Metro-East News

Mascoutah woman wins free flight during Allegiant’s Fort Myers launch

People Wait For Winning Ticket To Be Drawn

Potential passengers arrived at MidAmerica Airport early to enter a drawing for a free round trip to Allegiant Airlines' newest destination, Punta Gorda / Ft. Meyers, Florida. Kay Connolly of Mascoutah won and chose to take her brother Kent Schroe
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Potential passengers arrived at MidAmerica Airport early to enter a drawing for a free round trip to Allegiant Airlines' newest destination, Punta Gorda / Ft. Meyers, Florida. Kay Connolly of Mascoutah won and chose to take her brother Kent Schroe

Two Mascoutah siblings were able to fly to Punta Gorda/Fort Myers on Allegiant Air’s dime, the first day the low-cost airline flew to the destination from MidAmerica Airport.

Kay Connolly on Thursday won Allegiant’s Pack Your Bags giveaway for two people used to help celebrate the launch of the new route. Connolly’s brother, Kent Schroeder, joined her along with his girlfriend Jeanette Materkowski, of New Baden, who bought one of the remaining 15 tickets on the inaugural 177-seat flight.

“I should have read up and see what’s there to do, but I’m sure I’ll find out,” Connolly said. “I would like to take long walks on the beach and ride bikes, if possible, and be outside in the sunshine.”

Connolly’s two round-trip tickets and the hotel stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside, paid for by Allegiant, was worth more than $1,000, according to Julie Hauser, who does public relations work for St. Clair County and MidAmerica Airport.

A little more than 100 people entered the contest, many of whom came dressed in tropical attire, such as leis, sun dresses, shorts and straw hats, as a way to increase their odds of winning. To enter, people had to come to the airport with their bags packed ready to fly.

For several of those who didn’t win Thursday’s drawing, it was back to their jobs instead of an impromptu long-weekend getaway.

Lance and Jessica Schmitz, of Belleville, had been thinking about making a trip to southwest Florida when the drawing came up.

They came dressed ready for warm weather, including Lance having sun block applied to his nose.

The couple is in the middle of a kitchen remodel.

“We need a break,” Jessica Schmitz said, adding they were pretending to be on vacation from the business they own, the Garage Door Shop in Belleville.

Punta Gorda/Fort Myers is Allegiant’s fourth destination out of MidAmerica.

“We’ve seen demand grow in the area for more flights to Florida destinations, and we’re confident the community will enjoy this low-cost option to visit another beautiful beach city in Florida,” said Jude Bricker, Allegiant chief operating officer.

MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell said Allegiant has been selling 80 to 90 percent of seats for its Fort Myers flights.

“You’ll get some seasonal highs and lows, but Allegiant is very happy with the 80 to 90 percent they’re getting on all the destinations right now.”

In June, the airline is scheduled to start its MidAmerica to Destin/Fort Walton Beach service.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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