You may have already heard that the discounted airline Direct Air has canceled all flights until May. What you don’t know is that this sent me into a frenzy.
The first time I heard of Direct Air was around last year. My roommate uses the airline to fly from Myrtle Beach to Buffalo, N.Y. It seemed like a pretty cheap and effective way to fly, so my boyfriend and I booked us a flight to Newark, N.J., in July. This was our first mistake.
Most decent U.S. airlines have air conditioning of some sort available on their planes, especially in hot areas like Myrtle Beach in July. Direct Air does not. It wasn’t even that the A/C on the plane was broken. It wasn’t there. There were no holes available to adjust the airflow. It was at least 95 degrees outside. When I asked for ice, the flight attendant opened the drawer to his cart and showed me that the ice was all melted.
“This is all they give us,” he said.
I had to change from jeans into a pair of pajama shorts just to avoid heat exhaustion or a stroke. The flight thankfully was direct to Newark, but it was nearly two hours long in uncomfortable heat. On the way back home, we waited in line at the front desk for Direct Air to check in for our flight. The attendants took the boarding passes and used a cell phone to call someone to supposedly check in the passengers. We figured the computers were broken. That was the last time I flew Direct Air.
My boyfriend, for whatever reason (financial), decided to use them again because they were cheap and he doesn’t expect anything grand or even polite from airlines. He purchased Direct Air’s “family certificate” because it was cheap and gave him two round-trip flights for nearly $350. That was our second mistake.
He doesn’t have the greatest luck with airports. As he was checking in, he saw that, again, they were using a cellphone to confirm passengers. When he asked them what was wrong with the computers, an attendant replied, “We don’t have computers.”
Trying to use the family certificates was another pain in the ass. They only flew on certain days, for certain seasons, for certain times. Out of all the conversations we had with their representatives, we’ve only spoken to two representatives who were polite and accommodating.
Now Direct Air has missed a fuel payment and has grounded their entire fleet starting Wednesday, March 14, 2012 until May. My boyfriend is supposed to arrive Thursday, March 15, 2012. I had to scramble to U.S. Airways and spend a stupid amount of money because it’s short notice and Spring Break week as well. Thankfully, U.S. Airways was polite, understanding, and he is currently on his way here.
I urge you to avoid using Direct Air if only to save yourself the hassle. They stranded passengers at airports, refuse to give refunds and instead redirect the customers to get a refund from their credit card company, and the only voice you’ll hear at all if you call their number is electronic.
The company’s president, Ed Warneck, and CEO Judy Tull have lost my business for the rest of their lives. If Direct Air does manage to fly again, I can only foresee their business crashing and burning after this fiasco.