By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Beth Rogers was flying for the first time Monday, and it also happened to be the first flight for Silver Airways from Tupelo to Atlanta.
But weather played havoc with the schedule, and Rogers and Silver didn’t get to take off until more than 71⁄2 hours later than originally planned.
“We just had to wait a little longer,” Rogers said.
Monday’s flight was to originate in Greenville, but that flight was canceled Sunday night because of the weather. Silver’s plan was to send a plane Monday morning from Meridian, where it also provides service, but weather delayed that flight also. It didn’t arrive in Tupelo until about 1:15 p.m.
Because of severe weather around Atlanta – which had affected many flights earlier in the day – Silver’s first flight from Tupelo didn’t take off until 2:51 p.m.
It was an inauspicious start for Silver Airways, which had hoped for a big splash on its inaugural flight, having taken over service from Delta Air Lines. Still, a dozen people had booked flights to Atlanta on Monday morning and many were ready for the new service. None blamed Silver for the first-flight hiccup.
Ashley Burks, Ryan Seales and Chris Broome were flying to Houston for a week of training and were happy to be flying to Atlanta instead of Memphis. Had the flights not been weather-delayed, they would have saved eight hours going to Houston via Atlanta.
“It’s the weather – there’s really not a lot you can do about it,” Burks said.
Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr., Tupelo Regional Airport Executive Director Josh Abramson, airport board members Ty Robinson and Fred Cook and media representatives were among those originally scheduled to fly on the inaugural flight, with plans to meet with Silver executives in Atlanta. That was postponed until a later date. The airport and airline still plan a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.
Silver passengers interviewed by the Daily Journal said they booked flights through Delta weeks earlier, and said Delta had called and emailed all of them of the transition to Silver Airways service.