Allegiant canceling flights out of Punta Gorda

Published: March 29, 2022 4:25 PM EDT
Updated: March 30, 2022 5:14 AM EDT

More than 20 flights from a Southwest Florida airport to one in North Carolina were canceled, leaving many travelers with few options.

Flights from Allegiant Air out of Punta Gorda were canceled, and the airline’s response to WINK News’ inquiry as to why this happened was the same one heard from several stores and restaurants: “We can’t find enough people to work. ”

As a result of this labor shortage, Allegiant canceled just about every flight out of Punta Gorda to Raleigh, North Carolina, in May, creating chaos for some families.

Brian Freeman has looked forward to his daughter’s wedding practically since the day she was born. The wedding isn’t happening in Southwest Florida but instead in Greensboro, North Carolina, in May. Freeman bought his plane tickets last month, but then he got a text saying Allegiant Airlines canceled his and his wife’s flights.

“We received each two text messages indicating that both of our flights had been canceled. You can imagine the panic that my wife went through when we read this,” Freeman said.

Freeman and his wife regularly fly with Allegiant.

“We’ve never had a flight canceled in advance,” he said.

Freeman, sadly, has company. Allegiant Airlines confirmed that it has canceled all but one flight out of Punta Gorda to Raleigh in May, claiming there’s been an unprecedented labor shortage. Allegiant says the airline is offering extra incentives to attract and retain employees. That’s great for Allegiant, but doesn’t help Freeman get to his daughter’s wedding.

“The timing is bad because this is the time of year that all these snowbirds are heading back north. And I guess a lot of them depend on these airlines to get through,” said Freeman. “So, whether it’s staff, gasoline, maybe it’s the fuel for the jets that’s costing more. Whatever the reason, it sure is inconvenient.”

Allegiant says it canceled the flights now to give passengers enough time to make other arrangements. Freeman says he was able to do just that.