VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – The last Allegiant Airlines flight out of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport took off Thursday night after 10 years of service.
With bags in hand and a short security line, passengers got ready to board the last Allegiant plane that would visit the Valley’s airport. For some people on the full flight to Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida, the news came as a shock.
“I just figured that the day we were coming back, they weren’t coming back to here so we booked a flight back to Cleveland,” Jim Taylor said.
About a quarter of Thursday’s passengers booked flights back to other airports in the region like Cleveland, Akron or Pittsburgh and rented cars to drive home.
The ease of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport combined with Allegiant’s cheap flights to Florida kept many people coming back.
The only complaint? Frequent delays.
Even Thursday’s flight, which was supposed to take off at 5:37 p.m., was delayed two hours for what the airline called “mechanical maintenance.”
Just last year, the Federal Aviation Administration cited Allegiant for several minor procedural infractions and required the airline to file a plan to address the findings. It’s since been phasing out its oldest planes.
Even with the delays, though, most people said you couldn’t beat the deal.
“I know that it wasn’t going to be the most extravagant airline because it was cheap, but it was affordable,” Ian Brindley said. “It was all we had to work with so it was good for what we had.”
Allegiant announced last year it was halting operations out of the airport because of low demand. The airline is looking to expand nationally.
Airport authorities are still trying to work out deals with other airlines to bring service back to Vienna.
Other operators have expressed interest in bringing another carrier to the airport, targeting business travelers rather than leisure.
A public forum was held recently in Vienna to gauge the needs of local travelers. One option was a proposal from Southern Airways, which would have provided service to the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. metro area. Travelers here weren’t interested in that, however.
As for Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport employees, some will move to other airports and some will stay on part-time.