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Did Allegiant Force Passengers to Stay on A Smoke-Filled Flight?

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By Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse

Allegiant Air finds itself the subject of yet another negative headline.

A Wednesday flight from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Phoenix, Arizona was forced to return to the Midwest shortly after takeoff following reports of smoke in the cockpit.

[post_ads]While no injuries were reported, passengers took to social media to criticize the much-maligned airline for not letting them evacuate the plane.

According to Twitter user Chris Pelton, passengers were left inside battling the heat and smoke for nearly an hour as crews inspected the plane.

Another passenger tweeted that his girlfriend was on the plane and wasn't allowed to leave.

Allegiant spokeswoman Krysta Levy told the Des Moines Register that the smoke was the result of a mechanical issue and that the flight crew declared an emergency landing "out of an abundance of caution."

Levy confirmed that the aircraft was met by local fire and rescue personnel but said there was no risk to passengers.

"As far as the wait to deplane, we had to wait for a few minutes for an available gate at the airport—something we obviously wouldn’t have done if the plane really was 'filling with smoke.' The aircraft was not filling with smoke, and there was no need to evacuate," she said.

Another plane was brought in to fly passengers to Phoenix.

Wednesday's incident comes less than three months after the premiere of a troubling 60 Minutes report detailing the airline's safety issues and less than two months after the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General's office announced it was conducting an audit into the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) oversight of maintenance issues at Allegiant.

Last month, the carrier announced it would have to cancel some flights and reschedule others while it awaits new planes.

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