NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Dream vacations have become nightmares to families just waiting to get home. A soaring list of travelers have been left stranded at the Niagara Falls Airport.
Passengers who had boarded their planes Monday night were suddenly told they wouldn't be taking off. Direct Air has a turbulent history with customers and now many are looking for answers after the announcement came the company was suspending all flights until May 15th.
The NFTA's Doug Hartmayer got the official news Tuesday afternoon when Direct Air put out a statement, saying, in part, "Direct Air finds it necessary to suspend flight operation until May 15th. This decision was made to address operational matters. We are currently evaluating strategic alternatives for Direct Air."
Niagara Falls International Airport was empty Tuesday afternoon. Two Direct Air flights for Thursday are still listed as "On Time." In reality, the flights stopped Monday night.
Jackie Clifford said, "Flight's canceled. No reason given, no representative from Direct Air to talk to us."
Three flights out of Niagara Falls and many more Direct Air flights across the country were grounded over an apparent discrepancy in paying for fuel. Vision Airlines, which contracts with Direct Air, paid for the fuel itself just to get its plane back to South Carolina. As a goodwill gesture, they took back with them six passengers.
Vision Airlines marketing manager Gini Strobel said, "[Six passengers] who were originally from Myrtle Beach back to their homes so they were not stranded in Niagara."
Direct Air is one of only three commercial airlines to fly out of Niagara Falls.
Hartmayer said, "It's not something that you ever want to have happen, have an airline go out of business while you're servicing customers. That's probably the worst scenario that you could have and we feel very badly about the customers who are going to be inconvenienced. We feel very badly about that. From an economic standpoint obviously it'll mean less parking and some less landing fees for the airport as well going forward."
Direct Air says customers seeking a refund should contact their credit card company.
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