Seasonal stop

Allegiant’s Myrtle Beach flights to stop, resume in spring

If you want to fly to Myrtle Beach on low-fare carrier Allegiant Air, you better plan to go before Sept. 19.

Allegiant Air’s nonstop weekend service from McGhee Tyson Airport to Myrtle Beach will end on Sept. 19, with plans to begin again in the Spring of 2011. Sabrina LoPiccolo, public relations manager for Allegiant, said the airline offers year-round service to some destinations, including its service from McGhee Tyson to several Florida locations, but others, including Myrtle Beach, are “seasonal,” based on demand.

LoPiccolo told Blount Today that this is not a change from their original strategy when they initiated the service to Myrtle Beach from Knoxville. “Knoxville was announced as having seasonal service, and we have not changed our strategy. Thus far, we remain pleased with the response from the community and are happy to offer great low fares on this route,” she said. “We are always evaluating our markets and considering new possibilities, whether it is adding a new route or additional flights.”

LoPiccolo said that after the current flight schedule expires Jan. 31, a new one would be posted with Myrtle Beach flights resuming sometime in the spring.

In an interview with the Knoxville News Sentinel, LoPiccolo told business writer Ed Marcum, “We tend to cut back on flights during off-season and then offer them again when vacation season starts.”

Allegiant’s Florida destinations include Orlando, Tampa Bay, Fort Lauderdale and the Southwest Florida coast.

In February when the airline announced the Myrtle Beach flights, press materials gave details of a special $29.99 one-way fare and free hotel stay promotion as part of the start of service. The press release indicated the promotional flights would not be available after Sept. 19, but did not say Myrtle Beach flights in general would cease after that time.

LoPiccolo said she did not have figures available on Knoxville’s Myrtle Beach route but said the company is pleased with its success. “We are very happy with the route so far,” she said. “We also provide (Myrtle Beach) service to other markets and, as a whole, Myrtle Beach is a very popular destination.”

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