Direct Airlines Complaint - You really do get what you pay for
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.