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LETTER: Elected Officials Write Labor Chief Concerning Direct Air

Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Scott Brown and Rep. James McGovern asked Labor Secretary Ray LaHood to ensure reimbursement to customers affected by the recent Direct Air announcement.

Dear Secretary LaHood:

As you may know, Direct Air, a South Carolina ­based public charter airline, cancelled all flights between March 13 and May 15, 2012. We are writing to strongly urge your Department to take swift action using all available enforcement powers to ensure that Direct Air is in compliance with federal statutes and regulations requiring that consumers who purchased air travel on Direct Air are protected and funds escrowed to reimburse them.

Direct Air serves 17 cities along the East Coast, including Worcester Regional Airport in Worcester, Massachusetts. Direct Air provides services from Worcester to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and West Palm Beach, Orlando and Fort Myers in Florida. We understand Direct Air’s service cancellation is reportedly necessary in an attempt to resolve a non~payment of fuel issue.

Since Direct Air’s announcement yesterday, We have heard from many Massachusetts residents who are currently stranded in the middle of travel with flights booked on Direct Air, who purchased tickets scheduled during the cancellation period or who have tickets booked for after the cancellation period.

When travelers contacted Direct Air or their credit card companies to inquire about a refund, they were informed that credit card companies will not refund fares unless an airline is bankrupt, which Direct Air is not. 

We also understand that your Department requires airlines to comply with regulations to properly escrow money into escrow accounts or maintain a surety bond/letter of credit. 

We respectfully urge you to take quick and appropriate action to ensure that Direct Air consumers are protected and have the opportunity to be reimbursed for their cancelled air travel. 

Sincerely,

John F. Kerry, Scott P. Brown and James P. McGovern

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