Now how am I supposed to get back home?

airport, terminal, gate, flight, airline, interior
By | January 31st, 2017

When Dynamic Airways suddenly stopped flying from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Caracas, Andres Montagnani was left wondering how to get home — and how to get his money back.

Dynamic is an excellent modifier for a company name — like Acme Rocket. But add it to “Airways” and it perfectly captures the company’s record of scheduling flights and then canceling them.

And what about a refund?

Yes, what about it? Mortagnani had not received much more than an ungrammatical email promising to escalate his request to “head quarters. [sic]” And unfortunately our advocate could not get any response.

Montagnani booked a round-trip flight to Caracas, Venezuela, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in June, this was an accomplishment. During 2016, many well-regarded airlines suspended Venezuelan service, including Latin America’s largest, LATAM Group; Lufthansa; American Airways; Aeroméxico; and Avianca. Blame the national economy, which is circling the drain.

Dynamic’s founder, Kenneth M. Woolley, has experimented with a questionable business model at this six-aircraft charter operation in Greensboro, N.C.: Schedule flights to underserved destinations, collect round-trip fares, and then cancel service without rebooking on other airlines. According to frustrated fliers, Dynamic Airways promised refunds, but months later only sent an email with more promises.

Some 120 Yelpers awarded Dynamic Airways an aggregate one star. (There is no provision for zero stars, though many wished there were.) Even the Better Business Bureau ranks it similarly at one star.

Dynamic utilized its new business model for several months. Perhaps this proved profitable, though its withdrawal in August suggests otherwise. Its failure to refund customers only reinforces that theory.

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Montagnani might not have had many options for air travel, but this overwhelming rating of Dynamic Airways’ service as abysmal might have prepared him for trouble. Dynamic’s withdrawal from Venezuela happened six weeks prior to his ticketed return flight.

Dynamic knows its customer is waiting. After multiple emails, a “team member” wrote:

Your the[sic] request for a refund was made on August 03rd, we reviewed your ticket information and we am [sic] aware that your refund is taking more than [sic] expected, for that reason, I’m going to remit your case to our head quarters [sic] in order to speed up the process. Thank you for your patience and continuous support.

Montagnani’s options, as outlined by that advocate, are several — none of them great.

  • File a service complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration, which he has done with no response so far;
  • Check with his credit card issuer to determine if a dispute is still possible, assuming that he paid with Visa, MasterCard or American Express;
  • Take the matter to small claims court. Procedures likely are listed on his Florida county’s website under courts. Here is some general information.

Given the financial and social chaos in Venezuela, and the shrinking number of flights, Montagnani likely knew that he was running a risk. It’s curious that his lingering issue traces not to Venezuela but to a six-airplane charter operator in North Carolina. We regret that this is a Case Dismissed.

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  • KennyG

    Obviously what happened here is a disgrace and a sad reflection of the airline and its owner. But booking a flight on “Dynamic Airlines”? Really? There is a reason so many airlines cancelled service to his destination, and more than enough online evidence that “Dynamic” wasn’t all that “Trustworthy”. Still no excuse for what happened to him, but as always Caveat Emptor.

  • Jeff W.

    I think his only option is a credit card dispute. This company is probably moments away from bankruptcy, which even diminishes getting any money back even further.

    The problems with Venezuela should not have been a surprise. Their currency has been in free fall for quite some time. The major airlines pulled out of Venezuela because of the currency controls put in place by the government there. With such chaos, any real company would want to receive and pay in a currency that has some stability. Be it dollars, euros, or yen. Not be stuck with bolivars that seem to lose half their value every day.

    Dynamic’s money, if it has any, is in worthless bolivars. No one will be made whole with this debacle.

  • MF

    Why limit yourself to just one? Pursue all three options at once, and see if any of them produces a positive result.

  • AAGK

    This should take @ 5 min to resolve with his credit card issuer. Otherwise, he’s doing it wrong.

  • Rebecca

    I can only imagine what brings the OP to Venezuela. Hopefully he is safe. Frankly, I’m surprised they’d let an American airplane land there, from either side. I read recently about boats bringing food that literally sits and spoils because the operators have to wait their turn in the bribe line. While people are starving, quite literally. With so much going on politically, much of the free fall going on under Maduro has gone under the radar in the media.

  • Rebecca

    Venezuela is an OFAC country. It isn’t likely they are chartering planes out of the US through holdings in Venezuela. Not to say they’re not ripping people off. Just that the US government wouldn’t allow that – there are sanctions against Venezuela.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    You don’t even need actual planes for this business model, only a website. Dynamic is like the evil opposite of this website, where they take your money with no chance of ever getting it back or getting service.

    If you had to travel to Venezuela, I guess you could travel to a neighboring country and then try to go through the border that way, rather than fly directly in. I don’t know if it is safe, but it might be possible.

  • BubbaJoe123

    “Rely on the Federal Administration Agency”

    Given that this doesn’t exist, I don’t think this is a good choice.

  • BubbaJoe123

    You can readily fly to Venezuela on American or United if you want.

  • Rebecca

    But would you? I know you CAN go there. I just don’t think it’s safe there. And the people there are really suffering. Maduro won’t allow aid and the people are starving.

    The State Department warning says the Embassy can’t help you, depending on where you are and what happens. It isn’t a run of the mill travel warning:

  • michael anthony

    What about contacting the North Carolina Attorney General. Thus sounds like fraud.

  • PsyGuy

    The bank card is the best option, fast and efficient. Small claims court is a non-starter, if he wins he’s got to collect and it sounds like this airline (in the loosest sense of the term) has no money.

    I know why PAX book these tickets, they think they are saving a couple dollars, but when will people learn that this type of transaction comes with elevated risk. This is essentially gambling.

  • PsyGuy

    What are they going to do, as soon as someone with a badge comes knocking they will declare bankruptcy.

  • PsyGuy

    LOL, good one

  • PsyGuy

    There are a number of carriers that fly into Caracas.

  • PsyGuy

    Well it’s a backpackers paradise, a few hundred dollars can set you up with a nice bungalow on the beach and all the rum you can drink for the summer.

  • PsyGuy

    That or his bank card issuer hates him, or he ends up with Rachel from card services.

  • PsyGuy

    Small claims court will cost about a hundred and the bank card dispute costs nothing.

  • PsyGuy

    It’s getting to the point that Bolivers literally aren’t worth the value of the paper they are printed on. You go there with $100 and you get stacks of Bolivers you need a bag for. Reminds me of the day back when Italian Lira were basically worthless, and you needed bags of currency to pay simple bills.

  • AAGK

    What’s wrong with Rachel from card services?

  • PsyGuy

    What isn’t wrong with Rachel from card services.

  • AAGK

    Who is she?

  • PsyGuy

    She’s that cute blonde/redhead/brunette that does the 1.5% cash back on all purchases for Capital One. She’s also the one who can’t solve your problem when you call, but calls about fraud on your CC and only needs your SS# to confirm your identity.

  • AAGK

    I thought Jennifer garner did the cap 1 ad.

  • PsyGuy

    So does Samuel L Jackson, and there’s another one that’s Rachel from Card Services.

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