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FIRST DIRECT FLIGHT TO TAMPA GROUNDED FOR 26 HOURS - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

FIRST DIRECT FLIGHT TO TAMPA GROUNDED FOR 26 HOURS

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Hector International was a-buzz yesterday with passengers eager to board the first Allegiant Airline direct flight from Fargo to Tampa, Florida. However, the excitement quickly fizzled when the plane never took off.
After a day-long wait, passengers eventually got off the ground in the afternoon, but not without a hassle and a lot of frustration.
 
William Kirschner is one of the passengers excited when he heard Allegiant Airlines was offering direct flights to Tampa.
 
 "We were very excited we ordered a ticket many months ago. It was really reasonable and we thought wow this is terrific."
 
What was supposed to be less than a five hour flight turned into 26 hours of waiting for a plane scheduled to depart at 12:45 PM on November 23rd. 
 
"We were here until almost five o'clock yesterday and we knew by three or three thirty that it was canceled, so that was ridiculous," says Kirschner.
 
The same was said by a passenger from Drayton, North Dakota who drove two hours to Fargo. He and his family planned a vacation on a cruise they would never board.
 
"They won't help with connections or anything else. If we could get to the Grand Cayman Islands we could have gotten to our cruise, but they won't help with that at all because they don't fly there," says Michael Larson.
 
He says that what was originally a seven day cruise for he and his family will likely be a five day one.
 
"The communication has been very poor. The local employees are great but Allegiant has done very little for us.
 
Passengers say the flight to Tampa was delayed between four to five times with many passengers still wondering why.
 
"No they never told you. I don't know what happened," says William.
 
Valley News Team, Regina Reese spoke to an Allegiant spokesperson, Jessica Wheeler to get answers and she said they found mechanical issues with the aircraft. Since they don't have a personal mechanic they had to hire a charter company to fly mechanics and spare parts to fix the aircraft.
 
However, the charter plane carrying the spare parts also ran into mechanical issues and made an unplanned landing in Memphis - the whole ordeal leaving passengers in limbo for more than a day.
 
Allegiant Airlines say they tried their best to accommodate passengers by giving them a 200 dollar credit voucher as well as meal vouchers.Those who were more than 50 miles away from home were given a free night's stay at a local hotel.
 

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