Passengers on a Monday Allegiant Air flight from Bismarck, N.D., to Las Vegas were collecting their suitcases Tuesday after their flight was diverted to St. George Regional Airport in Utah.
In a statement issued by Allegiant on Tuesday, officials said the flight was diverted due to a maintenance issue. No emergency was declared and the twin-engine MD-80 jet with 141 passengers and six crew members aboard made a routine landing.
Officials said the flight crew initially thought there was a fuel line leak, but after an inspection they now believe it was a malfunctioning gauge.
"We will continue to look into it, but at this time, we do not believe there was any issue with the fuel systems," a representative said in an email.
Passengers on Allegiant Flight 487 were moved to a different plane that landed in Las Vegas just after midnight, 5½ hours after its scheduled arrival and just over 3½ hours after the unscheduled landing in St. George.
Airline officials said passengers' luggage was unable to be moved onto the new plane because of the lack of an available baggage loader in St. George.
The airport is served by St. George-based Skywest Airlines, which provides commuter jet service for Delta Air Lines as Delta Connection and United Airlines as United Express.
Luggage was being reunited with passengers Tuesday afternoon. Allegiant officials said bags were delivered by ground transportation.
The airline offered passengers $100 vouchers for future travel and passengers that chose to pick up their luggage at McCarran International Airport received an additional $50 travel voucher. Passengers who didn't pick up their bags had them delivered to them at no charge.
It was the 17th unusual incident involving unscheduled landings, aborted takeoffs and miscellaneous maintenance issues for Allegiant flights this year.
The most serious incident occurred in Las Vegas on Aug. 17 when the nose of a twin-engine MD-80 jet on its takeoff roll began rising prematurely, defying the flight crew's attempts to keep it down. When the plane reached 138 mph, the pilot aborted the takeoff, bringing the jet to a halt, according to a report filed with the Federal Aviation Administration.
A preliminary FAA investigation found that a nut on a component that moves the left elevator had fallen off, causing the control surface to become jammed in the up position. A similar circumstance led to the crash of an Alaska Airlines MD-80 over the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 31, 2000.