Local School Impacted by Grounded Direct Air Flights

March 17, 2012 Updated Mar 17, 2012 at 11:32 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

March 17, 2012 Updated Mar 17, 2012 at 11:32 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW)- For the last several years, Mount Mercy Academy students have traveled across the nation to compete and perform in the Heritage Music Festival. This year, students and parents with the various choir groups were able to raise $18,000 for a trip to Orlando in April, where the festival is taking place. Faculty members booked about 70 plane tickets for the trip through Direct Air and were stunned when the carrier suddenly grounded its flights, leaving the group scrambling to find a way to get to Florida.

"Parents worked the Bills stadium, kids sold candy bars, and we worked basketball games after school. So we all put in a lot of time and money for this trip," said Mount Mercy Academy Student Mary Russo.

"The whole week I was loosing sleep, but you have to deal with the what-ifs," said Music Director Fred Kirisits. "I just hope the credit card company comes through now."

Thankfully, the group found flights on AirTran for an additional $78 per ticket and will still depart in time for the music festival. Kirisits says he's already received the $18,000 credit from Direct Air for the cancelled flight on his credit card, but at this point the credit card company says it is in a 'temporary status'. Customers seeking a refund for cancelled Direct Air flights can receive assistance by calling 1-855-888-8090.