Disgruntled passengers holed up in the commercial terminal at the Provo Airport reached out Tuesday to the Daily Herald, concerned they might be delayed yet another day after a 24-hour wait caused by mechanical and safety issues.
According to Allegiant Airlines spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler, Flight 1005 from Provo to Oakland, California was orginally scheduled to depart at 3:45 p.m. Monday and was rescheduled due to mechanical issues.
“At approximately 6 p.m. Mountain Time, the decision was made to reschedule the flight rather than further hold passengers in the airport,” Wheeler said. “The flight was rescheduled to operate as flight 5005 on Tuesday. Flight 5005 was scheduled to depart Provo at 11 a.m., arriving in Oakland, California at 11:46 a.m."
However, after boarding the plane Tuesday morning, passengers received another travel slowdown.
“Flight 5005 left the gate at 12:12 p.m. Mountain, but returned to the gate at 12:28 due to a missing emergency exit placard,” Wheeler said. “Emergency exit placards are considered emergency equipment and necessary for safe operation. Passengers have been provided with refreshments and food during the delay."
Provo Airport Manager Steve Gleason was contacted for information about the situation. Ironically, he had been on a delayed plane (not Allegiant) for two hours in Washington, D.C.
“It happens all the time,” Gleason said. “Because Provo is a small airport, it is much more noticeable.”
According to Wheeler, passengers were provided with refreshments during the delay.
“Passengers who reside more than 50 miles from the airport were given hotel accommodations for the night,” Wheeler said, referring to the original overnight delay. “All passengers were provided with $100 off vouchers for future travel on Allegiant. Passengers were also given the option to change their itinerary to another flight in our network for no additional fee.”
Passenger Katie Parker, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, was in Provo to visit with her son. She said that while the passengers were on the plane, flight attendants did bring beverages and snacks, which is not part of the no-frills flight package.
“They have been trying to take care of us and address our concerns,” Parker said. “We have boarded and deplaned twice in two days.”
Pizzas were delivered to the airport at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“We apologize for the inconvenience to our passengers, but their safety and the safety of our crew is our first priority,” Wheeler said.
Flight 5005 finally departed at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday from Provo.