I will be filing breach of contract suit against Allegiant. This airline is truly the Greyhound Bus of the Sky.
I paid in advance for an upgraded "premium" seat. When I boarded, I found an extremely obese woman in my seat. She asked me to give my seat to her - as she had been assigned a center seat at check in and could not fit. I politely told her that I had paid extra for my seat and would prefer to keep it. She became very irrate, but eventually moved to the middle, but continued to make a scene and complain. She was so grossly overweight that she could not put her belongings in the seat under her.
She did not even make an attempt to keep her body off of me nor the poor elderly woman sitting in the window seat. After 45 minutes of her heavy, sweaty and extremely smelly body assualting me via numerous senses, I told her, (politely), I was lowering the armrest between our seats to help us define where each of us belonged. She had a complete and utter meltdown. She started yelling that she was sitting next to an alcoholic, (I had ordered 1 margarita from beverage service with food and hadn't consumed 1/4 of it yet), to the point where flight attends became alarmed. I communicated that she was irrate for being asked to refrain from putting her body on top of mine and I would sincerely appreciate her putting forth an attempt to stay within the confines of her own seat. She responded that she was unable to stay in her seat due to her gross obesity. She told flight attendants that we were all lucky she was not as big as her son, whom she declared to be in excess of 475 lbs, (she was all of 400 lbs - maybe 425?). After several minutes of her yelling and refusing to calm herself - the attendant informed me that I needed to move to the back of the plane and relinquish my seat to her - so she could have both the one I paid for and the one she was assigned at check in. I politely contested this, but was informed if I didn't relinquish my seat to her - Allegiant would have law enforcement waiting at the arrival gate for BOTH of us. I inquired as to why I was being asked to move- and she responded by yelling loudly that she was too overweight and could not fit down the aisle. While I would have certainly and sincerely welcomed any law enforcement intervention at that point and given the circumstances, I conceded to moving to the back of the plane due to the threats of the flight attendants. They were insinuating that I would be arrested if I did not give up my seat to this grossly obese person.
However, this obese passenger presented a very definitive and very severe safety hazard, (sitting in 2nd row), should evacuation of the plane had been necessary. As she had proclaimed loudly that she could not move in the aisle due to her immense obesity - she should have been required to sit at the very back of the plane where she could not block other passengers attempting to exit- or she should not be allowed to board the plane at all. Had an emergency exit been required - she would have gotten into the aisle and by her own admission - was unable to move in the aisle -so would have seriously hindered - or made impossible- any attempts to reach emergency exits for all other passengers. Allegiant breached their contract by insisting I relinquish my pre-paid seat, or face criminal action. They could have and should have denied boarding to this woman. By allowing her to board the aircraft - they also put every passenger on that aircraft at risk.
Given the circumstances -I have been advised that I will be successful with civil action. I have tried over 15 times to call their customer service center to allow them an opportunity to address prior to filing suit - as I really don't take this lightly. However, after over a week of attempting to reach them- I've now conceded that the only recourse is to file. It will cost them 50x more in legal fees, in addition to the judgement that will certainly be awarded, than it would have to attempt proactive resolution, but so be it. I can honestly say I gave them every chance to address. I even tried instant messaging and was told to keep trying their customer service number - which under different circumstances would be humerous given Allegiants deliberate attempts to refrain from any personal customer contact or conversation.
As Allegiant has an extremely lengthy history of abhorent customer service, other lawsuits are imminent I'm sure. Given this, there is no doubt that their stock price will decline, which will ultimately, and negatively, impact their executive management team.
I will also be forwarding a copy of this to the mutual funds listed as their top shareholders. As these fund managers are responsible for making every reasonable attempt to protect their clients' interests - they need to divest their interests in Allegiant as soon as possible.
Individuals can assist in facilitating and accelerating negative financial consequences by contacting your HR / 401K managers. If any of these mutual funds are part of your company's 401K offerings, that they should be advised divest their Allegiant holdings immediately or be excluded from the company's 401K options moving forward. As Allegiant recently announced strong performance, (at the expense of their passengers / customers), the financial press will pick up on this shortly as well I'm sure. The mutual funds with the largest ownership of Allegiant stock are as follows:
T.Rowe Price New Horizons
T. Rowe Price Small Mid-Cap
Franklin Small - Mid Cap Growth A
Vanguard Small Cap Index
Wasatch Small Cap Growth
Vanguard Total Stock Market Inx
Wasatch Core Growth
Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Inv
Several of these are common in 401K offerings and if you hold shares in these funds - you can voice your concerns regarding the long term viability of Allegiant to the fund managers. It is reasonable to assume that with their customer service performance - any bump in earnings and / or stock price will be short lived as they begin to address the imminent lawsuits that result. As everyone knows - even if not all suits are successful in getting big judgements, the costs associated with defending these suits negatively impacts their financial performance. History shows that these judgements are the only consequences that motivate executives to modify their practices - should the company be able to ultimately survive them, which many times they cannot - at least not without filing for bankrupcy. Allegiant's executive management is arrogant and they currently believe that it's cheaper to treat customers badly than resolving / addressing problems. Most juries find this attitude offensive and award judgements accordingly. I have no doubt that this case will be a prime example.
Given the serious nature of the obvious safety violations, I will also be contacting the appropriate government authorities to investigate Allegiant's conduct as they displayed an utter disregard for the safety of their passengers. I know that the authorities will view this situation very seriously and that the fines associated will be as severe and appropriate.