Today I was looking through some of my old blogs on Direct Air; here is one from October 24, 2011:
Getting more and more concerned about this airline every day. Since Direct Air is a public charter, they need to deposit revenues from ticket sales into an escrow account and the monies are bonded. If you buy a ticket, your monies are safe.
On the other hand, if you buy a ticket, actually a voucher, through Family Ties, since it is not a ticket the monies are not put into escrow and can be spent on daily operations. Bottom line: these monies are not secure. Top that off with all the bad experiences I have heard about Family Ties, and I strongly urge you to buy actual tickets from Direct Air to support ORH, but not to buy tickets through Family Ties.
Here’s another from November 10, 2011:
Direct Air’s days are numbered. The over under right now is Ground Hog’s Day, February 2, 2012. I say they will be done by then.
Direct Air’s last flight was March 12, 2012. I was off by just one month. I bring this up to show that I think that I am pretty unbiased about the Worcester Regional Airport and will call it as I see it. If you are wondering what happened to Direct Air, here is a great story from Myrtle Beach Online written David Wren.
Bump in the road
As I write this column, the 50th flight to date just left Fort Lauderdale for Worcester on time. To date, we had one cancellation last Sunday night inbound from Fort Lauderdale. I am well aware of this since my brother-in-law was flying in. The flight was diverted to Boston and ground transportation was provided back to Worcester. Instead of getting in at 10:30pm, he got in closer to 1am, but I was happy that I did not have to drive to Boston to get him. He flies a lot and says the communication was excellent and was overall happy with the experience knowing these things happen.
The flight the next morning was cancelled out of Worcester, since the plane (the inbound flight the night before) was in Boston and passengers had to get to Boston without ground transportation. This needs to change! We should utilize the proceeds from the FAA grant to provide this ground service to help build loyalty to Worcester Regional Airport.
After 50 flights, we have had one cancellation due to fog! One flight!
The second cancellation was really a direct result of the first cancellation the night before, but it has to go down as a cancellation. Two flights cancelled out of 50! This will only get better as Massport invest $25-30 million in Cat III landing equipment.
The next steps
Best I can tell is that our loads have been anywhere between 80-85 percent on the 100 seat Embraer, and Fort Lauderdale is doing better then Orlando. This will not get JetBlue to bring in the Airbus with 150 seats and lower pricing, but it is still a great start.
The one time we have flown to Fort Laurderdale and back was an incredible experience and I have only heard similar rave reviews from anyone else who has flown out of Worcester on JetBlue. Word of mouth may end up being the best advertising for us, but here is what concerns me.
Worcester needs to market itself as the leisure airport where families can travel easily to Florida. While it’s very difficult to take a family with small children to a large airport, Worcester is incredibly easy. I would like to see Massport work with JetBlue to come up with a discount for parties of 5 or more to encourage families to utilize Worcester Airport.
Other things on my wish list include getting the Goddard Memorial on Goddard Drive inside the airport, and starting a share a book program at Worcester Regional Airport
Overall, I’m very happy with our start and I think the loads will only go up