Allegiant Air is finally staffing its customer service call centers 24 hours per day, seven days per week, an airline spokeswoman told me recently.
This could mean shorter hold times. But don't get too excited. Allegiant is a cheap operation by design, and CEO Maury Gallagher has made it clear he doesn't want any part of the operation to be overstaffed. If employees are answering the phone too quickly, he reasons, the airline is spending too much money on its call centers.
"Our goal for hold times is as low as we can reasonably get it without overstaffing to the point of inefficiency," Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler told me.
Still, this is an improvement. Previously, Allegiant's call center was only open between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m., Pacific Time. That meant callers on the East Coast - a region in which Allegiant is growing - could not reach the airline early in the morning.
Allegiant gets about 5,000 calls per day. The airline didn't tell me how long the average hold time is. But if you call Allegiant, you should expect to spend some time on hold.
"If hold times are too high, we aren’t serving our customers well, but if they are too low or nonexistent that doesn’t serve our customers well either because it’s an indication we may be over staffing and wasting money, which will eventually drive up fares," Wheeler said. "The best service we can offer our customers is to stay focused on keeping their fares low, and we do that by being cost efficient."
Want more stories about how ultra low cost airlines like Allegiant, Spirit and Frontier save money so they an sell cheap fares? Try these: