Written by: Heidi Papworth
When my brother called me and suggested I come home for the Fourth of July cookout at his place, I told him that I hadn’t seen any money growing on the palm trees out front of my studio apartment. After all, I don’t consider flying home to be cheap. All of my recent trips from south Florida to Columbus have been an average of $400 round trip. All of which included a layover somewhere, that made no sense, and a checked bag packed with about three coats. So when he told me to look into Allegiant Air, which flew in and out of Rickenbacker airport, I was pleasantly willing to book a round-trip and direct flight for under $200!
My experience flying into Rickenbacker was great, but my experience flying OUT of Rickenbacker was even better. Upon walking in, there were about four Allegiant counters to my right and one TSA terminal about 2 yards ahead. There were only about 10 people waiting in line, so going through TSA wasn’t the usual scene with the overhead announcement about liquids, and 10-too many people trying to get their laptops into bins at once. Let’s just say this: I wasn’t worried about missing my flight because the person in front of me couldn’t untie their shoes fast enough.
Upon checking in, the only option is to head upstairs (either by escalator, stairs or elevator) to the two gates. Literally, after being dropped off by my brother, I was able to text him 5 minutes later that I was already checked in and waiting at the gate. And good news for me, with only two gates getting lost wasn’t even an option. After being checked in so quickly, I definitely had time for a coffee at the Bob Evans Express! So thrilled about my quick check-in, I shared my excitement about Rickenbacker with the cashier who commented “getting in and out of here is simple. It’s the best part”. I couldn’t agree more.
In summary, here are the pros and cons of the airport and airline:
Check-in took five minutes. There were about 10 other people in the line when I arrived… one place to check in. You walk in and the check in lane is about 2 yards ahead. The check in gates are directly to your right, although I had my boarding pass downloaded already and didn’t need to go to the allegiant counter. In fact, allegiant charges $5 to print a boarding pass for you at check in – so I conveniently downloaded my pass to my mobile ahead of time.
Only two gates. There are only two gates upstairs so there was no question which gate I was departing from.
No body scan. TSA uses the walk-through metal detectors instead of the advanced image body scanners
No Starbucks. Enough said.
No pre-boarding for children. Families with children are not considered priority boarding – they have to board with their assigned zone, which made some people angry (Allegiant policy)