As major carriers cut back on service to match a drop in demand, small airlines are sometimes moving in to pick up the slack in second-tier markets. "Communities are begging us to come in," says Ed Warneck, president of Direct Air, which flies to such vacation spots as Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Sanford, Fla. Smaller cities benefit from improved air connections, but there are drawbacks, as well. Some flights operate only once a week, for instance, leaving little recourse if weather forces a cancellation.
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