Allegiant Air adds twice weekly flight from LAX to Telluride

Is Allegiant Air testing the market at Los Angeles International Airport?

A few weeks after announcing new Honolulu service, the ultra discount carrier moved to add another flight to a popular vacation destination this winter. Allegiant announced it will fly twice a week between LAX and Montrose Regional Airport in Colorado beginning in December. It’s the closest airport of decent size to the popular ski resort of Telluride.

Fares will be as low as $79.99 one way, though like all fare sales, seats are limited. Of course, you don’t want to be like Southwest Airlines, which on Tuesday was hit with a $200,000 fine by federal regulators for not making enough advertised sale seats available.)

United Airlines, through its partner Skywest, also flies twice a week to Montrose during the winter. I did a quick check and a week-long trip from LAX in January would cost $650 on United. Allegiant tickets should be considerably cheaper than United, even if you can’t get the $79 fares.

Historically, as I wrote earlier this month, Allegiant has taken travelers from smaller cities and taken them to vacation destinations. But with this move, Allegiant might be trying to cater to Angelenos who want to ski.

What do you think? Is there a L.A.-based market for Allegiant’s flights?

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New video: Flight attendant Heather Poole answers your questions!

Heather Poole could be one of the most famous flight attendants in the world.

The Manhanttan Beach, Calif. resident wrote a best-selling book called “Cruising Attitude: Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 30,000 Feet,” about life as a major airline flight attendant. She’s also built a huge following on her blog and on Twitter. It’s not unusual for her to be recognized, especially in airports. (And yes, she’ll sign a copy of her book if she sees you reading it.)

I met with her Tuesday to ask about her life and her job. She was kind enough to answer three questions posed by my Twitter followers on video.

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FedEx’s LAX facility: Some facts you may not know

Fedex airplanes are lined up at the carrier's Indianapolis hub.

FedEx airplanes are lined up at the carrier’s Indianapolis hub. Photo courtesy of FedEx.

I visited FedEx’s vast warehouse at Los Angeles International Airport this week, a facility that, unfortunately, is off limits to photographs and video.

But I learned some interesting stuff:

  • Fedex flies almost exclusively widebody planes to LAX, using a mixture of MD-10s, MD-11s and A-300s.
  • The MD-10s are an unusual aircraft. They were initially called DC-10s, and they flew as passenger aircraft for decades. But after high-tech cockpit upgrades – they can now be flown by two pilots instead of three – they adopted a new name. The same pilots at FedEx fly the MD-10 and the MD-11, as the cockpits are similar.
  • Fedex flies between about 16 departures and 16 arrivals daily from LAX, though that  number fluctuates based on factors such as day of the week and time of the year.
  • About half of departures leave during the day, while the other half leave at night.
  • Common destinations from LAX are Memphis, Oakland, Honolulu, Fort Worth, Texas and Indianapolis. There are no international flights from the airport, though planes do fly on to Pacific destinations from Honolulu.
  • At its LAX facility, FedEx can accommodate 14 airplanes at one time.
  • Fedex is adamant about not losing your package. About 15 to 20 minutes before each flight, three different employees inspect every inch of the 800,000 square foot facility. Their goal: To make sure every last package is on board.
  • Your package is scanned two to five times as it moves through the airport facility. You won’t see those scans on, but it allows employees internally to know exactly what is happening to your package.
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United Airlines worker accused of stealing from luggage at SFO after Asiana crash

This is a pretty depressing story, if true.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a United Airlines employee and his wife were charged with stealing from passenger luggage during the period after a Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

According to the Chronicle, Sean Sharif Crudup and his wife allegedly took valuable clothing belonging to a couple who were supposed to return to San Francisco, but whose travel plans were alerted after the crash. The luggage reached San Francisco before they did.

Crudup and his wife allegedly took some clothing to Nordstrom, where they returned it for about $5,000, according to the Chronicle and law enforcement sources.  Nordstrom is known for having liberal return policies.

It’s not clear how often this happens. But it’s worth nothing that bags arrive before and after their owners all the time — not just after plane crashes.

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LAX Cargo: The top 10 freight-carrying airlines

LAX is a major cargo airport. Below are the top 10 freight-carrying airlines at LAX for the first six months of 2012, according to Los Angeles World Airports statistics. The list is compiled based on weight.

1. Federal Express           183,953 tons
2. American Airlines          46,934 tons
3. Polar Air Cargo              37,996 tons
4. Delta Air Lines               37,973 tons
5. ABX Air Inc                    34,955 tons
6. Korean Airlines              34,166 tons
7. Cathay Pacific               30,800 tons
8. Eva Airways                   30,497 tons
9. China Cargo                   29,841 tons
10. NCA                              27,862 tons

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