Updated: Tuesday, 13 Mar 2012, 9:35 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 12 Mar 2012, 8:00 PM EDT
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - A lot of travel plans got grounded Monday night when Direct Air abruptly canceled all future flights to Florida and South Carolina at the Niagara Falls International Airport.
The cancelations left 200 to 300 passengers stranded. Some of them had already boarded their flight to Florida and then were told it had been canceled, officials telling them they didn't know when - or if - it would leave.
With their vacations ruined, many passengers were left shaking their heads, puzzling over Direct Airs cancelation of three scheduled flights to Myrtle Beach, West Palm Beach and Punta Gorda, Florida. One man was trying to reach his pregnant wife, who was experiencing contractions. And another family was trying to get to Myrtle Beach for a birthday celebration. Now, they're left looking for other options, unsure if they'll even get a refund.
NFTA Spokesman Doug Hartmayer says they received word from Direct Air, advising the flights were canceled, and said, "The NFTA feels extremely bad that our customers were inconvenienced and are reaching out Direct Air to find out what the problem is."
Angela Crichton said, "We were actually already on the plane and we were told there was going to be a delay because there was paperwork that needed to be looked over, a discrepancy. So we were waiting on the plane for 45 to an hour. And then we got the news [it was canceled]."
"And basically it came down to not having the availability of fuel, which more came down under the financial issues that the company was facing, whether or not they had those funds to get the fuel," added David Howell.
Vision Airlines, one of the company's Direct Air contracts with, took off a short while ago just to get the plane back to Florida, but there were no passengers on it. Vision Airlines sent a plane back to Myrtle Beach Monday, that had five passengers on it who lived in Myrtle Beach.
Direct Air didn't just cancel flights in Niagara Falls - they also canceled flights to/from at least one other airport in Springfield, Illinois. And the NFTA tells News 4 there understanding is Direct Air canceled most, if not all, of their flights Monday night around the country.
The NFTA hopes to know more about the sudden cancelations on Tuesday.