I’m not sure how many of you had the chance to see the piece this evening but I wondered if any of you had thoughts on the segment that 60 Minutes did on Allegiant. I was wondering if any of the mentors had anything to add or any comments about what they got right or wrong in the segment. It certainly paints an unflattering picture of the airline and, to an extent, the FAA. Did they get it right or miss the point? Link below for reference.
I have not seen the piece yet. I can tell you that Allegiant has one of the worst safety records in the industry. People get what they pay for.
I’m not shocked and that was a large part of the piece. Another part I wanted perspective on was the culture discouraging pilots from, and in one case apparently firing a pilot for, taking appropriate actions on safety issues. I’ve flown Allegiant before (they service areas where I have family) and have never held a desire to fly for them but after this I don’t think I even want to fly them again.
I just watched the story (HST) and personally I think it made the FAA look worse than Allegiant. Airlines are a business and there’s a constant battle between “production and protection”. This is actually a much more complicated story than 60 Minutes portrayed and it’s really nothing new. As Chris stated people get what they pay for and like it or not it costs money to fly airplanes. This has always been a problem with our industry. The public will watch the story about Allegiant’s poor safety record but they also have short memories. Next week when they need to go to Vegas they’ll check Priceline, look for the lowest number and buy the ticket. There’s also a conflict of interest within the FAA. Part of their policy statement is to “encourage and foster the development of civil aeronautics and air commerce In the United States”. You can’t do that by shutting down airlines. The fact is the whole concept of CRM (Crew Resource Mgmt, a paradigm shift in safety for modern aviation) was created by United Airlines after a serious of fatal crashes. This was not in response to, nor were they required to do so by the FAA or the NTSB, they simply realized crashing airplanes is bad for business. It doesn’t stop there. Allegiant has close to 1,000 pilots. Every day bright shiny perspective pilots come on this forum and majority are all 100% convinced they’re on the fast track to Delta and will be 777 Capts sometime next month. Yes there’s a pilot shortage and yes times are good but the Majors are still VERY selective and no not everyone gets the call. There simply are no guarantees. I happen to have 2 very good friends at Allegiant. I flew with both of them in the Regionals and these are very talented pilots. Degrees, flight experience and better resumes than most. Do you think their dream was to fly for Allegiant? It wasn’t but for whatever reason the big 3 didn’t call and Allegiant did. Why would they fly for an operation with such a poor safety record? Why wouldn’t they blow a whistle? Because they worked very long and hard and are hoping that Airbus type will help them get to a Major before something bad happens and getting fired won’t help their cause.
It’s easy to sit back and say “Allegiant is a bad airline with bad people”. The fact is the government, the flying public and the very nature of our industry allows them to be “one of the most profitable airlines in the country”.
Thank you again for your insight, that’s more or less what I was looking for. I understand not everyone will make it to the big three and as we used to say in car sales there’s a seat for every rear and a rear for every seat. (full disclosure it might have been a more colorful noun than rear) I would never suggest that the pilots are poor or bad, I have gained a better understanding from this site. I was more wondering how such a corporate culture was fostered and allowed by the FAA. I had figured their role as more of a harsh administrator. Thank you for the clarification and insight.