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Family Ties Program Is A Scam!
By -

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!

You really do get what you pay for
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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: 1) “There is a mechanical problem with the plane, but we'll have you in the air shortly.” 2) "The problem with the plane is more serious – it may take an hour or so." 2. "We can't get the part in time, so we'll arrange for another plane." 3. "You'll be on your way in a couple of hours." 4. "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??? 1) 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?

2) From the flight deck after landing at 1 a.m: “We're going to arrange some buses to take you to Niagara Falls. By the time you pick up your baggage – the buses 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 answer the phones at Direct Air and there was NOTHING on the website.

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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MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA -- SUMMARY: PURCHASED 6 FAMILY TIE VOUCHERS, SERVICE UNAVAILABLE 7 OF 10 MONTHS OF FAMILY TIES PROGRAM, RESULTS IN LOSS OF 4 VOUCHERS WITH NO REFUNDS OR OTHER CONSIDERATIONS. The following details our experience which we are certain is not unique to us, and suspect has been perpetuated on many travelers in the Toledo Market, flying out of Toledo Express on Direct Air.

In December 2009 Direct Air advertised “The Family Ties Voucher Plan” in the Toledo market. When we talked with their representative on December 23, 2009 we were told that the vouchers would be good for one year. On this basis we purchased six vouchers, planning our vacations throughout 2010.

We were able to use two vouchers in February 2010. However when we attempted to utilize Direct Air vouchers in April we found that there were no available “voucher seats”. When we attempted to utilize their vouchers once again on May 15, 2010 for flights from Toledo to Punta Gorda, we found that they were no longer offering those flights, “That service was not offered out of Toledo over the summer”.

Subsequently we attempted to book flights in October only to find once again, service was not available. When it was announced that service was resumed we, once again attempted to book flights between Toledo and Punta Gorda for November 29 and December 6th to find that… the vouchers expired October 31, 2010. Thus we were left with worthless vouchers for which we paid good money under good faith that Direct Air services would be available from Toledo throughout the stated period, when in fact, the vouchers were only valid in the Toledo area from January through April, expiring in advance of their restoration of service in the latter part of November.

In as much as Direct Air promotions and practices are at a significant variance, we have respectfully requested consideration in resolving this problem through their customer relations department via 3 e-mails and two phone calls, only to be initially ignored, and then, after 10 days, informed that there would be no extension of the “Family Ties” vouchers nor would there would be any refunds or other considerations. Subsequently we were provided with a reference to their “Family Ties” website via an e-mail. On this site the following references were made:

1) "Nonrefundable sales policy: Family Ties purchases are nonrefundable, and no refunds or credits will be issued for unused vouchers. Extensions for travel past October 31, 2010 using Family Ties Winter 2009 vouchers will not be granted (enumerated term #4)."

2) Disclaimer of availability, reading: "Travel using Family Ties Winter 2009 vouchers is valid between any Direct Air city pair in effect at the time of travel. Although Family Ties vouchers may be used for any round-trip on any route in the Direct Air system, they are not route-specific. Additionally, schedules for certain routes may be seasonal, and routes and schedules are subject to change. As such, Direct Air makes no guarantees of schedules or destinations until the time of booking (enumerated term # 6, emphasis original)."

Will never Book with them again! Very deceitful
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I had purchased a friends and family ticket. It was a pretty good deal. The airport was much closer on both ends. Booked a flight for 6/24/2011 from Lakeland, fl to Springfield, IL. It was supposed to leave at 2:15 pm... Then 4:15 pm... Then 8:15 pm... Then finally left sometime the next day (Two of the delays were due to mechanical failure). I had gotten my suitcase off the aircraft. When I called the next day to request a refund I was told I would have to drive back to the airport to unboard the flight!!!

After much discussion, she agreed that it was their error since I had taken my luggage with me! She told me my account would be refunded the full amount of the ticket and luggage charge plus gave me a voucher number for the amount that I had spent to be used within one year. I thought that was great. What wonderful customer service...

The next week I called to ask where my refund was. I was told it takes 10-14 days and it was being processed. No problem. Each time you call you have to give your confirmation number, so there is not any confusion... Well, by July 12 I still had not received the refund. When I called, the girl got very rude with me and told me it was one or the other and I had already been given voucher numbers. Why would I want to let them keep my money? Why would they not tell me that when I called the first 2 times?

After hanging up, I decided to call and ask for a supervisor... They will not let you do that. The gentleman I spoke with ended up telling me he would put me on hold, then hung up on me. Each time they would get upset with me that I should expect my refund before 10-14 days. I told they I had already waited beyond that time period. With my 3rd call today, they supposedly have completed the refund. We'll see. I know I will never deal with them again. Literally hours spent on the phone for them to play with my money for 3 weeks. Totally unacceptable.

Customer Service
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This airline is the worst airline I have EVER dealt with. When a LEGITIMATE company advertises a voucher program they know will involve higher than normal call volumes, that company would have more trained staff available during peak times. It is extremely frustrating dealing with this company because they have NO CUSTOMER SERVICE!

I purchased 4 vouchers through the family ties program last fall. It took me WEEKS of being on hold (not just HOURS) to get to talk to someone because when I reserved my flights online they had processed the request wrong. When I finally did get to talk to someone, she was very friendly and helpful. However, yesterday I received a message that the flights I had scheduled for May 6th - May 9th had been cancelled. I tried calling the number and was on hold again for over 20 minutes. Again... wouldn't you think a reputable company would have more agents on hand to help customers when things like this happen?

These vouchers were charged to my credit card in November. When asked when I could expect the credit to be issued I was told 14 business days. WHAT!!! They've had my money since November! And now I have to find other flights that are proving to be more expensive, or cancel the vacation along with hotel rooms and other activities my friends and I have been looking forward to since November!

The lady I talked to on the phone this time was not very helpful and was rude when I told her that I thought that having to wait for the refund was unacceptable and I expected the credit immediately so I could find other flights. She said that was just the way it is because I wasn't the only one having their flight cancelled. When I asked to talk to someone else she told me they didn't do that there. I lost my cool then and told her that I hoped my call was being recorded - she hung up on me. Way to go Direct Air - You won't be in business very long with customer service like this and I do hope I get my refund within 14 business days as promised!

Do Not Purchase From Direct Air
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FLORIDA -- I purchased Open-Ended Direct Air Friend and Family tickets. I have tried several times to turn in my voucher as the deadline is at the end of this month. I have called over 60 times in the last month to have the phone give me the same tone as a disconnected number and then say "all circuits are busy at this time." Then I finally got through yesterday (Sunday) morning at 7:10 A.M. and was told they are only making reservations for people who were affected by a storm last week.

I tried to explain my situation to the call representative "Becky" and she could have cared less. She was VERY unprofessional and sounded VERY white-trash. NOT a good representation for a customer service individual. I asked to speak to a supervisor. She told me there was nobody there and disconnected my call.

Today I called into the Direct Air counter in Kalamazoo, MI and was told to come in for a non-published number that she could not give to me over the phone. I told her I could be in at 2:30. She said OK. I got there at 2 and she had left for the day. The person working baggage for another airline called the representative on her cell and she told him that she was wrong. I could not have the number after all to reach them directly.

He called the number instead for me and was put on hold for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I had to get back to work so he let me leave much earlier but promised to give them my number so I could reserve the tickets I had ALREADY purchased and when they finally did pick up they told him they don't call customers. If I wanted to reach them it's my job to call them. He tried to reason with them and explain that I had been trying to do so but they didn't care.

I found out they have 30 lines working during the week and 7-11 people working the lines on the weekend. Very CONVENIENT for them if the goal is to get you to buy into their deal to then not provide a way for you to get the service you paid for. SCAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Family Ties Voucher FAIL
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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.

Direct Air Cancels All Flights From Kalamazoo To Myrtle Beach With No Warning
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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 voicemail (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 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.

Direct Air Friends And Family Ties
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Great price! Great convenience. The premise: Opportunity to purchase discounted air tickets online for nonstop flights through Direct Air. Tickets are transferable 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 Myrtle Beach, but they are only there when a flight is arriving or departing. Otherwise, they are closed. SCAM, SCAM SCAM. BUYER BEWARE!!! If this has happened to you, please contact me. I am learning how to start a class action suit.

Family ties
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I have purchased two Family Ties and I am trying to book a flight! Their ad says to call them to book. I have been trying to reach them by phone for two days now and only get a busy signal! I have tried to book online and am told that I have to wait for an e-mail from them to let me know if my flight is confirmed. I e-mailed them to find my confirmation and was told that they are busy and it will take three to five days to receive (or not receive a confirmation). I cannot plan my vacation and have asked twice now for my money back from this Family Ties offer so I can book a regular flight but they have not responded to that yet. Family Ties is a ripoff!

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Direct Air Rating:
Star Empty star Empty star Empty star Empty star
1.0 out of 5, based on 2 ratings and
35 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
Direct Air
1600 N Oak St Ste B
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577-3525
877-432-3473 (ph)
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