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Half of This Airline’s Planes Broke Down in the Air

Half of This Airline’s Planes Broke Down in the Air
Meg Butler

You read that statistic correctly.

According to a new report by 60 Minutes, budget airline Allegiant Air has more midair incidents than all other airlines. To put a figure on it, roughly half of the airline’s flights have midair breakdowns. Incidents include aborted takeoffs, loss of cabin pressure, smoke in the cabin, unscheduled landings and even engine failure. And they’re roughly 3.5 times more likely to suffer them than other airlines.

Why? In a word, “age.” Allegiant’s fleet is old by industry standards and some planes in its fleet have been flying for 22 years. And those years of wear and tear mean that they’re more likely to break down.

However, following reports that the airline’s lack of in-flight reliability is starting to affect its bottom line, Allegiant has announced that it will be replacing “some” of its existing planes with new Airbus planes.

View Comments (7)


  1. rylan

    April 17, 2018 at 5:20 am

    You can fly old planes if they keep up with the maintenance schedules and do more than just minimum required intervals and deferring fixing relatively problems that then become a bigger issue with another system breaks.

  2. tod701

    April 17, 2018 at 6:39 am

    Based on this article and its arithmetic the industry averages a “midair breakdown” on one out of seven flights.

    1/2 divided by 3.5 = 1/7.

    Seems a bit high.

  3. 1footman

    April 17, 2018 at 6:43 am

    B.A.’s 747 are all that age.No wonder there’s bed-bugs on them!

  4. ordtpa

    April 17, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Allegiant Air only survives because it flies from airports with no competing airlines to a few destinations such as Clearwater-St Pete. To make matters worse they will only fly from these airports two or three times a week. Most of its passengers only fly once or twice a year, and are willing to take a chance for “cheap” fares. God help you if your flight is cancelled since the next one may be four days later! So if your willing to roll the dice, Allegiant is your airline.

  5. captobie

    April 17, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    I haven’t watched the episode yet, but did they mention the Allegiant pilot who was fired for making an emergency landing? The FA reported the smell of smoke in the cabin during takeoff, so the pilot turned around and landed. Allegiant fired the pilot, said he overreacted. If I needed another reason never to fly Allegiant, that was it. If the pilot thinks something is wrong with the plane, I want him to put it down ASAP. I don’t want the office making that decision.

  6. sdsearch

    April 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    “To put a figure on it, roughly half of the airline’s flights have midair breakdowns.”

    Where does that figure come from? It’s certainly not in the linked 60 minutes video report. There they only mention 3.5 times more likely than other airlines, and “over 100” incidents found.

    And as tod701 wrote above, it sounds mighty suspicious, because it would mean that the other airlines have 1 in 7 flights with midair breakdowns, and that figure obviously sounds very suspicious.

  7. sdsearch

    April 17, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    I just realized, the headline says half of their PLANES broke down, which is somewhat believable (but it’s still not sources from the linked video!), but the article claims half of their FLIGHTS broke down, and that’s what’s hard to believe.

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