Niagara Falls Family Flies to Florida Free

December 16, 2011 Updated Dec 16, 2011 at 12:45 AM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

December 16, 2011 Updated Dec 16, 2011 at 12:45 AM EDT

Niagara Falls, NY

Niagara Falls International Airport was jam packed with prepared customers! Bags? Check. Vacation attire including a Hawaiian shirt, cut off shorts and flip flops? Check. But plane tickets? No check.

That's because they were all hoping to win a free trip to Tampa, Florida.

"They can't believe that we're doing it, they think it's crazy but they're excited about the opportunity to win a trip," said Christine Cooper, Public Relations Manager for Allegiant Air.

The trip includes four round trip plane tickets, hotel accommodations and a dolphin cruise.

Registration began at 4 p.m. Thursday and was only open for an hour and a half, with the plane taking off just three hours later.

And just in case you were wondering it was 75 degrees in Tampa Thursday which was more than enough reason for adventure seekers like Kevin Hooks to rush to the airport for chance to win.

When registration closed NFTA Board Chairman Henry Sloma picked the winning ticket.

Niagara Falls resident Jacqueline Leo was the winner and she is taking her husband and two children. They didn't even have their bags packed because they thought winning would be a long shot.

Leo and her family took off at 8:50 pm on a full flight. It was the airline's first outbound flight from the airport.

Sloma says the addition of Allegiant Airlines is helping to keep the local economy strong with 75 percent of travelers through the airport coming from Canada.

"This airport is serving southern Ontario. It's dollars from outside the community that are coming in. That is the purpose of building the facility we're carrying low cost carriers, they don't compete with Buffalo, they create a comprehensive market of air service for western New York," said Sloma.