Allegiant To Get New Planes, and Maybe Hawaii Flights?
For what it's worth - this isn't a commercial, but no secret that I'm a huge fan of Casper's non-stop Vegas flights that started when low-cost carrier Allegiant came to town in 2008. When I moved to Casper myself back in 1998, one thing I missed about coming from a bigger city was more air options and a little more competition when it comes to prices. Vegas is such a great destination to get out of town and blow off a little steam - particularly when the Wyoming wind and cold gets a little too much to bear.
I do admit that the early days of the Allegiant & Casper marriage left a little to be desired - not sure whose idea it was to schedule the Vegas departures at the butt-crack of dawn, initially. (Sure, everyone who's been doing their best 'Hangover' audition for a weekend in Sin City would love to wake up - er, sober up - at 4am to catch a flight home, right?) On my last excursion though, noticed they finally got it right - was able to catch a flight out right after work on Friday, do a late check-out and a leisurely lunch in Vegas on Monday, and then get home in time for dinner and a nap before getting back to the grind.
Today, we got a news release that Allegiant had gotten approval from the FAA to operate Boeing 757's. It might not make a difference in their Casper route - they currently have 51 of the MD-80's we're used to seeing land at Natrona County International Airport, and will likely only have about 6 of the 757's in their fleet nationally by 2012. But the good news - it's all part of their plan to get FAA certification to start offering service to Hawaii in Summer of 2012.
Before you start packing your hula skirts - it's probably doubtful that you'd see any direct flights from Casper to Honolulu any time soon. However, early rumors suggest places like Bellingham, Colorado Springs, Fresno, Stockton, Eugene, and their hub in Las Vegas might get a piece of the action - and if the demand for Casper to Vegas keeps up, we might at least have a low-cost transfer option to expand our horizons a little farther than the blackjack tables.
We'll see - for now, if you've got any near-term ambitions in the Glitter Gulch on Allegiant - reminder that their seasonal halt kicks in from August 16 through November 10. (It's the first time they've done it here - but we assume it has to do with declining demand around that time of the year, and the recent prices at the old jet fuel pump. Crossing my fingers that it's a temporary move.)
PS: Speaking of Casper flight prices - for those who always think you can't get out of here direct without spending an arm and a leg, there are occasionally some great deals if you know where to look. Try a search on the little known "buzz" page at Kayak.com direct from Casper to see best deals on US and world destinations. Another great option I use is Airfare Watchdog - which will send Casper deals direct to your inbox, if you like.