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Thousands of people flew Allegiant last year thinking their planes wouldn't fail in the air. They were wrong.

An Allegiant Air flight from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport turned around and landed safely after experiencing a mechanical issue shortly after takeoff on June 3. Flight 844 to Stewart, N.Y., departed the airport at 7:27 a.m., the company said in statement. At 7:58 a.m., the crew discovered an unspecified mechanical problem and decided to return to the airport, according to the company. The plane landed shortly before 9 a.m. It was carrying 165 passengers and six crew members, according to Allegiant. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

An Allegiant Air flight from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport turned around and landed safely after experiencing a mechanical issue shortly after takeoff on June 3. Flight 844 to Stewart, N.Y., departed the airport at 7:27 a.m., the company said in statement. At 7:58 a.m., the crew discovered an unspecified mechanical problem and decided to return to the airport, according to the company. The plane landed shortly before 9 a.m. It was carrying 165 passengers and six crew members, according to Allegiant. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

Lisa Cozzolino started to panic as Allegiant Air Flight 844 circled over Pinellas County, burning off fuel for an emergency landing. "All the bad things I've done in my life," she said to her sister, "and now I'm going to die."

Matt Jones fumbled with his cellphone, trying to call his wife to say goodbye, as crew members on Allegiant Flight 822 ordered him to tuck into crash position over Baltimore. "I said to myself, 'I'm never going to see my wife or my kids or my grandkids again,'" he recalled.

Jessica Stoffel was so afraid on Allegiant Flight 175 over Mesa, Ariz., that she grabbed the stranger next to her and squeezed his hand. "I was terrified and honestly did not think we were going to make it," she said.

All major airlines break down once in awhile. But none of them break down in midair more often than Allegiant.

Click or tap to read our full investigation: Thousands of people flew Allegiant last year thinking their planes wouldn't fail in the air. They were wrong.

Thousands of people flew Allegiant last year thinking their planes wouldn't fail in the air. They were wrong. 11/02/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 8:49am]
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