Spirit Airlines cancelled over a third of its flights on Monday, after having cancelled a similar (though slightly larger) number on Sunday. All day I’ve been hearing about passenger revolts, especially in San Juan, Puerto Rico but also in places like Philadelphia. Naturally language in some of the videos has not been appropriate for blogging.
In some cases employees… just left. What we’re finding out now is that they may have done this for their safety, to protect them from rioting passengers. And it even appears the airline may have advised them to get out of uniform so they couldn’t be attacked by stranded customers.
Meanwhile in SJU San Juan airport waiting for Spirit flight with no updates since 11am now cancelled 12 hours later 😳 pic.twitter.com/fB1jZAkGFM
— Christopher Slocum (@ChrisSlocum_RN) August 2, 2021
And in their wake passengers were left to fend for themselves.
When #spiritairlines leaves you stranded in Puerto Rico with no employees in sight and holds your luggage and money hostage.
— Tito Arias (@2touchTito) August 2, 2021
There have been rumors of a job action, but no reported strikes or communications put out by unions. Aviation watchdog JonNYC suggests a lack of schedulers at the airline may be driving some of the problems though others have implied the job action comes from elsewhere in the company.
This is looking more likely to be (one of the major) contributors to this meltdown.
— ˜”*° JonNYC °*”˜ (@xJonNYC) August 2, 2021
Regardless of the cause passengers were left with little help. Spirit Airlines, of course, doesn’t have agreements with other carriers to put passengers on those other airline flights. It can be difficult to get major airlines to do this at times, but Spirit can’t (other than simplying buying a passenger a new ticket, which they aren’t going to do).
This is at MCO. Flights cancelled and people suffering in hot airports during a PANDEMIC. Phone line is not answered and only one agent assisting with CANCELLED FLIGHTS!! @SpiritAirlines DO YOUR JOB!😡 pic.twitter.com/kwMwk4eun2
— Aysha Becerra (@love_ur_self130) August 2, 2021
Given how heated things became, Spirit Airlines reportedly told employees to leave – and change out of uniform – for their own safety.
Every Airline has been dealing with severe IROPs. This is not OK. Its more than stress level 10. I never thought I would see "urged to change out of uniform" I understand travelling is stressful but this is not okay. #Bekind
Stay safe Flight FAM. pic.twitter.com/Cp8IV8VzQq
— Matt (@Mattrix8733) August 2, 2021
According to Spirit Airlines,
We’re working around the clock to get back on track in the wake of some travel disruptions over the weekend due to a series of weather and operational challenges.
We needed to make proactive cancellations to some flights across the network, but the majority of flights are still scheduled as planned.
In recent years Spirit has done a lot to improve the reliability of its operation. And other airlines, notably Delta, Southwest, and American have all experienced meltdowns of their own in recent months. American’s reliability has been poor, as bad weather was compounded with lack of available employees over the last several days. But right now it seems being a Spirit passenger is worse than traveling on other airlines.
(HT: Live and Let’s Fly)