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View Full Version : Who else is affected by direct air?


HeatherC
03-14-2012, 07:35 AM
Well we were one of the many. Booked five tickets for April school vacation from Worcester, MA which are now completely cancelled.

What a headache! Filed our claim with Amex and spent all last night trying to find replacement flights. We are now flying out of Newark which is 3 1/2 hours from home where Worcester is 20 minutes. At least they are nonstop flights both ways.

Unfortunately, it cost us $500 more! it was either that or cancel...and I have already paid for Bonnet Creek. Just drove to Sc over Feb. break so do not want to waste four days of our trip doing that long drive.

Anyone else fall victim?

JoeCathyAngelina
03-14-2012, 08:06 AM
We, the 3 of us, were on the same flight. :confused3 :mad::confused:
I've been checking other flights for the same week. The cheapest rates I found have been between $300-400 for flights departing anywhere from Manchester NH to JFK New York. :surfweb:
We've driven before and we might do it again. :sad1::sad1:
Good Luck All,
Joe

HeatherC
03-14-2012, 08:17 AM
I'm sorry to hear this Joe! Truly stinks!

We opted to do Newark and eat the extra $500. We figured we would rather do that than the long drive. The other deciding factor is that I am familiar with Newark airport and they are both nonstop flights. if we had to do layovers each way, I would rather drive.

We are flying JetBlue down and United home. Dates are April 12-21.

I found pricing one ways on Kayak gave us more options. Maybe that can help you in your search?

Best of luck!

eeyoresmom
03-14-2012, 08:40 AM
Us too! Also flying out of Worcester, or WAS flying out of Worcester......Were you guys able to get refunds on your flights? I Pricelined a car rental so am out that money unless I can fly onto Sanford on a different airline... I don't know where to start with this problem!

HeatherC
03-14-2012, 09:07 AM
Sorry for you too! Could you maybe fly into MCO and rent a car one way to SFB to pick up your Priceline car.

AMEX told me there shouldn't be a problem getting refund since we have cancellation in email from Direct Air with their logo.

Good luck!

webworm
03-14-2012, 10:10 AM
Us too! Also flying out of Worcester, or WAS flying out of Worcester......Were you guys able to get refunds on your flights? I Pricelined a car rental so am out that money unless I can fly onto Sanford on a different airline... I don't know where to start with this problem!

I use Priceline all the time for hotels never for car rentals but it might be worth a call to customer service to explain the situation about what happened with DirectAir. They may consider a refund given the uniqueness of the situation. Worth a try if you haven't already done so.

Lewisc
03-14-2012, 10:27 AM
I use Priceline all the time for hotels never for car rentals but it might be worth a call to customer service to explain the situation about what happened with DirectAir. They may consider a refund given the uniqueness of the situation. Worth a try if you haven't already done so.

PL gave me a refund on an airport zone hotel. I was unable to use it because my flight was cancelled (weather).

There is a contact tab on PLs website. Send a message. You'll probably get an email back with a phone number to call.

focusondisney
03-14-2012, 10:37 AM
DirectAir flies most of the flights out of Niagara Falls airport. The local news showed all the cars parked in the lot there, presumably of people who flew them out of town. As sorry as I am for those of you with future flights booked, my most sympathy goes to those who are stranded away from home. I can't imagine being on vacation & finding out you have no way home. I wonder if people got notification from DirectAir? We don't always see the news when we're on vacation, so I wonder how travelers got the news?

And most other flights to Western New York fly into the Buffalo airport, about 30 mins away from Niagara Falls airport. So anyone who is out of town now & manages to get back to Buffalo will need to find a way back to the NF airport & their car. What a mess.

Good luck to all who are affected by this.

eeyoresmom
03-14-2012, 12:04 PM
PL gave me a refund on an airport zone hotel. I was unable to use it because my flight was cancelled (weather).

There is a contact tab on PLs website. Send a message. You'll probably get an email back with a phone number to call.

Thank you, I will definitely try!

crashbb
03-14-2012, 12:15 PM
DirectAir flies most of the flights out of Niagara Falls airport. The local news showed all the cars parked in the lot there, presumably of people who flew them out of town. As sorry as I am for those of you with future flights booked, my most sympathy goes to those who are stranded away from home. I can't imagine being on vacation & finding out you have no way home. I wonder if people got notification from DirectAir? We don't always see the news when we're on vacation, so I wonder how travelers got the news?

And most other flights to Western New York fly into the Buffalo airport, about 30 mins away from Niagara Falls airport. So anyone who is out of town now & manages to get back to Buffalo will need to find a way back to the NF airport & their car. What a mess.

Good luck to all who are affected by this.

It is March Break here and many people in SW Ontario (or other border areas - it is just that the SW Ontario are the ones affected by this) drive to the US to get cheaper flights. Many stories in our papers/on our news of people stranded in Florida (not sure how they got the news - some people may not yet have the news). A couple made the comment that you did - they bought new tickets (very expensive) plus had to take a taxi (or something) from Buffalo to Niagara Falls.

goofy4tink
03-14-2012, 12:56 PM
We flew DirectAir last spring break, out of Worcester. My dh was continually on me for booking a Thursday flight when we didn't cruise until Sunday, and then finished our WDW stay on a Friday and then went over to visit my ds in Tampa until Sunday. Well.....if this had happened at this time last year??? We would have been packing up the car and driving. There is no way we would have been able to pay the addtl cost for flights with another airline, not this close to departure.
That's why I booked the flights I booked.....juuuuust in case. That way, we could have started the drive on Wednesday night, and had a somewhat peaceful drive down over 2.5 days. And then head back home on Friday morning and not have to rush the drive.
Now he gets it. I feel so badly for those who have to now run around, trying to figure out alternative methods of transport!!

magiroux
03-14-2012, 02:04 PM
We flew DirectAir last spring break, out of Worcester. My dh was continually on me for booking a Thursday flight when we didn't cruise until Sunday, and then finished our WDW stay on a Friday and then went over to visit my ds in Tampa until Sunday. Well.....if this had happened at this time last year??? We would have been packing up the car and driving. There is no way we would have been able to pay the addtl cost for flights with another airline, not this close to departure.
That's why I booked the flights I booked.....juuuuust in case. That way, we could have started the drive on Wednesday night, and had a somewhat peaceful drive down over 2.5 days. And then head back home on Friday morning and not have to rush the drive.
Now he gets it. I feel so badly for those who have to now run around, trying to figure out alternative methods of transport!!

We did the same thing, Di. Had a flight going in on Thursday, actually still do. Called my CC today (capital One) and they will credit my account if/when they go under. Since my flight is not until June I will have to see how it pans out.

I can't wait until May 15 for them to decide if they are flying or or not so I bit the bullet and booked JetBlue. $1200 for three of us,non-stop. Not great but could have been worse. If DirectAir is still flying I can keep my tickets and cxl JB and have a credit for a year costing us $300 in cxl fee. For me the best scenario would be for them to go under well before then and I'll get my entire $500 back from DirectAir.

BTW, the lady at Capitol One said she has received lots of calls today on this.

JoeCathyAngelina
03-14-2012, 02:23 PM
I talked to a service agent at Chase Visa. She told me we'll get a refund after the Flight Date. In our case, since the Flight Date is 4/14-4/21, our refund will be issued after 4/21. She's going to send me the material to get the process started. :sad1::sad1::sad1:
The big question is, should we risk it, spend $1200, :scared1::scared1::scared1:, book another flight, hope the DirectAir flight remains cancelled and we get a refund or should we just drive down if the DirectAir flight remains cancelled? :confused::confused::confused:
Good Luck All,
Joe

Carriemel
03-14-2012, 02:52 PM
Direct Air will not be flying until at least May 15, 2012 IF at all. This information is found on the Direct Air website.

mousey
03-14-2012, 02:58 PM
We had 4 tickets for the end of April flying into Lakeland. Hopefully the credit card companies come through and refund our money. I have been searching for replacement flights and car rental. Our Bonnet Creek reservation is already paid for.
I also feel sorry for all the stranded passengers in Florida and Myrtle Beach who are scrambling to get home. On the news yesterday they mentioned that this affects several baseball/softball teams who had flights reserved around Easter. Direct Air is a joke and I don't expect them to ever resume flights. Their customer service was terrible before this incident and now they won't even answer the phones!:sad2:

ccgirl
03-14-2012, 03:01 PM
I talked to a service agent at Chase Visa. She told me we'll get a refund after the Flight Date. In our case, since the Flight Date is 4/14-4/21, our refund will be issued after 4/21. She's going to send me the material to get the process started. :sad1::sad1::sad1:
The big question is, should we risk it, spend $1200, :scared1::scared1::scared1:, book another flight, hope the DirectAir flight remains cancelled and we get a refund or should we just drive down if the DirectAir flight remains cancelled? :confused::confused::confused:
Good Luck All,
Joe

Direct Air will not be flying until at least May 15, 2012 IF at all. This information is found on the Direct Air website.

As the PP stated, DirectAir will not be flying any flights until at least May 15th, if at all.

For those stuck for SPring break, check in to flying down and driving back with a one way rental. Budget and Alamo have amazing deals on one way rentals since there is such an influx of cars in Florida. $20 a day for a full size car unlimited miles.

Good luck to all.

vttkdmom
03-14-2012, 03:07 PM
I booked flights from JFK to Orlando in replacement of our original tickets from Plattsburgh. We were planning to drive to NYC.

A friend told me about Megabus. The one way fare from Burlington, VT to NYC is on $5! It is also direct, takes 6 hours, which is the actual drive time. So, the family and I will be taking the bus, which drops near Penn Station, then the public transport to JFK. Funny, the public transportation to get to JFK will be more expensive than the trip from VT to NYC!

Google Megabus if you are interested. Hope this helps another fellow budget traveler!
:goodvibes

irishone21
03-14-2012, 03:56 PM
We too are victims of this joke they call Direct Air. We have actually flown with them several times before with no problems....the airport in Worcester is 10 min. from our house and the price couldn't be beat. However, I am REALLY pissed the way they have done this. We had tickets to fly down & back for our Disney Cruise 4/14-4/19. There are 10 of us in all going on the trip. Like many others here, we have been looking at all the airports in the northeast hoping to find another flight at a decent price.....I just don't know that it's going to happen. Driving is an option that we really don't want to take....I think our kids would maim each other being in a car together that long...lol.....but we are considering it...at least one way. I just hope we all get our money back. Everyone should also file a complaint with the attorney general.....the more pressure on them to refund our money, the better! ;)

rdsx28
03-14-2012, 04:40 PM
We had 3 tickets to fly out of Worcester June 23 and return on July 1st. I am not going to wait until May 15th to "see" if they can reorganize. I called my cc company this morning (Citi) and they are conditionally crediting me back the 650.00. It will take 2 days. They are sending me the dispute paperwork. they were totally understanding about teh situation and said they didn't blame me. I can book SW now out of Manchester NH for 300.00 more. Oh well at least I didn't lose my money. I know many people who are stranded and many others who are scrambling for April school vacation week. they handled the whole thing very poorly in my opinion and I doubt they will recover from it all.

Lewisc
03-14-2012, 05:03 PM
No reason to complain to the AG. Passengers who booked flights which have been canceled are getting refunds. Direct Air is (or was?) a public charter. Fares are deposited in an escrow account.

I'm saying was a public charter because the company may be effectively out of business. It is a public charter. They don't own, lease or operate planes. Fares they quoted weren't high enough to cover expenses including current fuel prices.

You booked them because "the price couldn't be beat". Price tickets low enough and you'll fill your planes but lose money. Direct Air didn't have a large bank account to cover losses.

Booking them for an extra trip may have made a lot of sense. Booking them for a cruise meant assuming some risk. Actually a lot of risk. Many of us always thought the question wasn't if Direct Air would go out of business but rather when.

Good luck finding airfare. I suggest you contact DCL. It's possible, but not likely, they have some consolidator tickets available for less then what you can find on your own.







We too are victims of this joke they call Direct Air. We have actually flown with them several times before with no problems....the airport in Worcester is 10 min. from our house and the price couldn't be beat. However, I am REALLY pissed the way they have done this. We had tickets to fly down & back for our Disney Cruise 4/14-4/19. There are 10 of us in all going on the trip. Like many others here, we have been looking at all the airports in the northeast hoping to find another flight at a decent price.....I just don't know that it's going to happen. Driving is an option that we really don't want to take....I think our kids would maim each other being in a car together that long...lol.....but we are considering it...at least one way. I just hope we all get our money back. Everyone should also file a complaint with the attorney general.....the more pressure on them to refund our money, the better! ;)

ccgirl
03-14-2012, 05:24 PM
As I mentioned earlier, to keep prices down you could consider flying down to Orlando and driving home.

Another option is Amtrak. They have the Auto Train that you can pick up in Lorton, VA and it will take you and your vehicle to Sanford, FL.

In addition, there is just the straight passenger train from BOS to Orlando. Leaving Friday, April 13th and getting to Orlando Saturday, April 14th at 10am. Then leaving Orlando Saturday, April 21st at 1pm arriving in Boston Sunday, April 22nd at 5pm is $1422 for 2 adults and 2 children which includes a $158 discount for AAA. That is $355 a person plus transportation from the train station.

Don't know if this will help anyone else or not but I wanted to offer up some options. I feel so bad for those on Direct Air.

kirs10a
03-14-2012, 06:20 PM
Our extended family (9) holds tickets for June 11-18 out of Springfield, IL. My SIL and I have each entered disputes vs. our credit cards. Mine gave me the timeline of 15 days if the airline doesn't dispute it (Disney Visa), but SIL was told it could take up to 60 days to get a credit!

We're far enough out that we have some time to make alternate flight plans, but I'm worried that they'll dispute saying they'll be able to provide my flight June 11. DH and I are holding off on purchasing airfare until the 15 day time period to see what happens.....

Now I'm wondering....is it 15 business days or 15 calendar days?

kirs10a
03-14-2012, 07:02 PM
Ugh.....called CC to find that they won't offer a credit since it doesn't fall within the "no fly" time period. I feel completely misled by the rep I spoke with yesterday and basically told me I'd have a credit in 15 days. This all just makes me SICK!

pigletto
03-14-2012, 07:27 PM
As I mentioned earlier, to keep prices down you could consider flying down to Orlando and driving home.

Another option is Amtrak. They have the Auto Train that you can pick up in Lorton, VA and it will take you and your vehicle to Sanford, FL.

In addition, there is just the straight passenger train from BOS to Orlando. Leaving Friday, April 13th and getting to Orlando Saturday, April 14th at 10am. Then leaving Orlando Saturday, April 21st at 1pm arriving in Boston Sunday, April 22nd at 5pm is $1422 for 2 adults and 2 children which includes a $158 discount for AAA. That is $355 a person plus transportation from the train station.

Don't know if this will help anyone else or not but I wanted to offer up some options. I feel so bad for those on Direct Air.
That's really nice of you to look that all up to help people out.:flower3: Thank you.

Lewisc
03-14-2012, 07:32 PM
Ugh.....called CC to find that they won't offer a credit since it doesn't fall within the "no fly" time period. I feel completely misled by the rep I spoke with yesterday and basically told me I'd have a credit in 15 days. This all just makes me SICK!

Your flight hasn't been cancelled. You're not entitled to a refund (yet). There were a lot of rumors yesterday that Direct Air filed chapter 11. The rep you spoke to yesterday didn't have the information which is available today. Direct Air offer public charter flights. Your money is in escrow.

The risk of having to book last minute airfare is a risk you assume when you book an airline like Direct Air, Spirit, Allegiant etc. Spirit might not be going out of business but they will drop a route if it's not profitable, giving refunds to passengers who are stuck booking last minute airfare.

irishone21
03-14-2012, 07:36 PM
No reason to complain to the AG. Passengers who booked flights which have been canceled are getting refunds. Direct Air is (or was?) a public charter. Fares are deposited in an escrow account.

I'm saying was a public charter because the company may be effectively out of business. It is a public charter. They don't own, lease or operate planes. Fares they quoted weren't high enough to cover expenses including current fuel prices.

You booked them because "the price couldn't be beat". Price tickets low enough and you'll fill your planes but lose money. Direct Air didn't have a large bank account to cover losses.

Booking them for an extra trip may have made a lot of sense. Booking them for a cruise meant assuming some risk. Actually a lot of risk. Many of us always thought the question wasn't if Direct Air would go out of business but rather when.

Good luck finding airfare. I suggest you contact DCL. It's possible, but not likely, they have some consolidator tickets available for less then what you can find on your own.


No offense Lewisc, but that is not correct. People are being refunded right now by their cc companies, not Direct Air....and I know that most (including us) have to wait until our flight date has past for anything to happen. I also know of several people who have been told they are NOT getting their money back because they bought their tickets too long ago (like a year ago). Unfortunately, a refund on this one is NOT a sure thing. I'll actually be shocked if it happens. The company seems to owe a lot of money to a lot of people.....my sense is that they will file Ch.11 in the near future...who would ever fly with them again?

As I said, for quite a while, it was a great deal. However, just because we assume "some" or "a lot" of risk, as you put it, doesn't make it right the way this happened. They were still booking flights Monday night...that is just wrong! I encourage people to contact their AG so that Direct Air can not do this to anyone else.

champagne27
03-14-2012, 08:12 PM
As someone who has used Direct Air out of Worcester in the past I just wanted to say I am so sorry and good luck to everyone affected. I never knew there was risk in booking with them - just assumed they could offer better prices because they use smaller regional airports. They were extremely convenient - how were people supposed to know they were risky :confused3.

I hope everyone is able to reschedule and still have a magical vacation. :grouphug:

jsilvers
03-14-2012, 08:58 PM
Direct Air is (or was?) a public charter. Fares are deposited in an escrow account.

That's what is supposed to happen, under the public charter rules issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation. But who knows if Direct Air was actually following the rules? ("The Department is investigating the handling of that escrow account." -- http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/takingoff/ct-taking-off-chi-guidance-offered-for-travelers-stranded-by-direct-air-20120314,0,2474593.story)

Indeed, the federal regulations for public charters prohibit flight cancellations within 10 days of the departure date, and require the operating carriers to repatriate any stranded passengers. The first regulation certainly wasn't followed by Direct Air, any it appears that the second one isn't being followed by the various airlines hired by Direct Air. I suspect that DOT is going to impose some major fines ... but that doesn't help the passengers.

JJ1280
03-14-2012, 09:04 PM
I was supposed to be on a flight tomorrow night on Direct Air out of Worcester to Florida. I'll be traveling for a family wedding. Lucky for me, my boyfriend is a pilot and I can fly standby on any flights as long as it's with his airline. However, I wanted a confirmed seat instead of waiting to get on a flight, at least getting there. This is what I get for booking a confirmed seat! Needless to say, I'll be flying standby Friday morning, but at least I have an alternative as opposed to those who got stuck. The bride's family was supposed to be on my flight as well. They decided to jump in their car and drive down. This also affects a couple of my cousins who are trying to get to/from spring break. They were able to find alternate flights though. My grandparents will have to find a new flight home when they return in April. I had to cancel a car rental as I'll be flying into a different airport, so I won't need it. But thank goodness it was one where you pay once you get there, so no $$ lost. It may take a long time to get through, but if you call Direct Air and give your confirmation number, they will refund the card you paid with. Good luck to those who are trying to get home/vaca!!

Lewisc
03-14-2012, 09:40 PM
No offense Lewisc, but that is not correct. People are being refunded right now by their cc companies, not Direct Air....and I know that most (including us) have to wait until our flight date has past for anything to happen. I also know of several people who have been told they are NOT getting their money back because they bought their tickets too long ago (like a year ago). Unfortunately, a refund on this one is NOT a sure thing. I'll actually be shocked if it happens. The company seems to owe a lot of money to a lot of people.....my sense is that they will file Ch.11 in the near future...who would ever fly with them again?

As I said, for quite a while, it was a great deal. However, just because we assume "some" or "a lot" of risk, as you put it, doesn't make it right the way this happened. They were still booking flights Monday night...that is just wrong! I encourage people to contact their AG so that Direct Air can not do this to anyone else.

My comment was to the poster I quoted. Their flight was in June and hasn't been canceled (yet). I don't think they'll fly again. The AG is aware of what's going on. Really no reason to waste the postage turning them in.

That's what is supposed to happen, under the public charter rules issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation. But who knows if Direct Air was actually following the rules? ("The Department is investigating the handling of that escrow account." -- http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/takingoff/ct-taking-off-chi-guidance-offered-for-travelers-stranded-by-direct-air-20120314,0,2474593.story)

Indeed, the federal regulations for public charters prohibit flight cancellations within 10 days of the departure date, and require the operating carriers to repatriate any stranded passengers. The first regulation certainly wasn't followed by Direct Air, any it appears that the second one isn't being followed by the various airlines hired by Direct Air. I suspect that DOT is going to impose some major fines ... but that doesn't help the passengers.

The 10 day notice rule doesn't work if the charter operator doesn't have the money to pay for fuel or to pay money due the contracted carriers.

Does anyone really think Direct Air will be flying ever? Do we think they'll be any money left to pay a DOT fine? Refund tickets. Fuel. Money due airlines. Money due airports. Major fines. Do you even think the carrier will be in business long enough to even respond?

OrangeCountyCommuter
03-14-2012, 09:47 PM
As someone who has used Direct Air out of Worcester in the past I just wanted to say I am so sorry and good luck to everyone affected. I never knew there was risk in booking with them - just assumed they could offer better prices because they use smaller regional airports. They were extremely convenient - how were people supposed to know they were risky :confused3.

I hope everyone is able to reschedule and still have a magical vacation. :grouphug:

For future reference if an airfare is dramatically lower then everything else,...it is a risk


The big cost in airlines is not the airport but paying for equipment and fuel. Smaller airports don't help there.

jsilvers
03-14-2012, 09:47 PM
The 10 day notice rule doesn't work if the charter operator doesn't have the money to pay for fuel or to pay money due the contracted carriers.

It may not "work" (as I noted, passengers are still up a creek), but it does apply. "[T]he charter operator may not cancel the charter less than 10 days before the scheduled departure date, except for circumstances that make it physically impossible to perform the charter trip."

Do you even think the carrier will be in business long enough to even respond?

I wouldn't be surprised if Direct Air vanishes into the night. But it's insurers will still be around, as will the carriers that it hired (which apparently haven't abided by their responsibility to repatriate passengers). And DOT has the authority to fine individuals, not just companies, so if I were a senior Direct Air employee, I would be very, very worried right now.

Lewisc
03-14-2012, 10:12 PM
It's physically impossible to fly a plane without fuel. You can't fuel up without paying. All the rules you quote apply to a viable business. There isn't much that can be done if the company is broke.

We'll find out if rules regarding escrow and bonding were followed. I wouldn't be surprised if we find out the credit card companies were (at least attempting) to monitor the situation.




It may not "work" (as I noted, passengers are still up a creek), but it does apply. "[T]he charter operator may not cancel the charter less than 10 days before the scheduled departure date, except for circumstances that make it physically impossible to perform the charter trip."

Jake797
03-14-2012, 10:15 PM
Ugh.....called CC to find that they won't offer a credit since it doesn't fall within the "no fly" time period. I feel completely misled by the rep I spoke with yesterday and basically told me I'd have a credit in 15 days. This all just makes me SICK!

I am in the same boat with my in-laws. I'm thinking that I will just book a flight out of STL rather than wait until DirectAir announces that they will not fly again.

mousey
03-14-2012, 11:23 PM
Direct Air received a lot of benefits for setting up shop in Niagara Falls, NY five years ago. There was no reason to suspect that they would pull a stunt like cancelling all flights for 2 months. The legislators are involved now and this is a big black eye for the region, so I think there will be reimbursement. I also think Direct Air is done! They were still selling tickets the night that they stopped their operation. If that wasn't criminal, I don't know what is!:confused3 So sorry to all the stranded passengers who are trying to get on vacation, come home from vacation, or anyone having trouble getting their money back!:mad:

DebbieB
03-15-2012, 12:14 AM
Direct Air received a lot of benefits for setting up shop in Niagara Falls, NY five years ago. There was no reason to suspect that they would pull a stunt like cancelling all flights for 2 months. The legislators are involved now and this is a big black eye for the region, so I think there will be reimbursement. I also think Direct Air is done! They were still selling tickets the night that they stopped their operation. If that wasn't criminal, I don't know what is!:confused3 So sorry to all the stranded passengers who are trying to get on vacation, come home from vacation, or anyone having trouble getting their money back!:mad:

This is typical when a small airline goes under, it's sudden. It's not like a major airline where banks will float them money until they can get back on their feet under Chapter 11. I'm sure they were scrambling to find a way to keep flying, they were not going to cut off their revenue stream by not selling tickets. They are probably looking for an investor but have no choice but to cancel flights, they have no fuel. I've always said it's risky booking these small airlines with limited schedules. We've seen it before, poof they're gone. With fuel rising fast, they may not be the last.

quirty30
03-15-2012, 01:30 AM
That's what is supposed to happen, under the public charter rules issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation. But who knows if Direct Air was actually following the rules? ("The Department is investigating the handling of that escrow account." -- http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/takingoff/ct-taking-off-chi-guidance-offered-for-travelers-stranded-by-direct-air-20120314,0,2474593.story)

There's also some useful info in that article, which I will copy and paste here:

Obtaining a Refund

Consumers affected by Direct Air's cessation of service who are due a refund need to be able to prove to the escrow bank and surety bond company that they purchased charter air transportation or an air charter tour package from Direct Air. Documents that may accomplish that might include a Direct Air receipt or invoice, or possibly the consumer's credit card purchase record.

Under Department rules, consumers may request a refund from Direct Air by writing to the company at 1600 Oak Street, Suite B, Myrtle Beach, FL 29577, with copies sent to the company's escrow depository bank, Valley National Bank, 1455 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ 07470, and to the holder of its surety bond, Platte River Insurance Company, Alejandro Navarro, Attorney-in-Fact, 700 A Lake Street, Ramsey, NJ 07446. Claims made under the surety bond must be made within 60 days of the date of the originally-scheduled return air transportation. Claims are limited to the amount paid by the consumer for the charter air transportation or air charter tour package.

Credit and Debit Card Refunds

Customers who paid Direct Air by credit card may be entitled to a credit from their credit card company under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Write to your credit card issuer, being sure to state your account number. Enclose a photocopy of your credit card statement, if you have received one, and a photocopy of your ticket, itinerary or receipt if possible, or indicate the price of the transportation and the date it was purchased. State that Direct Air has ceased operations, that you will not receive the product that you charged to your account (i.e., the comprehensive tour), and that you are requesting a credit pursuant to the Fair Credit Billing Act.

The credit card issuer must receive this notice no later than 60 days after the date that you received the first monthly statement that listed the Direct Air charge, although credit card companies sometimes waive this deadline for future transportation. If you have a paper ticket or other evidence of your transportation, some credit card issuers may ask for the original unused ticket or other documentation. If this is requested, keep a photocopy and send the original by certified mail. Do not send the original documentation unless it is requested. However, it would be a good idea to enclose a copy of any confirmation or itinerary sheet that you may have received.

There are no federal protections for debit card purchases of the type described above for credit cards. However, some debit card issuers voluntarily provide some or all of those protections. If you paid by debit card, check with your debit card issuer regarding your refund rights.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

I'm not affected by this, but I can't help but feel bad for those of you who are.

jsilvers
03-15-2012, 06:49 AM
It's physically impossible to fly a plane without fuel. You can't fuel up without paying.

And paying isn't physically impossible. Your reasoning would create a massive loophole in DOT's requirements. Fortunately, that's not how it works. (But again, that admittedly won't help the passengers who are stranded now.)

goofy4tink
03-15-2012, 07:54 AM
No offense Lewisc, but that is not correct. People are being refunded right now by their cc companies, not Direct Air....and I know that most (including us) have to wait until our flight date has past for anything to happen. I also know of several people who have been told they are NOT getting their money back because they bought their tickets too long ago (like a year ago). Unfortunately, a refund on this one is NOT a sure thing. I'll actually be shocked if it happens. The company seems to owe a lot of money to a lot of people.....my sense is that they will file Ch.11 in the near future...who would ever fly with them again?

As I said, for quite a while, it was a great deal. However, just because we assume "some" or "a lot" of risk, as you put it, doesn't make it right the way this happened. They were still booking flights Monday night...that is just wrong! I encourage people to contact their AG so that Direct Air can not do this to anyone else.

People that have had flights actively cancelled are getting refunds...through their credit card companies. And you're correct....if you booked a long time ago, you may risk not getting all your money back. In that situation, you are going to have to wait for DirectAir to refund, not the cc company...and that's going to be iffy.

DirectAir 'says' they'll be flying in May...I tend to doubt it. I can't imagine that they are going to come up with incredible operating strategy that will pull them out of this. And yet again, Worcester Mass is left with nada!!! It was so incredibly convenient to fly out of there...close to home, cheap parking. Ah well...maybe JetBlue will actually put in some flights there down the road.

Lewisc
03-15-2012, 09:27 AM
And paying isn't physically impossible. Your reasoning would create a massive loophole in DOT's requirements. Fortunately, that's not how it works. (But again, that admittedly won't help the passengers who are stranded now.)

It is if you don't have any money. I guess the executives of Direct Air could try robbing banks. It's not really a loophole. An airline which doesn't have enough money to follow DOTs requirements can't expect to stay in business. Do any of us really think Direct Air is going to find investors? Find a buyer? Every fly another flight?

DOT rules don't work when an airline runs out of money and closes up shop. You can't get blood out of a stone. The rules would have stopped Direct Air from cancelling flights without proper notice, if they were a going concern.

We'll see as refunds get processed if the rules regarding escrow requirements need to be improved.

Put it a different way. Any fines assessed by the DOT will be added to the list of obligations presented to a bankruptcy court. I don't know where they are in priority. Above money owed to local airports? Above money owned to the companies DA was chartering from? Above money owed for fuel? Above money owed to employees? Passenger refunds? Do you think they'll ever be collected.

Assuming we're right and DA is history DOT fines are probably a waste of time. Certainly won't help passengers.

edited What's needed is for the DOT (or whatever gov't agency is responsible) to put a fork in Direct Air so passengers booked past May 15 can get refunds and make other plans. Those passengers now have to book other flights before they get a refund. They also face the, increasingly small, risk the Direct Air will find enough money to try a few more flights. Passengers booked on those flights might not be entitled to refunds.

phred52
03-15-2012, 10:26 AM
All this reminds me back in the early 80's when I got stuck in Athens when my charter airline went belly up. (long since forgotten the name).

The lesson I learned from that fiasco was to ALWAYS always ALWAYS travel with a credit card with a high enough unused limit to get yourself back home and pay for lodging & meals until you get there. Those 3 extra days in Athens were not cheap, but at least I was safe, well fed and ~knew~ I would get home eventually.

eeyoresmom
03-15-2012, 11:25 AM
Thank you to those who suggested I try to get a refund from Priceline for my car rental. They DID refund my money!

jsilvers
03-15-2012, 11:34 AM
It's not really a loophole. An airline which doesn't have enough money to follow DOTs requirements can't expect to stay in business.

Direct Air could have chosen not to wait until the last minute to when it realized there was trouble brewing. It wasn't "physically impossible" to conduct the flights, as you suggested. Indeed, DOT dealt with a similar matter just last year, and assessed a fine of $100,000. See http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?objectId=0900006480edcd3c&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf. If DOT goes after Direct Air, it isn't getting off on a technicality.

DOT rules don't work when an airline runs out of money and closes up shop. You can't get blood out of a stone.

True enough; as I noted, the passengers are still up a creek. But I would not be surprised if DOT initiated an enforcement case to make an example of both Direct Air and its principal employees. Even if Direct Air is a goner, the key employees can be held jointly liable for the fine and banned from working in the industry. It's happened before. See, for example, http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?objectId=0900006480e7a7c0&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf.

Put it a different way. Any fines assessed by the DOT will be added to the list of obligations presented to a bankruptcy court. I don't know where they are in priority.

I suspect that they don't receive any priority, so any recovery would depend on what assets remain. But I can tell you that DOT can and does assess fines against bankrupt carriers - again, presumably to make an example of them. A recent example - http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?objectId=0900006480e701b3&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf.

trina830
03-15-2012, 12:23 PM
The May 15th date is no longer called out on their website, and reading the document at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/cessations/Direct%20Air%20Fact%20Sheet.doc (hopefully I can post the link, if not, go to the Direct Air website and click through from there), it seems that everyone can apply for refunds now. Our flight was scheduled for July 12 and I am going to call the CC company today.

CapeCod95
03-15-2012, 04:37 PM
The May 15th date is no longer called out on their website, and reading the document at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/cessations/Direct%20Air%20Fact%20Sheet.doc (hopefully I can post the link, if not, go to the Direct Air website and click through from there), it seems that everyone can apply for refunds now. Our flight was scheduled for July 12 and I am going to call the CC company today.


Trina830 - Your post had very important updated info.

Here's why, two-days ago Chase Visa told me I would have to wait until the day after my reservation (my direct air fly date) and once they didn't perform Chase could then credit my visa account.

Now the US Dept of Transportation, Office of the Secretary of Transportation is saying that Direct Air DOES NOT have the authority to restart operations on May 15, 2012.

When I called Chase Visa (Disney Visa of course) a short time ago, they told me that based on these new developments they could issue an immediate credit.:) I'm pleased i'm getting my money back timely but like everyone effected, I've spent the past 72-hours making new travel arrangements (and paying through the nose).

I am now an expert on the Eastern seaboard transportation system in the United States - I know more about buses, trains and regional airports then I ever care to. Good luck to everyone in obtaining refunds and persuing alternative transportation.

TwiddleDeeTwiddleDum
03-15-2012, 04:55 PM
Just wanted to post how sorry I am for those impacted by this. My sympathies, we had a similar experience in 2007 or 08 with the Skybus, a low fares carrier that went belly up.

We had literally booked & paid for a trip one night and the very next morning the news broke they'd be canceling all flights. I was so mad they had the gall to take money from people less than 24 hours prior to this announcement. They too left passangers stranded & although there was no official reason (bankruptcy) I immediately called my credit card company to dispute the charge.

Let me encourage you to not take no for an answer if you've been screwed out of your money. Make sure you keep goods notes & document everything you do in trying to get your money back, and don't wait either. Granted I had just had my credit card charged so it was probably easier for me to dispute, but fact was my flight wasn't for many months away after I had paid. I pointed out to my credit card company that they were going to obviously be unable to deliver what they had charged my card for, offered to e-mail the article, send them a link, whatever they needed to confirm &/or verify my story. They disputed the charge & refunded my payment immediately. I was told by my bank they have some sort of an escrow to make these kinds of payments and that they would go ahead and file the claim for the refund as a group, for not only myself but the other customers they had that were taken advantage of.

So don't give up, don't roll over and most importantly, don't delay making those phone calls and starting an audit trail to secure your hard earned cash back. Good luck - the following post is an excellent resource.

P.S. and yes, I did rebook my trip with another carrier even before I knew the outcome, I wasn't going to sit by and have them further ruin my trip not knowing if they'd fulfill their obligation to provide service or not. You just have to look at it as a loss and hope for the best - but stick with it and don't expect anyone else to worry about you getting your money back but you!

There's also some useful info in that article, which I will copy and paste here:

Obtaining a Refund

Consumers affected by Direct Air's cessation of service who are due a refund need to be able to prove to the escrow bank and surety bond company that they purchased charter air transportation or an air charter tour package from Direct Air. Documents that may accomplish that might include a Direct Air receipt or invoice, or possibly the consumer's credit card purchase record.

Under Department rules, consumers may request a refund from Direct Air by writing to the company at 1600 Oak Street, Suite B, Myrtle Beach, FL 29577, with copies sent to the company's escrow depository bank, Valley National Bank, 1455 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ 07470, and to the holder of its surety bond, Platte River Insurance Company, Alejandro Navarro, Attorney-in-Fact, 700 A Lake Street, Ramsey, NJ 07446. Claims made under the surety bond must be made within 60 days of the date of the originally-scheduled return air transportation. Claims are limited to the amount paid by the consumer for the charter air transportation or air charter tour package.

Credit and Debit Card Refunds

Customers who paid Direct Air by credit card may be entitled to a credit from their credit card company under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Write to your credit card issuer, being sure to state your account number. Enclose a photocopy of your credit card statement, if you have received one, and a photocopy of your ticket, itinerary or receipt if possible, or indicate the price of the transportation and the date it was purchased. State that Direct Air has ceased operations, that you will not receive the product that you charged to your account (i.e., the comprehensive tour), and that you are requesting a credit pursuant to the Fair Credit Billing Act.

The credit card issuer must receive this notice no later than 60 days after the date that you received the first monthly statement that listed the Direct Air charge, although credit card companies sometimes waive this deadline for future transportation. If you have a paper ticket or other evidence of your transportation, some credit card issuers may ask for the original unused ticket or other documentation. If this is requested, keep a photocopy and send the original by certified mail. Do not send the original documentation unless it is requested. However, it would be a good idea to enclose a copy of any confirmation or itinerary sheet that you may have received.

There are no federal protections for debit card purchases of the type described above for credit cards. However, some debit card issuers voluntarily provide some or all of those protections. If you paid by debit card, check with your debit card issuer regarding your refund rights.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

I'm not affected by this, but I can't help but feel bad for those of you who are.

HeatherC
03-15-2012, 06:08 PM
I just got another email from Direct Air. It basically said they are ceasing operations and to contact your credit card company for a refund.

Makes me feel better about getting the refund if they are telling us to do this and not disputing it.

Anyone else get the email?

pigletto
03-15-2012, 07:53 PM
I just got another email from Direct Air. It basically said they are ceasing operations and to contact your credit card company for a refund.

Makes me feel better about getting the refund if they are telling us to do this and not disputing it.

Anyone else get the email?

I did. I got it twice today. Presumably because I have two sets of flights. One was in April and I was due a refund under the initial suspension of service. Another set of flights are for August and I was waiting to see what happened to their services after May15th to file a claim on those.

I called my credit card company with this updated information and they are now more aware of the situation that when I initially called on Tuesday when this news broke.
The protocol to follow is still the same. I am to send in my receipts, credit card statements showing the charge, and copies of the relevant statements from the Department of Transportation on how to proceed with a refund.

While I was not given a 100% answers to my inquiries, I was told today to follow this procedure, and "we'll get you all fixed up with a refund".:)

My advice again to anyone calling their credit card company is to have as much info as possible handy before you make the call. This may not be a situation that the rep who handles your call is familiar with and it goes much smoother if you can read them the email and quote the DOT statements.

Good Luck to everyone and let me say to each and every one of you that while we've learned a valuable lesson, I am so pleased to see what a helpful and calm thread this has been.:)

jsilvers
03-15-2012, 08:06 PM
I just got another email from Direct Air. It basically said they are ceasing operations and to contact your credit card company for a refund.

Makes me feel better about getting the refund if they are telling us to do this and not disputing it.

Although that suggests Direct Air was not escrowing payments as required by federal law (i.e., because otherwise refunds could be paid from the escrow account). That's bad news for customers who didn't pay by credit card.

focusondisney
03-15-2012, 08:32 PM
The Buffalo News is reporting today that DirectAir owes the Niagara Falls Transit Authority (operator of NF airport) $88,000. :scared1: Can't imagine how much they must owe in total if that's the figure for just one airport. :sad2:

kirs10a
03-15-2012, 08:40 PM
Based on the removal of the May 15th date and the words "ceased operations", my dispute has now been filed and the credit card company (Disney Visa) does not anticipate any issues crediting back my account. The credit should show in 2 days....although there is still 60 days for Direct Air to dispute the charge. The rep I spoke with indicated that since I've received the email (twice) today, it would be very difficult for them to argue that they could deliver the service.

I'll be booking alternate airfare tonight.

minniemomof3
03-15-2012, 09:14 PM
I got the same email. I`m sending a copy of my flight confirmation, copy of my Amex statement, print out from their website and the email I received today to my CC company first thing in the morning. My only concern is that I bought the tickets in November, outside of the 60 day window. I really hope that doesn`t make a difference.

Has anyone ever received a refund from Amex over a consumer dispute, I wonder how long the process takes. I was told once they open the dispute they will send me a release and assignment claim form. It sounds like a lengthy process.

minniemomof3
03-15-2012, 09:35 PM
Just received another email from Direct Air. This one is worded a little differently, but basically stating if you haven`t started your travel to contact your credit card company for a refund.

pigletto
03-15-2012, 09:45 PM
I got the same email. I`m sending a copy of my flight confirmation, copy of my Amex statement, print out from their website and the email I received today to my CC company first thing in the morning. My only concern is that I bought the tickets in November, outside of the 60 day window. I really hope that doesn`t make a difference.

Has anyone ever received a refund from Amex over a consumer dispute, I wonder how long the process takes. I was told once they open the dispute they will send me a release and assignment claim form. It sounds like a lengthy process.

I'm dealing with Mastercard, not Amex, however from what I was told the credit cards company can "elect" to work past the 60 days dispute period with you, and that is one issue I will push very hard on. This is still services not rendered and for flight travel the 60 day window doesn't work. They have an option to waive that rule in this case, and I am expecting they will. My other set of flights will be fine as I purchased them last week.
I'll update the thread if I find out anything useful but I am not expecting to see a refund really quickly. I'd say if I fax it in tomorrow I will give it a few days to make sure it was received and maybe a week to process before I call to check on it again.

Lewisc
03-15-2012, 09:46 PM
Although that suggests Direct Air was not escrowing payments as required by federal law (i.e., because otherwise refunds could be paid from the escrow account). That's bad news for customers who didn't pay by credit card.

Direct Air is telling passengers who paid with a debit card or with cash to file a claim with the escrow bank.

you paid by cash or debit card, please call 1-855-888-8090 or see the detailed instructions for filing a claim with the escrow bank and securer contained in the DOT Notice.


This merely suggests the escrow bank might find it easier if the credit card companies did the legwork for them.

We have no idea if Direct Air was properly handling escrow. The claim procedure doesn't give us any insight.

edited to add I'm not really disagreeing (much) with jsilvers. The DOT is investigating how Direct Air handled the escrow account. It's certainly possible irregularities will turn up. My point is nothing has been proven.

People are told to make a credit card charge back, if possible. It's a lot easier then filing a claim directly with the escrow bank.

MapleGirl
03-16-2012, 09:40 AM
We had flights on Direct Air for our trip April 21-28, Worcester to Sanford. I also had a great deal on a SUV rental out of Sanford. Now I'm scrambling trying to find good and cheap flights from Boston or Providence to Orlando. It going to cost so much more. :headache: Lesson learned.

Lewisc
03-16-2012, 09:59 AM
We had flights on Direct Air for our trip April 21-28, Worcester to Sanford. I also had a great deal on a SUV rental out of Sanford. Now I'm scrambling trying to find good and cheap flights from Boston or Providence to Orlando. It going to cost so much more. :headache: Lesson learned.

I'd wait to cancel my SUV rental. I suggest, after you book flights, contacting the agency and explain why you need to modify your reservation. Ask if you can keep your current rates. Even if they say no they may still be able to give you a better rate then what's available on their website.

Forget about "cheap" flights. Just hope for a price you can live with.

JoeCathyAngelina
03-16-2012, 10:36 AM
We had flights on Direct Air for our trip April 21-28, Worcester to Sanford. I also had a great deal on a SUV rental out of Sanford. Now I'm scrambling trying to find good and cheap flights from Boston or Providence to Orlando. It going to cost so much more. :headache: Lesson learned.

We had the same plan for the 3 of us during 4/14-4/21. Directair Worchester to Sanford, $507 non-stop, $49 parking for the week at the airport, $192 Avis Ford Escape for the week, $748 total Transportation cost. :cool1::cool1:
Now, Kayak and all are showing $700-800 airfare for a single ticket with midnight landings at Sanford and daybreak departures from Sanford on 6 to 8hour flights, that's absurd. :scared1::sick::scared1::eek:
Rather than going through the TSA (Transportation System Absurdity), Spending 10-12 hours at airports and on airplanes; with a cost of about $3,000, we're going to our backup plan. :upsidedow:mad::sick::confused:
The backup plan is our 22 hour road trip, about $500 for gas ($3.75/gallon), $50 for tolls, $550 total Transportation cost. :teacher:
We drove in '04 ($1.64/gallon) and '07 ($2.80/gallon) because of the absurd airfare; it looks like we're using the backup plan again this year. :headache::confused3
Hope for the best, good luck all,
Joe


Our last road Trip to WDW started Friday the 13th of April 2007, at 3:45 pm in our 2006 Chevy Trailblazer:

Destination, Miles, Total Miles from Boston, Time

Leaving, Boston to Walt Disney World: Friday, 4/13/07, 3:45pm
1, Boston to New Jersey 208 208 7:49 PM
2, N J to Laurel MD 219 427 11:44 PM
3, MD to Rocky Mt NC 250 677 3:36 AM
4, NC to Manning SC 219 896 7:00 AM
5, SC to Kingsland GA 226 1,122 10:30 AM
Arrived, GA to WDW 203 1,325 2:00 PM

Started, Friday, 4/13/07 3:45 PM
Finished, Saturday, 4/14/07 2:00 pm
A 22 hr trip with 5 stops along the way down
63 gallons of gas, $175 for the gas, 21 mpg


The Trip Home started at 9:45 AM, Saturday, April 21,2007
Destination, Miles, Total Miles from WDW, Time

Leaving Walt Disney World to Boston: Saturday, April 21st 9:45 AM
1, WDW to Kingsland Ga 194 194 12:44 PM
2, GA to Manning SC 226 420 4:16 PM
3, SC to Rocky Mt. NC 218 638 7:42 PM
4, NC to Aberdeen MD 292 930 12:26 AM
5, MD to Newark NJ 170 1,100 3:27 AM
Arrived, NJ to Boston, MA 246 1,346 7:30 AM

Started, Saturday, 4/21 9:45 AM 0 Miles
Finished, Sunday, 4/22 7:30 AM 1346 miles
A 22 hr trip with 5 stops on the way home
62 gallons of gas $175 for the gas 21 mpg

Total miles 2,671, about 21 mpg, about 70 mph
Total gas 125gallons $350
Total Tolls $50

CapeCod95
03-16-2012, 12:22 PM
We had flights on Direct Air for our trip April 21-28, Worcester to Sanford. I also had a great deal on a SUV rental out of Sanford. Now I'm scrambling trying to find good and cheap flights from Boston or Providence to Orlando. It going to cost so much more. :headache: Lesson learned.


Hi...I was in the same boat. I ended up booking Southwest Boston to Tampa- my airfare cost doubled but TAmpa is only about an hours drive to Orlando.

You might want to check Amtrak. They have trains from Boston to Orlando. I was looking at one from Providence to Orlando....that goes Providence to NY Penn Station then to Orlando (26 hrs from start to finish) and for a family of 5 it was $1490 roundtrip with a AAA discount for another $200 each way you could add a sleeping car for 2. Not a bad option for those hosed by Direct Air.

MapleGirl
03-16-2012, 12:23 PM
Hi...I was in the same boat. I ended up booking Southwest Boston to Tampa- my airfare cost doubled but TAmpa is only about an hours drive to Orlando.

You might want to check Amtrak. They have trains from Boston to Orlando. I was looking at one from Providence to Orlando....that goes Providence to NY Penn Station then to Orlando (26 hrs from start to finish) and for a family of 5 it was $1490 roundtrip with a AAA discount for another $200 each way you could add a sleeping car for 2. Not a bad option for those hosed by Direct Air.

Thanks. I'm going to check this out. Can you tell me more about your flights?

I really like the idea of flying to Orlando via Southwest (found $200 flights that are fine) then taking the train with a roomette back. Is that what you were able to add for only $200? When I added it the cost was an additional $529. Did you use a code other than the drop down box for the passengers?

MapleGirl
03-16-2012, 12:41 PM
We had the same plan for the 3 of us during 4/14-4/21. Directair Worchester to Sanford, $507 non-stop, $49 parking for the week at the airport, $192 Avis Ford Escape for the week, $748 total Transportation cost. :cool1::cool1:
Now, Kayak and all are showing $700-800 airfare for a single ticket with midnight landings at Sanford and daybreak departures from Sanford on 6 to 8hour flights, that's absurd. :scared1::sick::scared1::eek:
Rather than going through the TSA (Transportation System Absurdity), Spending 10-12 hours at airports and on airplanes; with a cost of about $3,000, we're going to our backup plan. :upsidedow:mad::sick::confused:
The backup plan is our 22 hour road trip, about $500 for gas ($3.75/gallon), $50 for tolls, $550 total Transportation cost. :teacher:
We drove in '04 ($1.64/gallon) and '07 ($2.80/gallon) because of the absurd airfare; it looks like we're using the backup plan again this year. :headache::confused3
Hope for the best, good luck all,
Joe


Our last road Trip to WDW started Friday the 13th of April 2007, at 3:45 pm in our 2006 Chevy Trailblazer:

Destination, Miles, Total Miles from Boston, Time

Leaving, Boston to Walt Disney World: Friday, 4/13/07, 3:45pm
1, Boston to New Jersey 208 208 7:49 PM
2, N J to Laurel MD 219 427 11:44 PM
3, MD to Rocky Mt NC 250 677 3:36 AM
4, NC to Manning SC 219 896 7:00 AM
5, SC to Kingsland GA 226 1,122 10:30 AM
Arrived, GA to WDW 203 1,325 2:00 PM

Started, Friday, 4/13/07 3:45 PM
Finished, Saturday, 4/14/07 2:00 pm
A 22 hr trip with 5 stops along the way down
63 gallons of gas, $175 for the gas, 21 mpg


The Trip Home started at 9:45 AM, Saturday, April 21,2007
Destination, Miles, Total Miles from WDW, Time

Leaving Walt Disney World to Boston: Saturday, April 21st 9:45 AM
1, WDW to Kingsland Ga 194 194 12:44 PM
2, GA to Manning SC 226 420 4:16 PM
3, SC to Rocky Mt. NC 218 638 7:42 PM
4, NC to Aberdeen MD 292 930 12:26 AM
5, MD to Newark NJ 170 1,100 3:27 AM
Arrived, NJ to Boston, MA 246 1,346 7:30 AM

Started, Saturday, 4/21 9:45 AM 0 Miles
Finished, Sunday, 4/22 7:30 AM 1346 miles
A 22 hr trip with 5 stops on the way home
62 gallons of gas $175 for the gas 21 mpg

Total miles 2,671, about 21 mpg, about 70 mph
Total gas 125gallons $350
Total Tolls $50

You know, this is sounding better and better.

The best flights I can find are Southwest, Providence to Orlando. They are nonstop but we'd need to leave home on Friday instead of Saturday and come home Sunday (well, Monday really... midnight flight) instead of Saturday. That might be too much time away from home for us. We tend to get home sick and miss our kitties. Still thinking.... Oh, hmmm... we'd also need to get hotels for the additional nights and the flights will cost about $1000 for the two of us.

CapeCod95
03-16-2012, 12:47 PM
We had flights on Direct Air for our trip April 21-28, Worcester to Sanford. I also had a great deal on a SUV rental out of Sanford. Now I'm scrambling trying to find good and cheap flights from Boston or Providence to Orlando. It going to cost so much more. :headache: Lesson learned.

Thanks. I'm going to check this out. Can you tell me more about your flights?

I really like the idea of flying to Orlando via Southwest (found $200 flights that are fine) then taking the train with a roomette back. Is that what you were able to add for only $200? When I added it the cost was an additional $529. Did you use a code other than the drop down box for the passengers?


Hi..glad to help as I know how everyone effected by Direct Air feels ( I was miserable for a few days trying to arrange new transportation). I found the airfare down wasn't bad - I think I paid $200 as well, but it's the airfare back that was VERY high or there was nothing available back.

Yes, it was the roomette that I was quoted $200 for. When you check out, it will ask you if you're a AAA member and you can add your AAA card number there for an additional discount. I spoke to someone at Amtrak earlier this week and between the pictures on the Amtrak website and what the Amtrak person told me, the train seemed like it would actually be a pleasant experience (I nixed it as I have family of 5 with little ones and I would have needed a roomette and one of the bigger rooms as well and then I was approaching the same cost as flying).

Let me know if you have any more questions. Good luck!!

tinkerbell423
03-16-2012, 01:29 PM
We were going Aug 25 - Sept 1. I am now researching new options. We had reserved a house because me parents were coming and wanted to room but now I thinking values with free meal plan. I am also running the numbers flying vs driving. We would need to rent a car both of our are too unreliable. The best flights I am finding are from PHL round trip 210 (not bad) but the times stink. Still it's better than sitting in a car for 24 hours

MapleGirl
03-16-2012, 02:53 PM
After talking it over with DH we have decided to fly Southwest both ways. We have extended our vacation by a day on each side. We are now flying down on Friday and returning on Sunday instead of traveling on the Saturdays. I will be excited once I get used to the change. ((( :banana: ))) Our flights ended up being $799 total and our flights are nonstop. The return flight is a red-eye, but I think that is OK. Now to coordinate with the house sitter, call Budget about the rental car and find hotels for the extra nights. I think I'll have some tea first. :surfweb: Thanks everyone for your advice and support! Good luck to everyone else.

By the way, I found a new online flight search tool that I like. hipmonk.com super cute and I liked the flights all shown in a graph. I wish it showed more airlines.

OrangeCountyCommuter
03-16-2012, 02:57 PM
Direct Air is telling passengers who paid with a debit card or with cash to file a claim with the escrow bank.



This merely suggests the escrow bank might find it easier if the credit card companies did the legwork for them.

We have no idea if Direct Air was properly handling escrow. The claim procedure doesn't give us any insight.

edited to add I'm not really disagreeing (much) with jsilvers. The DOT is investigating how Direct Air handled the escrow account. It's certainly possible irregularities will turn up. My point is nothing has been proven.

People are told to make a credit card charge back, if possible. It's a lot easier then filing a claim directly with the escrow bank.

Actually it indicates Direct Air and possibly it's bank don't want to violate the terms of the credit card agreement a merchant has with the banks. The rules are that payments made via credit cards should be refunded via credit cards. Otherwise you could get a "cash" refund for something you paid for via a credit card. The credit card company does not want you doing that as it's basically a cash advance and they want to charge more for those.


As for the person who asked about Amex. you have two options. (A) it will be very fast (b) Amex will drage thier feet FOREVER. I have had both happen!

Lewisc
03-17-2012, 06:16 AM
Actually it indicates Direct Air and possibly it's bank don't want to violate the terms of the credit card agreement a merchant has with the banks. The rules are that payments made via credit cards should be refunded via credit cards. Otherwise you could get a "cash" refund for something you paid for via a credit card. The credit card company does not want you doing that as it's basically a cash advance and they want to charge more for those.


As for the person who asked about Amex. you have two options. (A) it will be very fast (b) Amex will drage thier feet FOREVER. I have had both happen!

Not really. The escrow bank could issue credit card refunds. Regardless jsilvers indicated having customers contact their credit card company suggests a deficiency in the escrow account. I said it suggests it's easier for both the passenger and escrow bank if the passenger deals with the credit card company and the credit card companies deal with the escrow bank. Your comment about the requirement of issuing a credit card credit instead of issuing a check merely gives an additional reason why it's easier.

Credit card companies don't want me buying something this morning and returning it for cash this afternoon for the reasons you list. How many passengers would book a ticket with a failing charter airline for the purpose of getting a cash refund from the escrow bank? There are techniques used to get cash from a credit card, without it being treated as a cash advance. This isn't one of them.

sunkissed4
03-17-2012, 07:55 AM
Just wanted to give an update to debit card users.. I purchased 3 family ties vouchers that were going to be used this summer and as soon as Direct Air filed bankruptcy I called my bank and had the money back in my account 4 hours later! Definitely contact your bank first, I had no idea it would be so quick :)

mousey
03-17-2012, 11:36 AM
sunkissed4, what proof did your bank ask for the debit card. My friend purchased her family ties with a debit card through the credit union and they told her to contact Direct Air directly?? I was wondering if maybe the credit union has never dealt with a situation like this before! Thanks:confused3

sunkissed4
03-17-2012, 11:44 AM
I faxed the bank the email Direct Air sent me saying they canceled their charter program and then called back after I heard the news about the bankruptcy and they said they were able to confirm they filed bankruptcy and would be crediting my account.

mousey
03-17-2012, 11:58 AM
Thank you!:goodvibes

MAH4546
03-18-2012, 06:27 AM
Just wanted to give an update to debit card users.. I purchased 3 family ties vouchers that were going to be used this summer and as soon as Direct Air filed bankruptcy I called my bank and had the money back in my account 4 hours later! Definitely contact your bank first, I had no idea it would be so quick :)

It's not that quick. When you do a charge bank, banks put the money back in your account in good faith and reserve the right to reverse the chargeback depending on their research.

Lewisc
03-18-2012, 08:06 AM
It's not that quick. When you do a charge bank, banks put the money back in your account in good faith and reserve the right to reverse the chargeback depending on their research.

True but in this case the merchant has already filed chapter 11 and told customers to file a credit card dispute. Not much research is required.

fitmom3
03-18-2012, 08:30 AM
We just got back from Florida. We flew Direct air last Friday (March 9). My sister called us on Wed to advise us the airline suspended flights. We ended up booking the last van with Avis ...We ended up driving from MCO to Niagara Falls Airport. We then had to drop off the rental at BUF airport. I got the rental van for only $500. If we get the money back from the cc company we won't be out that much money. The drive wasn't too bad - the kids were so good. We laugh about this. We are lucky that we booked Friday to Friday because we had the time to drive.

Direct Air upgraded us to first class seating - not sure why - we got free drinks, snacks etc and sat in the first couple of rows. The plane was one time which was a surprise. We found the seats worn and the staff were kind of tacky. you get what you pay for. My husband says from now on we only use Jetblue. U-Save car rental was also hard to deal with. We had a problem with our rental and it took several hours to get a call back. I would never use U-Save.

kirs10a
03-18-2012, 11:20 AM
fitmom---SO glad it worked out for you! I've tried to keep my June loss of tickets in perspective by thinking of families like yours who were mid-trip.

That said---My credit showed up today on my CC from Direct Air. SO happy that I'm no longer holding 2 sets of tickets without the credit.

All in all, I think I did okay.....I was able to book seats for the same dates on Frontier out of a slightly closer airport. When I booked Direct Air, the Frontier flights hadn't been added to the Bloomington, IL airport. It flies directly into MCO, so I was able to cancel my Happy Limo reservation. Total, it's only about $150 more than I was paying for Direct Air & car service, so I'm happy. DH is happy about using the ME vs. worrying about a private shuttle service.

I hope everyone sees the credit on their account ASAP!

MAH4546
03-18-2012, 05:36 PM
True but in this case the merchant has already filed chapter 11 and told customers to file a credit card dispute. Not much research is required.

Except for the fact that when they are unable to get a refund from the merchant (which will happen), the company has zero legal obligation to let the refund stand unless it was a credit transaction processed in the past 60 days.

Lewisc
03-19-2012, 08:06 AM
Except for the fact that when they are unable to get a refund from the merchant (which will happen), the company has zero legal obligation to let the refund stand unless it was a credit transaction processed in the past 60 days.

We have no idea how much money was in the escrow account, covered by bonding or how the escrow account will be allocated to passengers if found to be deficient. Even if there isn't enough money to pay every claimant there may be enough money to cover passengers who paid with a debit card and who paid more then about 90 days ago (60 days plus time to hit statement).

You have a year from the statement to make a claims and defenses. Customers in some states have such a claim.

Finally credit card companies (really banks) are unlikely to refuse a charge back if other banks are crediting their customers in similar situations.

A number of other lcc went out of business over the last 10 years. I don't recall reading anything which suggested passengers had issues getting credit card refunds. My memory is most (all?) debit card passengers were taken care of, just took longer. Those were scheduled airlines. Direct Air was operating as a public charter. Escrow and bonding requirements exist.

minniemomof3
04-03-2012, 11:03 PM
I got my release papers from Amex by registered mail on Friday. I'm to sign the form and send it back registered mail with a copy of the unused tickets within 10 business days. I sent it today and hope to have a response soon. I did find it strange that I was to address the envelope Attention: Direct Air. I'm assuming they have a lot of customers in the same situation.

JoeCathyAngelina
04-03-2012, 11:34 PM
I got my release papers from Amex by registered mail on Friday. I'm to sign the form and send it back registered mail with a copy of the unused tickets within 10 business days. I sent it today and hope to have a response soon. I did find it strange that I was to address the envelope Attention: Direct Air. I'm assuming they have a lot of customers in the same situation.

What are/were your flight dates? :confused:
I talked to Chase. :headache:
They sent me some forms. :rolleyes1
I filled out the forms they sent me and sent them back a couple of weeks ago. :sad2:
I talked to them again and I was told they had the money pending but could not release it until my flight dates 4/14-4/21 passed. :teacher:
Has anyone gotten a refund from their credit card company? :confused3
I'm so fed up with the Airline Industry this year we're driving down again for the 3rd time, '04, '07 and now '12 . :laundy:
Good luck all,
Joe

minniemomof3
04-03-2012, 11:52 PM
My flight dates are for July and I purchased the tickets in November. I really hope they don't make me wait until July for the refund. :sad2:

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
04-04-2012, 06:34 AM
What are/were your flight dates? :confused:

Has anyone gotten a refund from their credit card company? :confused3


My boss's flight dates were March 26 (to Myrtle Beach), returning April 6. He received his refund from TD Visa the Friday before he left (I rebooked him on Delta for the same dates at more than twice the original Direct Air price :eek: ) .

The bank did their darnest to fight it, but once we stressed the "Visa E-Promise" protection benefits that were easily found online (and seemed to be established just for situations like this), the credit was applied to his credit card.

He had only purchased his tickets 11 days prior to the ceasing of service by Direct Air, so fortunately it was recent enough that he didn't have some of the issues that those who booked 6 months or more ago experienced.

jsilvers
04-04-2012, 09:51 PM
We have no idea how much money was in the escrow account

As I suspected might happen, the cupboard has turned out to be bare (or close to it):

lawyers are testifying that the money isn’t in the escrow account, leaving both customers and credit-card companies exposed.

The Worcester Telegram reported earlier week that a lawyer for Direct Air, Steven Fox, said during a hearing that millions of dollars are missing from the escrow account. And a lawyer for the bank where the escrow account is held confirmed that there’s only about $1 million in the account.

Fox told the judge that “irregularities” had been uncovered in the handling of the escrow account. “It is our belief that the escrow account was invaded. It may have been invaded in an unlawful manner,” he said, adding that customers are owed at least $10 million and maybe as much as $30 million according to the newspaper.

http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2012/03/29/funds-missing-from-direct-air-escrow-account/.

Lewisc
04-05-2012, 09:13 AM
As I suspected might happen, the cupboard has turned out to be bare (or close to it):



That may well be true but at least one poster was making that claim long before there were any facts to support such a position.

minniemomof3
04-16-2012, 11:50 PM
I spoke to Amex today and they have received all the documents I've sent. They told me the dispute is still under investigation, however they assured me I will definitely be getting my money back. They said they have already suspended the payment on my account. I feel a lot better finally getting an answer. I haven't seen a credit posted to my account yet, however hoping to get one soon.

When I called I was transferred to a dispute representative, she was very nice and was able to answer all my questions.

Isabel57
04-17-2012, 04:37 AM
http://www.infoocean.info/avatar3.jpgUnfortunately, it cost us $500 more! it was either that or cancel

Maliki2
04-17-2012, 07:45 AM
I ended up getting a refund from Visa plus interest at least.

This whole fiasco ended up costing me another $400. Since I was limited on days I could book with DirectAir. We were traveling from a Saturday to Saturday which I NEVER do due to costs. So I had to book United from Saturday to Saturday which probably added an additional $300+ to our flights. UGH!

minniemomof3
04-24-2012, 07:17 PM
I finally got my refund from Amex. My new flights cost $700 (family of five) but worth it because I can take ME and not pay the crazy car rental costs from Lakeland. I regretted purchasing from Direct Air right from the beginning, the whole ordeal has been a nightmare. I'll stick to the major airlines from now on.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
04-24-2012, 08:44 PM
I finally got my refund from Amex.

:banana: :banana: :banana:

Great news! :thumbsup2

What a long process......so glad to hear it had a happy ending!

magiroux
04-25-2012, 09:26 AM
I received a refund on my cc statement (capitalone) immediately after the official 'bankrupt' announcement was made. I was told it fell under the protection on cc, "services paid for but not received".

All in all it cost me about $300 more to rebook new flights than had I booked with JetBlue the day flights opened for my travel dates. I feel fortunate that this didn't happen a few weeks before my vacation because I think it would have cost us much more to book last minute flights.

pigletto
04-25-2012, 11:41 AM
I an immediate refund from Capital One for August flights as they had just been booked. I received the credit for the flights that we were taking in April but had purchased in October after I sent in all my proof.

Luckily I got an email right after this happened for a sale at Southwest and it only cost us 200 more to rebook flights for April.
It still remains to be seen what we'll be able to find August flights for. I am just glad the whole process is over.

And aside from a few clueless customer service reps ( and I literally mean had zero idea what I was talking about despite me following instructions to the letter), I had AWESOME service overall with Capital One Canada and am very thankful they were so helpful.