Judge issues order preventing Allegiant pilots strike

Pilots at discount carrier Allegiant Air were prevented in their plans to strike Thursday after a Las Vegas court issued a temporary restraining order.

The Las Vegas-based airline has gone to federal court to block the strike, which would have grounded 250 flights and affected 33,000 customers. The airline does not have enough replacement crews to fly its full schedule. Had the strike goes into the weekend, Allegiant says as many as 186,000 travelers could be stranded.

The carrier said late Wednesday all scheduled flights are expected to operate normally.

Thursday is one of Allegiant's busiest travel days. This week is especially popular with more people vacationing for Easter as well as heading to Las Vegas to watch the NCAA men's basketball championships. (The Final Four is in Indianapolis this year but fans gather in Vegas to watch.)

Allegiant is one of the most profitable airlines in the world, taking vacationers from smaller U.S. cities to warm destinations like Phoenix, Las Vegas and the Florida cities of Orlando and Tampa. It has low base fares but charges extra for seat assignments, placing bags in overhead bins and for drinks including water.

The airline's pilots, represented by the Teamsters union, are upset over the company's change in crew scheduling and a rollback in a disability program and other benefits. The two sides had been negotiating until a stalemate in November.

Allegiant said in a statement that it now hopes both sides focus on the next federally mediated negotiating session, scheduled for late April.