Via Air – The Worst Airline in America – Throws in The Towel, Except for One Route

Two weeks ago I wrote that Via Air hadn’t shown up at an airport they were supposed to fly to and no one knew why. The Downtown Mobile airport in Alabama couldn’t even get hold of them to find out why.

Last summer I discovered that Via Air was the worst airline in America with an F-rating from the Better Business Bureau and 71% of their TripAdvisor reviews poor or terrible, compared to 27% for Allegiant, 26% for United and 6% for Southwest.

Now it appears that airline has shut down its commercial service entirely, with the exception of a single route. The airline is blaming a lack of pilots. Two weeks ago they also blamed the FAA for “slower and more methodical” oversight following the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, an aircraft Via Air did not operate.

Lack of pilots might have been a credible explanation for not expanding, or scaling back on some flights. It hardly does the job explaining the elimination of service at 14 of 16 remaining airports, and offering only four scheduled flights a week.


Credit: Via Air

There’s no statement on the airline’s website about the shut down. Every flight I could think to check shows up as cancelled.

They pulled out of Baton Rouge and “discontinued..services across the U.S.” They’ve suspended service in Pittsburgh and they’re returning to operate charter flights.

The Austin airport’s website shows several Via Air flights still operating, but Via Air’s website shows each as cancelled.

Although there are no new press releases on the Via Air website, or notices of any kind, it doesn’t appear to be possible to book a flight online — except for the Jackson, Mississippi to Orlando Sanford route.

Via Air had moved from public charter operations to running commercial Essential Air Service subsidized flights out of Beckley and Parkersburg, West Virginia to Charlotte in 2014. They also ran unsubsidized flights from Beckley and Parkersburg to St. Augustine, Florida.

The Florida-based carrier then expanded operations and grew to a fleet of 6 fifty seat Embraer ERJ-145s and 4 thirty seat EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops.

I warned potential passengers in the past that I’d be skeptical buying tickets on Via Air. Some passengers appear to have been stranded reportedly without promised refunds. Then again they hadn’t been providing promised refunds or compensation even when they were still trying to operate a full schedule.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Comments

  1. We were 2 of the lucky people who were stranded in Austin on May 19th. No refund even though we booked through #Priceline We ended up getting seats on Southwest but had to spend an extra $1,000.

  2. I made the mistake of buying my parents a flight from Jackson, MS to Orlando in March, and they cancelled it less than 24 hours before. My mother had assured me she had a “friend” that had flown them several times on this route to see her daughter. Maybe it worked for her. It didn’t for us.
    I managed to reach an actual human being after to request a refund, which I was assured I would receive. Surprise: no refund has appeared. The worst part is, they still show flights between Jackson and Orland STARTING June 20, 2019. Trust me, my little happy face will be the first in line at the counter should they actually have this flight to do nothing except badger them for a refund.

  3. Via also has not paid its employees in a month and have no way of contacting them either. They left us “high and dry”with a promise they have not kept

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *