Allegiant Air's Success Comes With No Frills Allegiant Air is a rare success story in the troubled airline industry. Its ticket fares are often some of the lowest on the market — but they are available mostly to travelers who live in smaller towns and don't mind paying extra fees for some basics.

Allegiant Air's Success Comes With No Frills

Allegiant Air's Success Comes With No Frills

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Allegiant Air has some of the lowest fare prices in the industry: A ticket from Pennsylvania to Florida, for example, can run as low as $29 one-way. That price assumes you don't need to check a bag, choose your seat, board first or fly from a major airport hub.

Allegiant flies from 65 airports, in places such as Fargo, N.D.; Allentown, Pa.; and Roanoke, Va. Managing Director Ponder Harrison says that avoiding places other airlines fly is part of the Allegiant's business plan, as is pulling out of a market if it stops making money. The airline also charges fees for baggage, seat designation and other add-ons for customers who do not want the complete no-frills experience.

"Part of the thesis was to enter markets in small-town America and take those customers to what we term 'world-class leisure destinations,' really places people want to go," Harrison says.

Those leisure destinations include Las Vegas, Orlando and Phoenix. The airline's Web site doesn't even have a button saying "book a flight." It says "book a vacation." Allegiant also does not book tickets through Orbitz, Expedia or other travel brokers. The only way to get a ticket is directly through the airline.

Allegiant has turned a profit for 24 straight quarters.

"Allegiant is a little version of what Southwest was 25 years ago," says independent aviation analyst Hubert Horan.

But Horan says Southwest has gotten so big that it's more than a bit like every other airline. It lost $91 million in the first quarter of 2009.

If Allegiant stays with its current model, it might remain one of the few success stories in the troubled airline business.

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