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Allegiant Pilot Explains Their Side Of The Threatened Strike

Allegiant Airlines
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A battle between Allegian Airline pilots and management came to a head last week with a strike that was ultimately stopped by a court ruling.

The pilots of Allegiant Air, a low-cost airline based in Las Vegas, tried to strike last week but were stopped by a court ruling.

On Wednesday, the pilots announced they were going to strike the next day. However, the airline had gone to court to block the strike and the judge ruled in its favor. 

If the strike had occurred, the airline said it have would affected 33,000 passengers and stranded as many as 186,000 people, including thousands headed to Las Vegas for March Madness.

Eric Higgins, an Allegiant Air pilot based out of Orlando, Florida, told KNPR's State of Nevada Allegiant provides certain benefits other carriers do not generally offer, like being home every evening.

“The vast majority of the trips we fly are day trips,” says Higgins. “In fact, that was a factor in my decision to come here.”

When Higgins joined Allegiant Air four and a half years ago, there was a family feeling in relationships with the management. He said that changed when the company started to roll back certain work conditions guarantees a few years ago, while posting record-level profits. That is crux of the recent disagreement, Higgins said

“The two primary issues we’re dealing with as Allegiant pilots, that we feel have been changed, are the pilot scheduling system and then the second would be the benefits that are given to you, if you are unable, due to the injury or illness for an extended period of time, to perform your duties as a pilot,” Higgins said.

The management of Allegiant took a different route, saying that the interpretation of the benefits was different from how the pilots perceived it.

The case went to federal court which ruled to restore the benefits pilots agreed upon when joining the airline. Yet, about a year after the court’s decision, no actions have been taken by the company, which is why the pilots planned to strike last Thursday.  

A federally mediated negotiating session is set for late April.  

Eric Higgins, pilot at Allegiant Air

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