Flying Allegiant Air from Niagara Falls Airport
This one is for the Canadians.
The ones drowning under the weight of fees and taxes
The ones suffering from way too much winter
The ones who Just. Need. A. Vacation! But are low on the funds to make it happen
I’ve heard your cries. I’ve found your salvation.
It is just across the border and it’s close to the outlet mall. What is this paradise you ask? Niagara Falls International Airport.
Most of my flights are out of Pearson International Airport. It’s simply the only choice out of Toronto for direct international flights. I fight traffic to get there and security lines are long. I’m a big fan of Porter Air which flies out of the island airport but destinations are limited and prices are often as much or more than the Pearson flights. And I’ve flown out of Buffalo on occasion but the deal has to be really good to make it worthwhile. So when I was searching for a quick “save me from this frozen punishment” trip for the four of us, I was glum until I remembered Allegiant.
Allegiant | Niagara Falls
The sounds I made as I called out to Ish to come and see the prices I was seeing for flights to Florida in January could be classified as screams. I haven’t seen prices this low in more than a decade.
The no-frills airline operates on a build-your-own-flight model: tickets, seats, bags…all sold separately
And seeing these items individually priced can make you think twice: A carry on bag is $35. A checked bag $35. And it’s even more if you don’t pay for them in advance.Want to guarantee your family sits together? That’ll be $19 per seat, please.
I grumbled as I conceded that we had to bring at least two carry-on bags or risk spending our days naked in Florida (What? It’s warm there!) but the final tally still had me grinning like I’d won the travel jackpot.
For four tickets to Orlando with reserved seats and two pieces of carry on : US$670.
The other costs? About $20 in gas. $ 60 in parking (1week) and that’s it. All in!
And there were other things about the airline I liked:
1. The chairs don’t recline. Nope. No chance of a strangers head in my lap.
2. They know how to board a plane: Zones were adhered to. They explained what the zones meant ahead of boarding and why you might have a different number than the people you were traveling with. People without bags board first. Those with bags after.
3. The Airline hostesses were funny: They reminded me of Westjet. The suggestions that “The first ring of the attendant call button is free but every one after that is $5” struck the right level of snark.
The airport was a pleasure too. The parking is a two minute walk from the terminal at most. With only four gates, crowds are minimal and security was a breeze. On the day we left there was only one flight out for the whole day!
There is free wifi, lots of plugs, gorgeous windows and clean seats. About 10 rocking chairs are placed throughout and I spotted a small cluster of massage chairs where for $1 I got a two minute massage that erased the 1.5 he drive from Toronto.
If I had to point out faults, I could only find two:
1. There’s no restaurant inside the terminal. We found out before parking and headed back down the street to grab a bite but if you showed up hungry, parked and went in you might be disappointed .
2. They only fly to Florida stops out of Niagara Falls. Ish hopped on the internet almost as soon as we landed to figure out where we’d fly them next and realized the options are limited.
But that’s it! Our family has no problem giving the experience an A+
ADDENDUM: Even Canadians who aren’t in Toronto can benefit from the Allegiant routes. West Coasters may want to consider Bellingham (BLI) with routes to Nevada, California and Arizona. Winnipegers might consider Grand Forks (GFK) to Nevada Florida and Arizona. Ottawa, Montreal and East might consider Plattsburgh, NY (PBG) or Burlington, Vermont (BTV) with routes to Florida as well