Spokane flight cancelled due to lack of equipment




Posted on January 21, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 21 at 7:08 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--An Allegiant flight was cancelled in mid-January because it was not equipped with the right equipment to land at the Spokane Airport in low-visibility.

Passengers said frustration was an understatement when their Allegiant flight to Hawaii was delayed for two days and then ultimately canceled. They were told the delay was due to fog.

Scott Draper said he was told their plane arriving from Boise could not land in Spokane because of low visibility. He said he was shocked at Allegiant’s answer when he asked why other flights were not having the same problem.

“The person behind the desk explained to me, they are a low-cost carrier. And, as such, they do not have the equipment on board their planes that other airlines have, that allows them to land in Category 3 weather,” said Draper.

The Spokane Airport installed a Category 3 landing system on the runway 17 years ago. It is specifically for low visibility situations. Not all airlines are created equal.

“In order to take advantage of it, the aircraft would have to have their appropriate equipment onboard and then the specific flight crew has to be certified to fly the Spokane Category 3 instrument approach. So, it's a two-step process,” said Spokane International Airport spokesman Todd Woodard.

Woodard added the feature is up to individual airlines.

Allegiant said it installs equipment to meet minimum requirements of a half-mile visibility. An airline spokesperson said it is not specialized for heavy fog.

“Other low-cost carriers seem to be able to handle it just fine. And here's Allegiant just floundering for two days straight,” said Draper.

Draper said two passengers from Lewiston just drove home after their flight was canceled because they had already missed a cruise they were going to catch in Honolulu.

Draper and his wife drove to Seattle and caught a flight out of Bellingham. It was not on Allegiant.    

Allegiant Airlines did offer a full refund to the passengers on the canceled flight.