Spirit Airlines passengers irate after flight delays
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Tempers are flaring after hundreds of Spirit Airlines passengers were left stranded for hours at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
"I was supposed to board at 9:15 p.m., and I'll get to Tampa at 10:35 p.m.," said Deanta Davis. "It's been delayed twice already."
A total of 10 flights were grounded Wednesday night. The only reason given to passengers was that mechanical issues were preventing all their flights from taking off. "Supposedly, Spirit Airlines did not get through their maintenance checks for their planes, so they grounded every single flight for Spirit until that was clear," said Lauren Digangi.
"It's going to be delayed an hour, it's going to be delayed two hours, it's being delayed three hours," Stranded passenger Rafael Hernandez said.
Spirit Airlines later issued this statement in part: "Following the engine failure on one of our aircraft last week, and after reviewing routine maintenance procedures, we are completing a proactive and voluntary check on our aircraft engines overnight as a precautionary measure ... We apologize for these delays. We are working diligently to get our customers where they need to go as quickly as possible. As always, the safety of our customers is our number one priority."
These checks take approximately 45 minutes per aircraft. However, some flights experienced significant delays. "There was a three-hour delay. We hopped on the plane, then they made us get off the plane," Teresita Lee said. "They said it was a hydraulic leak on the plane."
Nearly 600 people were left waiting. Just on the other side of the TSA checkpoint, passengers described the miserable scene. "It's like a homeless shelter. There's people laying on the floor. I mean, it's just insane," said Heather Hart. "I can't stay over there. It's hot, there's screaming. Children are crying. It's just a mess."
People flying to New York's La Guardia Airport faced the worst of it when their 8 p.m. flights were delayed into the early morning hours on Thursday. "My flight was supposed to depart at 8:12 p.m. They put us on the plane. We sat there for an hour and a half. It's delayed until 3:40 a.m. now," said Digangi. "They've changed the delay time three times from 3 a.m. to 3:20 a.m. to 3:40 a.m."
Digangi also said she was prohibited from from switching her flight to another airline. "They will not give me my baggage off my plane to go to a different airline. They won't fly my baggage to Newark or anything like that," she said. "They will not refund my money. All they did was give me a $7 voucher and told me to wait until then and that time is tentative and scheduled to change."
"It seems like it boils down to the fact that they dropped the ball and didn't get their inspection done in time, and now we're all paying the price," Jim McKinney said.
Passengers who went as far as contacting Spirit Airlines' customer service to complain, were told they would be charged for the phone call. "You know you call and follow the prompts and it says, 'To speak to a customer service representative, just know that Spirit will charge you for this phone call,'" said Hart.
When given the option to board a Spirit Airlines flight again, many of these fed up individuals are agreeing with Hart's sentiments: "This is my first time and this is the last," she said.
"It has been a disaster, to be honest," Hernandez said. "I'm never, ever going to fly with Spirit anymore."
Digangi said, "I will never fly Spirit Airlines again."
Passengers who are flying Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport should check their flights.
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