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Deal is hard to beat but better read small print

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POSTED July 5, 2010 2:15 a.m.
When Allegiant Air first announced its low-cost service from Stockton to Long Beach about a month or so ago, some of my colleagues were quick to act.

And for good reason: $9.99 was the introductory rate and good only through the month of July.

They made calls to Allegiant Air to take advantage of the offer, discovering that the deal – albeit still a great price – included additional taxes and fees.

The discount airfare was for the one-way flight segment and covered the price of the seat.

My colleagues also found out that it was cheaper to drive up to the Stockton Metropolitan Airport and book the flights there rather than through Allegiant via telephone, thus, avoiding the hefty surcharges.

All told, they paid somewhere in the area of $40 for just the round-trip fare. As for baggage, the cost was extra, with the first one ranging from $14.99 to $29.99 per person. Ditto that for any additional luggage.

FYI: Those planning to take carry-on bags should always check the Transportation Security Administration website to determine what you can and can’t take aboard.

Now considering the price and convenience of parking and using the nearby terminal, the Allegiant Air deal is as great as it gets.

The airline is currently offering fares as low as $19.99 to the same destination coupled with one free night stay at a Southern California hotel. The choices include Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Best Western Pavilions, Best Western Stovall’s Inn, Crowne Plaza Anaheim Resort, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, and the Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort.

The advertised cost for the airfare deal – it must be purchased by July 14 and is valid for travel through Jan. 31, 2011 – is that of the seat and based on the one-way flight segment. Not included are taxes and other fees.

In order to get the free night stay you must book a minimum of three nights at the Allegiant Air preferred hotels.

The low-priced package deal is made possible by Allegiant Air, LLC, a subsidiary of Allegiant Travel Company.

“We’re pleased to now offer the San Joaquin Valley affordable and convenient air service to Southern California,” Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant Air president, said in a press release. “We began serving Stockton in 2006 with flights to Las Vegas and we look forward to offering even move travel value to the community with our new service to Long Beach.”

The new flights from Stockton to Long Beach operate five times weekly, with services scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

The non-stop flights depart from Stockton Metropolitan at 11:05 a.m., arriving at Long Beach Airport at 12:20 p.m.

Flights leave Long Beach at 1 p.m., arriving in Stockton at 2:15 p.m.

Allegiant Air began its low-cost, non-stop service to Las Vegas on June 16, 2006, with much fanfare.

The deals are hard to beat.

But, as always, it pays to read the fine print.

More information can be obtained at www.allegiant.com.

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