This is their bread and butter season. They made a commitment to this region; they made a commitment to this airport.”
Whether things at Allegiant improve or not, it doesn’t matter to Smith. She tells TV5 this is the only vacation Allegiant will have the chance to ruin.
“We definitely won’t be flying Allegiant again,” Smith said.
TV5 did reach out to Allegiant for an interview, but they declined and referred to a statement they sent earlier.
“As a result of labor shortage the airline had to cancel some flights or reduce the frequency of some routes in its network…and passengers who are impacted will be re-accommodated to other flights or receive a refund.”
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