Pilot, passengers, speak out on Allegiant Air investigation by “60 Minutes”

MOLINE -

Passenger Rob Finney stepped off an Allegiant Air flight from Arizona just days before a critical "60 Minutes" report.

"It does give you pause to think that (Allegiant) may not be up to standards," he said, on Monday, April 16.

The airline plays a key role with regional service at the Quad City International Airport.  But according to "60 Minutes," the low-cost carrier had three times as many mechanical problems when compared to competing airlines.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," said passenger Diane Collar.  "They're always crowding people in."

"That's dangerous stuff," said Jerry Myhre, who flew an Airbus for United Airlines and corporate jets for Deere & Company over a 39-year aviation career.

"I never felt any of that kind of pressure at United," he said.

According to the investigation, pressure was placed on Allegiant Air pilots to cover up safety warnings.  Myhre compares it to buying a car.

"If a car doesn't meet safety standards, we don't buy them," he continued.  "The same philosophy should apply to airline travel."

Allegiant Air is defending its' safety record, calling the investigation "irresponsible" and "grossly misleading."

"I want to be very clear: safety is at the core of every aspect of our operation, every day," said Capt. Eric Gust, Allegiant's vice president of operations, in a statement to customers.

Still, recent passengers like Rob Finney are thinking twice about flying Allegiant Air again.

"A little less likely to fly them in the future when you think about it," he said.

Myhre said he approached his job as if his own family were in the cabin.

"As of right now, I'd pay a few extra dollars and fly a mainland carrier with a good safety record," he concluded.