An Allegiant Airlines spokesman says a wedding in the terminal they use at the Chicago Rockford Airport was a factor in their decision not to send a plane for delayed passengers Saturday night, but the airport manager says the wedding had nothing to do with it.
Allegiant Air passengers had experienced three delays before finally departing the Chicago/Rockford International airport Sunday morning.
“It’s been a very frustrating three days, I just want to get out there now” said passenger Carole Casper. The flight was originally supposed to depart this past Friday night but was delayed due to pilots timing out. The flight was then scheduled for one-thirty on Saturday, but was halted again due to mechanical issues.
“They checked the flight, there was a mechanical problem on the flight which we all kind of go, okay, that is understandable. They said they were going to try and find another plane to get in here,” explained Tamela Christensen, another passenger on the flight.
That second plane was set to reach the airport at around 6pm, but never made it. Allegiant media relations explained to Eyewitness News and passengers that an event was taking place in the terminal was a factor in the cancelation of the so-called ‘rescue plane’.
Other passengers were told that the wedding was the reason for the cancelation. Joe Phelan received word from his sister about the closure, saying, “My sister from Tucson, where I’m heading to, got an email from Allegiant saying the airport was in fact shut down for a wedding, which I thought was kind of interesting”.
Christensen also told Eyewitness News that she called Allegiant customer service. “I was told the reason we were canceled was because there were no flights being let out of this airport yesterday, there was nothing about mechanical problems or anything else from an Allegiant customer service person”.
Skyview, the Chicago/Rockford Airport food vendor and caterer of the wedding last night told us there was an alternative location picked out for the wedding in case the terminal was needed for air travel. Passengers expressed to us that no matter the reasons for the delays, they are upset that it took so long for them to reach their destinations, and that arrangements could not be made to fly them out on Saturday.
“My niece’s son has his first recital, I haven’t seen him in two years, you know, so [I’m] missing all of that,” said Christensen.
Allegiant has stated to Eyewitness News that they are incredibly sorry for the delays. They have reimbursed the flight passengers for their tickets and have given vouchers for future flights.
We reached out to Chicago Rockford Airport Officials, but no one was available for an on camera interview. However, Airport Director Mike Dunn did release a statement saying, “If the flight had not been canceled by Allegiant Air, Saturday’s event held at the airport would have been moved to another location. In fact, the event was planning to be moved at the time in which Allegiant Air canceled their flight again on Saturday.”