Vision Airlines STRANDS passesengers – DOT Issues Fine

Vision Airlines - Big Jets, Big Secrets? Plus PFC debt? | Airline News

Vision Airlines Boeing 737

Vision Airlines Fined by DOT

Vision Airlines was one of several carriers operating flights to Myrtle Beach for Direct Air, a charter operator which is also known as Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours. However, Vision abruptly axed their flights without sufficient notice when Direct Air ceased operations in March. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) just fined Vision Airlines $50,000 for their actions earlier in the year.

The non-stop flights in question were well advertised, including on television, in markets where the service was operated. Sadly, the non-stop flights to Myrtle Beach didn’t last long.

Many passengers were left high and dry when Vision stopped flying the charters for Direct Air on March 13, 2012. While consumers looking to fly to Myrtle Beach were left hanging, passengers who already made the outbound trip were left stranded in Myrtle Beach (MYR) according to the DOT.

The $50,000 penalty was assessed against Vision Airlines for violating rules meant to protect passengers when their public charter flights were suddenly canceled. The US DOT also ordered Vision Airlines to cease and desist from further violations.

“Airline passengers should be able to book their trips without having to worry about a last-minute cancellation or being stranded away from home,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Secretary LaHood added, “DOT will continue to take enforcement action against airlines and charter operators when they violate our airline consumer protection rules.”

When assessing the fine, the DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office found Vision Airlines violated rules prohibiting the cancellation of public charter flights less than 10 days before their scheduled departure. In addition, Vision failed to ensure return flights for all round-trip passengers who used it for the outbound leg of their trips.

Passengers seeking information on refunds should visitwww.dot.gov/airconsumer/service-cessations-bankruptcy

Just Who is Vision Airlines?

An excellent question! Vision Airlines’ first planted their roots in Las Vegas as a Grand Canyon sightseeing tour operator. In recent years they’ve been operating public charter flights, as well as charter flights for the US Government and/or subcontractors. This past year Vision also conducted sports charters for fans to attend events such as the NCAA Final Four.

Their Boeing 737 aircraft are frequently seen at Louisville International Airport (SDF), but on December 6, 2012, two of their Boeing 767 aircraft were spotted at Louisville International with what appeared to be “white on white” registration numbers.

Airline registration numbers are supposed to be transparent, but this clearly was not the case with the two Boeing 767 aircraft pictured below.

Vision Airlines Boeing 767s with Hidden Registrations

Vision Airlines Boeing 767 – Hidden Registrations N769VA and N767VA

With a zoom lens it was possible to read the registration numbers on these two aircraft.  A quick Google indicates these aircraft were previously based in cities such as Bucharest, Romania, and were spotted in a variety of destinations in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Its even been rumored their aircraft were involved in renditions which the EU and some nations looked into, but we’ll leave it at that – unverified rumors.

This takes us back to an article we wrote last December about the carrier, Vision Airlines Goes Low Cost, Big Jet, But in Debt? – The article looks at a debt problem with a Florida airport plus a federal lawsuit where pilots alleged the carrier did not pay them “hazard pay” for operating lights-out flights into Baghdad and Kabul as a subcontractor to the US Government.

We’ll let US Federal Courts sort the litigation out, it’s our intent to inform the consumer with respect to passenger flights.

When we checked Vision Airlines status with the Better Business Bureau in February this year, the BBB was reporting an “F”. Today, we were surprised to find out the BBB is reporting an “A” for Vision Airlines. The BBB report indicates 54 complaints filed, 40 are considered resolved while 14 indicate resolved but customer not satisfied with business response.

As such, it’s fitting we close by suggesting the buyer beware – look into who you’re doing business with, obtain travel insurance if you need extra protection, and pay with a credit card which provides protection. Conduct a Google or a Yahoo search as it’s likely someone, somewhere, posted a review.

To conclude, any time you have a complaint against an airline, write to both the airline and the US DOT at theDOT Consumer Protection Website.

The DOT may not take action on your specific complaint, but they do watch for trends and all complaints are calculated into a monthly report which is made public.

Your vacation can take a year to save for, only a second to ruin. Purchase travel insurance through Travel Guard. Starting at $30. Purchase travel insurance through Travel Guard.

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