ASHWAUBENON - Dozens of people, considered to have been stranded in Florida by MetJet, returned to Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon. With barely a week's notice, the De Pere-based charter flight company shut down its operations earlier this month.
MetJet ceased flight operations after Wednesday, and there was some confusion with customers as to the company's responsibilities. Many people had planned to return from Orlando at a later date, so they flew south on MetJet and bought tickets home on other airlines.
However, the federal government told MetJet officials the company had to fly its customers back to the Green Bay area. The final flight, a return trip from Orlando to Ashwaubenon, arrived Saturday afternoon.
Craig Nortch said his family's Disney vacation wasn't entirely enjoyable. They took a MetJet flight to Orlando last Saturday and ended up booking a return flight on another airline.
"We spent way too much time while we were supposed to be on vacation messing around with that stuff," said Nortch. "That's not what I want to be doing when I planned this vacation for a year."
On Friday evening, Nortch found out that MetJet was working with its contracted airline, Sun Country, to fly passengers home Saturday. His family took the flight offered. Nortch estimated about 70 people were on board the plane.
Many of them told FOX 11 that they were unaware of the arrangements before they had also booked different return flights. Brad Augustian said he too found out about the Sun Country flight on Friday evening.
"We had other arrangements, but it was a nice gesture that they did to get us back into Green Bay instead of Milwaukee," said Augustian.
"There was no reason for us to believe that there was going to be any kind of return flight for us that MetJet and Sun Country would put on," said Nortch. "We did what any normal person what do."
Nortch said the last-minute alternative plans to get home cost him about $2,000, only to find out later those arrangements weren't necessary after the federal government stepped in.
Government officials told MetJet CEO Mike Heisman that he had to provide a return flight for passengers considered to be stranded. Last week, Heisman said that bad finances forced him to shut his company down.
Heisman declined an on-camera interview for this story, but told FOX 11 on the phone his company reached out to all of its customers who were still stranded in Florida to notify them about Saturday's flight. He called the flight "a last effort" and added, "We are taking care of people."
Tom Matuszak also booked separate return tickets for his family.
"We had to eat $200 per ticket, so we're out $800 still for that," he said.
Matuszak said that he has already filed a consumer complaint.
Customers who paid for future trips were told to file refund requests. Heisman told FOX 11 that those requests have been processed.
MetJet was in operation for about a year.
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