Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Allegiant launches Hawaii flights - Stockton Record

Allegiant launches Hawaii flights - Stockton Record

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Buy This Photo Loading... By Michael Fitzgerald Record Staff
Writer November 19, 2012 12:00 AM

An Allegiant Air jetliner filled with 223 eager air travelers bid
aloha to Stockton on Sunday and flew the first-ever commercial
passenger flight from Stockton to Hawaii.

Every one of the Boeing 757's seats was booked when the discount
carrier's airplane took off from Stockton Metropolitan Airport at 5:30
p.m. Next stop: Honolulu International Airport.

"I brought all my bathing suits, all my sarongs," beamed Kassey
Dolan. "That's all I'm going to wear. I can't wait."

Travelers anticipated balmy weather, sunny and 80 degrees, as opposed
to soggy Stockton. They raved about ticket prices, as low as $99, one

"It was kind of impulsive," Justine Alcocer said of the getaway. "We
saw the ticket price and it was a good price."

The affordable tickets enabled the Alcocers to take their teenage
daughter and her friend, Ellie Sims, 15. A fashionista, Sims packed
five bathing suits for the seven-day stay.

"I had more," Sims admitted. "I had to narrow it down. I'd be so
embarrassed if I went on the beach and somebody said, 'Didn't you wear
that one before?'"

To celebrate the event, the airport hosted a reception. Dignitaries
such as San Joaquin Supervisor Steve Bestolarides were draped with
colorful leis.

"It's a good thing because it's opening up Stockton's airport to
other destinations," Bestolarides said. "Hopefully, long-term, we'll
have other carriers and other destinations."

When the plane from Hawaii arrived about 3:30 p.m., the airport fire
department gave it a water cannon salute.

Allegiant lures customers with bargain-basement airfares. It profits
by bundling them with such options as hotels, rental cars and golf

The model has worked well with flights to Las Vegas.

Flights to Long Beach and Palm Springs, however, did not work out.

"I think it's a huge milestone for the airport," Airport Director
Patrick Carreno said. "You can't really beat $99 after taxes to
Hawaii. Especially at this airport, with the convenience."

Carreno said he expected the low fares to remain until the Christmas
travel season, which traditionally sees hikes. If the once-weekly
flights stay full, Allegiant may add a second flight.

"If this works, maybe we'll get Maui," Carreno added.

The alluring prices reversed travel patterns of Stockton air
travelers used to travelling to other northern California airports.
Seemingly half the passengers were from out of town.

"We heard on the radio they were running a promotion, so there you
go!" said Patricia Contreras of West Sacramento.

Courtney Keyler, who usually flies Southwest Airlines out of Oakland,
said he was taking his 68th business trip of the year. It was his
first out of Stockton.

"I'll do business Monday through Wednesday," Keyler said, "but I'm
obviously going to enjoy the rest of my time there."

Keyler said he would golf. Others announced plans to swim, climb
Diamond Head volcano, drink pi

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