Allegiant Airlines is stopping service from Sioux Falls to Los Angeles, citing space issues at LAX. Service will be suspended August 31, according to a company news release.
Most of the passengers checking in for the Thursday evening Los Angeles had not heard the news yet.
“As soon as they started up, my oldest daughter started taking the flight. They'd come home and see all the family members,” Allegiant Air passenger Julie Houselog said. “It’s too bad. I'll really miss it. That's for sure.”
Houselog traveled from Bakersfield, CA to visit family near Pipestone, MN. This is her first time on the direct discount flight.
“I’ve been out there three, maybe four times in the last year, I suppose. So, it's just too bad,” Donny Stewart said who drove to Sioux Falls from Vermillion.
Repeat travelers will lose out too. Stewart says he will still make the trip out west, but his next flight will be from Omaha instead of Sioux Falls.
That's bad news for Sioux Falls Regional Airport, which has consistently seen record travelers during the past year. Another problem for passengers is a California connection is now going to cost more.
“It depends on the market of the tickets. It goes up and down. But usually this one is the most economical for me,” Robert Konrady said, after he checked in. “I’m going to be paying probably $350 more and flying out of Watertown.”
Company officials cited LAX as the problem, blaming the airport for taking Allegiant’s gate space.
"This situation is particularly disappointing due to the fact that it has been caused by facility constraints beyond our control. We are very apologetic to our customers who will be adversely affected by the politics of Los Angeles World Airports, and we will continue to fight for their best interest,” Allegiant director of airports Keith Hansen said in the company release.
But who is to blame doesn’t make a difference for South Dakota passengers who have come to count on a direct western connection at a discount.
According to the company's website, Allegiant still flies from Sioux Falls to Florida, Arizona and Las Vegas.