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Do Not Buy Into the Family Ties Program
Posted by JETbiker on 05/06/2010
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA -- I purchased 10 tickets online with Direct Air under the "Family Ties" program ($149/ticket special rate) in December 2009. The deal was advertised to run from January 10, 2010 through October 30, 2010. My son-in-law used 1 ticket in early April 2010. After he booked is flight (from Springfield, IL to Punta Gorda, FL) the reservation desk told him the deal was "seasonal" and no more flights would be from Illinois (as of April 17, 2010). In March 2010, I called the reservation desk and talked to Marianne, a supervisor, who told me to send an email to the corporate office. She said I probably could not get a refund, but could get an extension. I sent 2 emails, made 4 phone calls, sent letter to the corporate office, and 2 messages through their FACEBOOK page. Its been over 2 months sand I have received no response. I am stuck with 9 tickets and stand to lose $1,300.00. Its a scam because they have no customer service and they don't resolve issues and the corporate office does not publish a phone number. By omission, they deceive the customer into believing their tickets are good for a year, when in realty they are good for about 3 months. I filed a complaint with BBB. UPDATE: Go to Direct Air's Facebook, trip advisor, etc. and read the negative comments! Direct Air has an "F" rating by the Better Business Bureau which received 52 complaints in the last 36 months.
     
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Posted by Becca Piper on 2011-06-10:
Please note that Family Ties is NOT The Ties Program. There is no connection at all between this article and The Ties Program.
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You really do get what you pay for
Posted by Tell the truth, the whole truth, and ... on 04/17/2010
The Family Ties promotion offers great prices, but horrendous service. Flights must be booked by phone, but after over 2 hours I had to call customer service number and wait for them to call me back.
Very long check-in lineups reveal that you get what you pay for. After the trip from Niagara Falls we were not surprised by the hour and a half line at Punta Gorda, but we were not prepared for the 10 hour flight delay.

It's been noted in other reviews that Direct Air doesn't have any staff on hand at the airport and that's certainly the case in Punta Gorda. It's also a big problem if things go wrong, and with their fleet of older aircraft, my guess is that this is not an isolated situation.
The most frequently asked questions by our entrapped passengers:
When mechanical breakdowns occur, does Direct Air have an active back-up plan in place?

Apparently not. Beside our plane another Direct Air jet sat idly on the tarmac all day. It must have been experiencing issues too, or presumably they could have used it to fly us home. Makes one wonder how serious the problems are with their aircraft.

Why isn’t there a representative from Direct Air on hand at the airport that is empowered to make proper decisions in case of emergencies?
Passengers respect that the airline cares about safety, even if it means delays. The airport staff and TSA officials made every attempt to help us, but let’s face it, it isn’t their problem - it's an airline issue. It also seems reasonable to ask why the replacement plane had 5 less seats on it than the original. As for the 10 hour encampment, provision of a slice of pizza and a can of soda is a pathetic response.

Passengers can deal with the truth; why did you lie to us?
The announcements made at the airport and aboard the aircraft were misleading at best, and lies at worst. Here’s what we were told:
• “There is a mechanical problem with the plane, but we’ll have you in the air shortly.”
• “The problem with the plane is more serious – it may take an hour or so.”
• “We can’t get the part in time, so we’ll arrange for another plane.”
• “You’ll be on your way in a couple of hours.”
• “Your flight will leave shortly.” (Scheduled to leave at 2:30, we boarded around 9 o’clock and took off at 10:20). On-board, we were first told from the flight deck that they needed time to add fuel because of turbulent weather in the Niagara area The next delay was attributed to 3 missing passengers who didn’t match up with the manifesto ???.
• References to weather in Niagara Falls were announced in flight, but they didn’t tell us we were actually heading to Buffalo. After landing they said the weather in N. F. was not suitable. Word on the street says the NF airport is not staffed at that time of night. What so hard about telling the truth?
• From the flight deck after landing at 1 a. m: “We’re going to arrange some busses to take you to Niagara Falls. By the time you pick up your baggage – the busses will be ready.” One of the bus drivers told us that they had been called at 10:30, and had been waiting for us since 11:45 pm”

With such an extended delay, doesn’t management care about implications to passengers and their families?
Some were able to cash vacation time the following day; others had no choice but to report to work with only a couple of hours sleep. Our daughter at home was frantic. Her whole family was aboard that flight but nobody to answers the phones at Direct Air and there was NOTHING on the web site.

We were influenced to travel with Direct Air based on comments by friends. We heard about direct flights between small airports at very reasonable prices. It sounded too good to be true, and you know what they say about that.

The answers from this airline are anything but direct, and when we speak to our friends now about this airline it is accompanied by clear advice: great caution is advised.

It's hard to put a price on peace of mind.
     
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Posted by Alain on 2010-04-17:
There's a reason why they're cheap. I think I'll stick with normal airlines. They may have problems, but at least I won't be booking a flight on a patched up DC-3.
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Direct Air Cancels All Flights From Kalamazoo To Myrtle Beach With No Warning
Posted by Tigroy4 on 06/27/2009
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Back in April 2009, I purchased 4 round trip tickets to Myrtle Beach. Direct Air had advertised and marketed this " direct from Kalamazoo to Myrtle Beach" route with lots of fanfare starting in December 2008. The trip was scheduled for July 6, 2009 and almost $1000.00 was taken from my account to pay for the tickets. Then on June 20th, just a couple weeks before the flight, I got a voice mail ( no e-mail, no personal phone call) saying to call a number concerning our flight. I called and was on hold for over an hour. Finally a female who sounded about 12 years old and had about the same intelligence level, said the route to Myrtle Beach was stopped. We had already booked a Marriott Resort Hotel, a rental car, reserved kennel for the dog, and purchased certificates from Restaurant.com for use in Myrtle Beach. She had no further information and said they would credit the money back, but nothing else for the short notice. Of course now being so close to travel time, the same flight on another airline is 3 to 4 times as much per ticket. When I asked how long I would have to wait for the money to be refunded, she had no concrete information and said it could be weeks. So they used my money for over two months, cancelled the flight and broke the contract with me, and still have not refunded our money. They are probably going bankrupt. I called our local newspaper, who had not heard that Direct Air had pulled all flights and gave them the info. Direct Air is sneaky, dishonest and extremely inconsiderate and has not refunded the money they took. I have been on hold today for over an hour waiting for a Direct Air "representative" to find out the status of the refund. Save yourself a headache and DO NOT book with Direct Air.

I just got through after an hour and 20 minute wait. The woman said "Only one employee is processing the credits, and he has other obligations and that is why it is taking so long". Oh really? Have you ever heard of hiring a temporary worker to help process credits for the people you have already pissed off by canceling their vacations? I guarantee that Direct Air will not last. Not with this type of customer service.
     
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Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-06-27:
I am very surprised that an airline as new as this one is already destroying the trust of its customers like this.

The route is no longer being offered but is still on their route map, so I believe this. Voted helpful.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-06-27:
Tigroy, do they have a local business office you can just walk into? You could probably get more done in person, just a thought.
Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-06-27:
The corporate office is in Myrtle Beach, the OP's destination.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-06-27:
Wasn't there a wildfire in Myrtle Beach, SC not too long ago?

Could be why the route was canceled though not removed from their route map.

Just a thought.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-06-27:
I see that SC, only in Myrtle Beach, S.C., that sucks. Guess it's sitting on the phone for the refund then.
Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-06-27:
It's made the news, and I believe this is the OP featured in the story.

http://www.mlive.com/business/kzgazette/index.ssf?/base/business-6/1245336631101470.xml&coll=7
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-06-27:
Good find, I like this part the best (talk about sleazy).

"Tull said that Direct Air initially canceled all April and May flights to Myrtle Beach but continued to try to sell flights for the June, July and August, causing the delay in Harrison's notification".

Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-06-27:
Agreed, big time. This is really going to hurt this airline's customer relations.
Posted by Ben There on 2009-06-28:
From a financial standpoint, who cares about customer relations in a city that is not buying much of your product anyway. If Direct Air survives this year, I doubt they will ever go back into Kalamazoo. Even if they do, a week of $10 fares will help most people forget.
Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-06-28:
Direct Air still has routes from Kalamazoo to Punta Gorda and Sanford, FL.
Posted by Ben There on 2009-06-28:
Wow, what kind of business plan do they have? Allegiant on crack? Regardless, my point is that from a business standpoint you have to weigh you regional customer perception vs. the bottom line.

If people don't think much of you anyway (at least not from a sales perspective) or if the cost of continuing a service far outweighs the revenue generated, then it is best to take a hit on PR side instead of going broke making people feel warm and fuzzy about your brand.
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-06-28:
Their CEO says, "``And if they want to go to the beach they can go to the beach up there ,''????

That's not even a matter of bad PR, that's a matter of just being callus and clueless.

Posted by Ben There on 2009-06-28:
Boki, that is what you get when you book am ultra low cost or charter carrier...
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-06-28:
I know Ben, but that is just a horrible attitude for their CEO to have..
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-06-28:
Just read in the paper today that the Irish carrier Ryan Air to cut costs will stop checking luggage (carry on only). And they will have no counter agents, you have to check in and get your tickets on-line. Think they are starting it in September. We only paid $10 Euro's each to go from Dublin to London with Ryan Air. No wonder they are trying to cut costs.
Posted by Anna on 2011-12-09:
I wish there was more consumer info on these jerks. I never would have booked with them. We paid for flights to San Juan, PR a few months ago. THen based on getting cheap flights, we booked our February cruise, and hotels. Now, in December 2011, they send an email saying to call them. And the useless "customer service" woman says the flight is cancelled. Just like that, no explanation or help. We are so screwed. The cruise has now been paid in full and is mostly not refundable. It will cost me about $300 more to get new flights. I wrote corporate and got back a "sorry, too bad" form letter. Then I sent them the nastiest letter I've even sent a company. SO DO NOT try to fly with them.
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Family Ties Voucher FAIL
Posted by Seriouslyneverflydirectair on 01/12/2011
Having just experienced Direct Air, I would pay double just to never hear their name again. We tried the Family Ties vouchers. Bought them, month later used their online form to reserve them. They don't tell you when you buy them most flights aren't available with them, you have to provide 2 dates to fly out and 2 dates to fly in - Direct Air chooses which days you fly, you don't get to choose which times you fly, you don't get to choose your seats and they probably won't be by each other. Even though I listed my daughter, a THREE year old, they put her 5 rows away from either of her parents. Brilliant. After I filled out the online form, and hit submit, I was told Direct Air would contact me "if" my reservation went through... what? If? So if it doesn't I never hear from you again? After a week with nothing, I called them. And called them. And called them. The first three calls I was told "Due to heavy call volume, we ask you call back at another time". What? No hold? So I submitted a contact form online. Two days, nothing.

Ok, so I called again. The 4th time I got "through", and by getting through I mean after I waited on hold for no less than 62 minutes. Then they add every charge in the book. $10 per person per way to change your seat even though they put the 3 year old rows away from her parents ($60 total), $10 convenience fee per person each way (what IS that? $60 total), oh and even though I first tried to make my reservations online, I was still charged $5 phone reservation per person per way ($30). I am up to an additional $150 not counting the luggage fees, which go $25-100 per checked bag per way. In the end, there is nothing discount about them.

We haven't flown out yet, but I can only pray they put more money into their Mechanics and Pilots than they do customer service. Just no one, ever, ever, ever try using their Family Ties vouchers... I honestly will never even fly with them again. Ever. Even if it were for free.
     
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Family Ties Program Is A Scam!
Posted by JETbiker on 02/26/2011
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA -- In Dec 2009, I made an online purchase for 10 vouchers at $149/ea under Direct Air’s “Family Ties” program. At that time, their website was misleading and not clear as to when the vouchers expired. In my case, the vouchers were good from January 1, 2010 until April 17, 2010 for only 3 months for flights between Springfield, IL and Punta Gorda, FL. There was no way I could use them in a short time. For 3 months, I could not reach anyone who could make decisions from Direct Air. I quickly found out that Direct Air has no customer service! It took me several emails, phone calls, complaints to the BBB before I finally got a call from a ‘supervisor”. I was finally able to get an extension until April 2011.

On February 2, 2011 during the blizzard in Illinois, Direct Air was the only air carrier that did not cancel its flight to Springfield, IL. Direct Air forced many passengers to wait ALL DAY at Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda Florida. My husband and stepson gave up…so they each wasted a voucher. Why would anyone fly to springfield when all the roads from that airport were closed? Direct Air does not care about the safety or what happens to its passengers!! My stepson ended up buying a ticket with another airline. My husband tried to reschedule a flight for February 16, but was told that all the seats were booked until mid April. Yet Direct Air just launched a “Valentine’s Special” promotion on Feb 11th for discounted tickets because they couldn’t book all their seats!

Direct Air discriminates against Family Ties voucher holders through a special online “itinerary request” form and through their phone in reservations. The online form asks for a first and second choice preference for the reservation. After submitting the form online, no one called or emailed us to let us know which date has been reserved. The Family Ties online form states: Please remember that the availability in the Family Ties class of service is limited on each Direct Air flight. Availability in the Family Ties class of service is granted at face value of the voucher solely on a first-come, first serve basis…. If your flight has been confirmed, you will receive a confirmation email. ” He received no confirmation email.

My husband had to make a special trip to the airport to find out the date he was supposed to fly out. Also, the form does not allow you the option of using your voucher for a 1-way trip, so you are forced to call for your reservation. Even though they have “other seats” available, they will not allow customers with vouchers to use them. The scam (or fraud) is: “Direct Air sells the vouchers, limits the number of available seats for customers holding vouchers, then sells the same seats TWICE when customers are not allowed to use their vouchers for ANY seat!!

On February 11, 2011, my husband waited over 1 hour for service representative. The “reservation clerk” told my husband there were no available seats that he needed to book his voucher a year in advance! But he could upgrade his voucher by paying an extra $96.00. Yet there were 57 available seats showing online on flight 5876 from Punta Gorda to Springfield on February 12th at 3:00 PM EST. We decided to use their online form and gave Feb 16 and Feb 19th as desired options for reservations. Since we did not receive an email, my husband went to the Punta Gorda airport again to check on his reservation status. He was told all seats were booked and he had no reservations. My husband then booked his ticket on another airline at a cost of $200.00 to fly out on Feb 18th. Then, we received an email confirmation on FEB 16TH from Direct Air that my husband had a reservation for Feb 18th! We wasted another ticket and there is no human being to talk to as there NO CUSTOMER SERVICE! We wasted 3 vouchers at a total of $447.00 plus purchased 2 tickets on other airlines to get to our destination at a total of $400.00. We will never use Direct Air and fly from Punta Gorda using your airport. As residents of Charlotte County we will go out of our way NOT to support Direct Air…even if it means flying to St. Pete/Clearwater or Ft. Myers airports. If another airline such as Allegiant Air offers service between Peoria Illinois and Punta Gorda, we will use them for our air carrier.

We have lost $450.00 in vouchers and there is no one to complain to because there is no customer service!!
     
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Posted by Alain on 2011-02-27:
You indicated a willingness to use another (maybe larger and therefore offering more choices in carriers) airport. Sounds like a good idea.
Posted by yoke on 2011-02-27:
My mom has used them in the past, to me they are not any cheaper then major airline.
Posted by Avis Mint on 2011-06-30:
If I were you I would file a complaint on Scam Book also... They are a consumer complaint center which specializes in gathering complaints to create class action lawsuits on behalf of the victims. They just filed a suit against BidRack and it looks like 500+ victims (including me) might see a refund http://www.scambook.com.

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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Failure to Follow Through With Promotion
Posted by Lindatuckerman on 03/07/2012
FLYING OUT OF WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS -- I have been trying since December to confirm 5 flights that have already been paid for. The family ties promotion offered purchase of air fare tickets then, destinations and dates to be confirmed when we wanted to make them.

There has been no contact available by phone; a machine picks up and says to call back later; no option to hold on.

I tried again today and message said to hold on; which I did for 82 minutes before a live agent came on. The flights I wanted in April were
not available; nothing is available in April. I asked for a refund. They do not refund. I asked if they would put on another flight to accommodate all those they overbooked and she said no, it is not their fault if there are no flights left. I asked her name. No answer. I asked to speak with a manager. She hung up on me. Now, I ask you: Is this any way to run a business? Is there no recourse?
F. Y.I. THEY ARE OFFERING A NEW PROMOTION NOW: WAY 2 GO.........I would not trust this to work either.
     
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Poor to No Customer Service
Posted by Ssmallory on 02/22/2012
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Beware! of Direct Air! While I don't usually dis on a company, this firm has got some customer service problems to work through. I can't change a reservation on-line or over the phone within the last 24 hrs. In case you don't believe me, just try to reach them on their 877 or even at their corporate office numbers. All I get is a recording that all circuits are busy, or another one that says we're busy and please call back later. So, I'm left with a bill and no way resolve a problem.
     
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Posted by ticia232 on 2012-02-23:
I say keep trying. It seems like their network went down. It happens to every company once in a while.
When the online network goes down people are calling constantly, some like you who want to cancel, others are trying to make flights. The amount of calls then overloads the phone lines, causing you to get the message that you got.
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Beware Of Travel On Direct Air!
Posted by Gcdomoracki51 on 01/05/2012
PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA -- We have used this airline because we have a large family and the prices are inexpensive. Every flight has been delayed an average of at least 6 hours. Almost every flight has been a mechanical problem and there are no back up planes when that happens. The staff at the airport are absolutely clueless and rude. They have only 2 or 3 checking people in for 2 flights leaving at the same time. Often times there is a 200 people backup in line. If you have plans on the day of travel do not expect to get there on time. Plan on spenfing $50 at the small pathetic snack bar. Expect there to be no communication from the airline staff. Expect Mayhem when the flight takes off and there are not enough seats. Handicapped people and children are not getting on first. It may be cheap but It is not worth the headache!
     
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Posted by Alain on 2012-01-06:
Sometimes the bargain rate isn't worth the lower quality service. You can make an official complaint at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/problems.htm However, it's probably easier to spend a little more for a slightly better quality airline.
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Direct Air Great Customer Service
Posted by Drlavigne55 on 12/10/2011
NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK -- My husband and I booked flights to Lakeland Florida in October 2011 and a Direct Air Customer Service Rep called to inform me the flight had been overbooked but had booked us thru an nearby airport (Buffalo, NY) for an alternative flight. The flight was the same day and still non stop. It was now with Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines then called to give me further confirmations. Then Direct Air called me again to tell me that my husband and I were being given two non-stop return flights for FREE to be used anytime in the next 12 months for all our inconvenience and gave me a conf# to use. So contrary to complaints against this airline, I say bravo to Direct Air!!
     
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Posted by Alain on 2011-12-12:
When a company does something right, I'm always happy to see it!
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Direct Air Friends And Family Ties
Posted by Matacale12 on 12/06/2011
Great price! great convenience.

The premise: Opportunity to purchase discounted air tickets on line for nonstop flights through Direct Air. Tickets are transferrable and usable for 1 year! Great!

The problem: You must book the actual reservation for the flight you want via phone. Online is only to purchase the open-ended ticket[s]. Once you have a confirmation#, you MUST book by telephone.

THE SCAM: No one ever answers the phone. I have many siblings and myself [10 of us with spouses and children too] who bought Friends and Family Ties tickets. To date, we have countless tickets that have either expired or our opportunity to travel when and where we wanted has passed because DIRECT AIR DID NOT EVER ANSWER THE PHONE!

An automated message says all reps are busy, try the call later.

I have made 203 calls and have never reached a human to book, plus 1 call, I did reach a human, and I was told that the flight I needed was sold out for F&F but that I could purchase the flight at regular price. Cancellations must also be done by phone. My sister had a heart attack and tried to cancel her flight... again, no one answered the phone and she could not cancel, so she lost her ticket. More MORE MORE horror stories like this. They have our money, but we have NO WAY to redeem what we paid for!

I still have a couple of months left on 7 tickets, and have no recourse except to try to be lucky enough to get a DIRECT AIR REPRESENTATIVE ON THE PHONE.

So FAT LOTTA LUCK actually getting what you paid for.

My family and I have been scammed more than once. We bought the tickets within a few days of each other, purchasing multiple tickets, but never again! We learned the hard way!

We can't go to the airport, as we live 120 miles from there. My sister has tried to go the airport in Mytrle Beach, but they are only there when a flight is arriving or departing. OTherwise, they are closed.

SCAM, SCAM SCAM, SCAM, SCAM, SCAM, SCAM SCAM, SCAM, SCASCAM, SCAM SCAM,

BUYER BEWARE!!!

If this has happened to you, please contact me. I am learning how to start a class action suit.
     
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Posted by Alain on 2011-12-07:
You may wish to file official complaints at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/index.shtml
and
http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/problems.htm
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