SANFORD — It took four tries and as many airplanes, but an Allegiant Air flight from Florida finally took off for Michigan.
Orlando television station WESH reports that a flight bound for Grand Rapids, Mich., finally took off Thursday morning from Orlando Sanford International Airport.
The first plane got off the ground Wednesday afternoon but was forced to return to the airport a half-hour later because of a sensor issue.
Passengers were put on a second plane, but they sat on the tarmac and had to return to the gate because of a mechanical problem.
They got on a third plane that had to return to the gate Wednesday night because of cabin lights problems.
Passengers were given a $200 voucher on a future flight, hotel rooms for the night and food at the gate.
As the Tampa Bay Times reported last week, some airline safety advocates question whether Allegiant is showing signs of stress caused by its rapid growth, possibly creating a dangerous situation in which it can't keep up with maintenance.
The last year has proven to be one of Allegiant's most challenging with a string of emergency landings, aborted takeoffs and delayed flights. In the last week of December alone, five Florida flights were forced to make unscheduled landings because of mechanical problems.