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Direct Air is a Nightmare for Travelers

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

 

In the last year Direct Air has seen a 51% increase in air traffic at Worcester Regional Airport, which means there’s plenty of passengers grounded by the airline’s decision to stop operations for two months.

Massport reacts

Massport Spokesman, Richard Walsh said, in 2010 there were 71,014 passengers that flew Direct Air out of Worcester Regional Airport. Last year, 107,434 passengers used the airline, which is a 51% increase. Massport is the state agency that runs Worcester Regional Airport.

Walsh said, “Massport is very disappointed with Direct Air ‘s announcement on their website. In the three plus years they operated at Worcester Regional Airport, the carrier saw consistent growth and the highest load factors in its system which are clear indicators that Worcester is a viable market.”

Direct Air issued the following statement on it's website:

Direct Air finds it necessary to suspend flight operation from Tuesday, March 13, 2012 until May 15, 2012. This decision was made to address operational matters. We are currently evaluating strategic alternatives for Direct Air. Direct Air is committed to our passengers, employees, and the communities we serve. Please check back here for more details.

Very Truly Yours,
Direct Air

Area travel agents are scrambling

Yolanda Villamil of Alpha Travel in Worcester said, “Everytime we have to deal with situations like this it is a nightmare. I have clients booked on Direct Air Flights for April school vacation and summer vacations. In my 19 years of business, normally airlines give the money back to passengers, but the problem is these passengers bought tickets months in advance and trying to rebook them on another airline so close to the travel date, it ends up costing the customer a lot more money.”

Zuly Echandia of Caribbean Travel in Worcester said she hasn’t booked her customers on Direct Air because, “I was afraid they would go out of business and would have only recommended clients to buy tickets if they were using them in the near future. I have my clients fly out of Logan.”

Walsh said, “Central Massachusetts supported the airline, and Massport provided extensive assistance with marketing the airport and the nonstop service provided by Direct Air. Massport has been and will remain in active conversations with other carriers about service to and from Worcester.”

In the meantime, Massport will work with Direct Air to make sure impacted customers receive refunds. Passengers holding reservations on Direct Air are encouraged to contact the airline at 1-877-432-3473 for refunds. Massport has also established a customer service telephone number 508-799-1741 and opened a dedicated email account [email protected] to assist Worcester-area passengers impacted by the suspension of Direct Air service.

Mayor Petty's response

Worcester's Mayor Joseph Petty said, "I am disappointed that DirectAir is not able to fulfill their obligations to their customers. I am hopeful that DirectAir will quickly process refunds and coordinate with the passengers to assist them in getting transportation to and from their destinations, particularly passengers immediately impacted as a result of their sudden and unexpected cancelations of flights."

Why Worcester needs a regular scheduled carrier

State Representative John Mahoney said, "We need a regular scheduled carrier that flies to a hub. Direct Air is a destination carrier mostly used for vacation travelers and not business travelers. I have been working with Massport to get a carrier like Jet Blue or SouthWest to fly out of Worcester Regional. That is my goal. That would be a gigantic win for the city. We need an airline that will take passengers to a hub airport. Direct Air doesn't bring travelers to a hub."

Congressman McGovern expresses his concern

Congressman Jim McGovern told GoLocalWorcester, “I’m very concerned about those Massachusetts consumers negatively impacted by the sudden loss of service by DirectAir. My office has been in communication with MassPort and the City of Worcester, and I will continue to monitor the situation closely over the coming days and weeks.”

 

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