By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
Earlier this week, Susan Harper was looking forward to flying from Tupelo to Atlanta in a couple of months.
Now she might drive to Atlanta instead.
With Silver Airways starting the route Oct. 1, Harper went online last week to make reservations.
Then the problems began.
Harper visited several online travel sites, including travelocity.com and expedia.com, to book her November flight.
“The only flight they have listed leaving Tupelo on Saturday, Nov. 10, is at 7:10 a.m.,” she said. “I wanted to find out if this will be the only Saturday flight from Tupelo to Atlanta since we do not want to leave that early.”
But the automated system on Silver’s toll-free number at (800) 499-7450 said information was for Montana flights only.
Harper then found another number on Silver’s website for domestic flights other than Montana, but the number is for United Airlines, a code-sharing partner with Silver.
“This is so frustrating,” she said. “Even though they have tickets available for purchase, there is no way to talk to anyone about any questions I might have. I just wonder why they didn’t work through all of this during their month-long delay.”
Indeed, Silver was to have started online reservations on Aug. 1, but pushed the launch date to mid-August. It wasn’t until Wednesday that the company said tickets were available.
And based on Harper’s experience – and others who contacted the Daily Journal – Silver’s initial launch leaves a little to be desired.
A spokesman for Silver on Thursday said the Montana flight recording should have been changed and would be taken care of.
The message was changed. But as of Friday afternoon, the automated system welcomed callers to Gulfstream International Airlines. That was the company that went bankrupt and from whom Silver bought its assets.
Buying tickets from Tupelo to Atlanta on Silver’s website will be available soon, the spokesman said.
The spokesman also said Silver’s ticket counter at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will be in the Domestic Terminal North next to Frontier Airways.
Also, all flights from Tupelo will go through gate E37.
As for Harper, she still hopes to fly from Tupelo.
“But if time passes and they only have one Saturday flight that’s at 7:10 a.m., we will be driving,” she said.
Silver doesn’t have a schedule posted anywhere, and the spokesman said all flight information was available via online travel sites.
Still, that’s not convenient for potential passengers who’d like to see a schedule.
“I’d like one place where I can glance to see when the arrivals and departures are,” said one person who didn’t want to be identified. “I don’t want to have to guess.”
Silver will have three round-trips between Tupelo and Atlanta during the weekdays, but only one on Saturdays and two on Sundays.
That schedule was agreed upon by the Federal Aviation Administration, which is paying Silver a subsidy to provide air service.