Eastern Airlines doesn't know how long it will take for passengers to get refunds after it abruptly suspended all service.
Officials in Florida and Georgia, meanwhile, prepared to handle thousands of unemployment claims from former Eastern workers.At midnight Friday, the airline halted service after 62 years, and Eastern officials said there was little hope it would resume. Eastern has been in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for two years and was $3 billion in debt; it remains under Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
The airline is telling ticketholders they will get money back out of a special $50 million account set aside specifically for such refunds, but couldn't say how long that would take.
Sunday's Miami Herald, citing Eastern as its source, reported there were $80 million in outstanding tickets.
Thousands of former Eastern workers in Georgia, meanwhile, couldn't cash their final checks.
"I have a wife, two kids, a baby on the way and no money," said Bill Snider, an Eastern mechanic who found that a check-cashing store would not pay his $491.14 payroll check. "This is just ridiculous."
Bank South Corp. and First Union National Bank said they would accept payroll checks only from Miami-based Eastern for deposit, placing them on hold to see whether they will clear. Trust Company and Citizens and Southern banks said they are trying to find out whether the checks are covered under Eastern's Chapter 11 protection.
Federal banking regulations let banks hold checks for as long as 10 days if there is reason to believe the checks will bounce.
Eastern spokeswoman Karen Ceremsak said: "There is absolutely no reason why banks should not be cashing checks other than just plain ignorance."