3OYS: Death no excuse for Allegiant refund

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by Warren Trent, Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 10:40 PM

MESA, Ariz -- A Valley woman is outraged after finding out she's losing hundreds of dollars. That's because her mother died less than 24 hours before she was scheduled to board a flight.

The airline is Allegiant, which is based out of Mesa Gateway Airport. Allegiant has been in the news a lot this year regarding all kinds of customer complaints.  But a Valley woman says her complaint takes the cake.   

First, we go back to a December 2012 3 On Your Side report.

“I've been imprisoned by Allegiant Airlines for over nine hours and I'm outraged," Sherri Montoya said.

From trapping passengers on the tarmac for hours to canceling flights without notice.

“I went up to the counter and said, 'She's going to Rapid City' and one of the lady's looked at me and said 'No, we closed that flight," Montoya said.

In the past year, 3 On Your Side has reported one horror story after another about Allegiant Air.

And just when we thought we'd heard it all, we met Ashley Haynes.

She showed us family photographs.

"This is our family when we were younger. This is my mom, my dad," said Haynes.

This summer Ashley booked flights on Allegiant for herself and her parents.

“I spent $760 for three passengers and that was roundtrip for all of us to go to Iowa," she explained.

But only hours before their two o'clock departure, Ashley said they discovered her mother had passed away unexpectedly.

Even though she was in shock over her mother's sudden death, Ashley collected herself and notified Allegiant.

"Immediately after everything calmed down, I called Allegiant, telling them we won't be able to make the flight, and asking if I can get a refund," she said.

Ashley says not only did it take 45 minutes to get someone on the phone, but an Allegiant representative told Ashley something that left her speechless.

"Due to our policy, under terms and conditions, we do not refund any amount of money unless it's within 24 hours in advanced," the airline stated.

"I said I understand that, but the day we were supposed to leave, we woke up and my mom was passed away already at 4:30 a.m. and our flight was leaving at 2 p.m.," Ashley stated.

Basically, Allegiant was standing firm on its terms and conditions and was unwilling to make an exception.

"No wiggle room they said, even with bereavement, if it's not within 24 hours, there's no refund," said Ashley.

Allegiant's policy does, however, allow something else.

"I was in tears, obviously he knew I was upset and he said, I'm sorry, ma'am, the only thing we can do is give you a voucher for 80 dollars," Ashley recalled.

Frustrated and angry, Ashley contacted 3 On Your Side. We got a hold of Allegiant.

Micah Lillard, a public relations specialist for Allegiant, emailed us a statement that reads in part; "While we empathize with Ms. Haynes, we are unable to make exceptions to our cancellation policies."
  
3 On Your Side even requested several times to sit down with Maurice j. Gallagher, Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Air to explain the situation. Maybe he would see the light.

However, a public relations manager for Allegiant never allowed that to happen. For now, Ashley remains stunned.

"I'm sitting here left with no refund, $760 down the drain.  We didn't even get to leave on our flight and it was because my mom had passed away. I will not be flying Allegiant Airlines ever again," she proclaimed

Allegiant did give Ashley an $80 voucher for a future flight but after spending $760 on unused tickets and then having to bury her mother, Ashley said no thanks.

 

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