Canceled Spirit Airlines flights cause long lines, short tempers in Philadelphia

A Spirit Airlines spokesperson said they are "working around the clock to get back on track."

Katherine Scott Image
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Cancelled Spirit flights cause long lines, short tempers at PHL
Spirit cancellations in and out of Philadelphia climbed into the double digits on Monday.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Long lines and short tempers could be found Monday morning at the Spirit Airlines check-in desk at Philadelphia International Airport.

"Everything got canceled," said one customer waiting in a line that snaked across the floor.

"I will never ever book with this airline again, ever," another said.

Spirit cancellations in and out of Philadelphia climbed into the double digits on Monday, and passengers worried about the contagious delta variant while standing in a crowd.

They also worried about the fate of their vacations, with some having better luck rebooking than others.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia now seeing 'substantial' level of community COVID-19 transmission, CDC says

"My vacation is doomed," said Cynthia Armstead of Flourtown, who had surprised her daughter with a trip.

"I just got a rescheduled flight for Atlantic City for this evening, so I'm going to go to Atlantic City," stated a hopeful but exhausted passenger Robin Culmer.

A Spirit Airlines spokesperson said, in part, they are "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."

The spokesperson added that rumors of a strike are not true.

"I guess you have the people yesterday in this line and people today," said Glenn Anderson, as he awaited his turn.

Daniel Faulkner of Southwest Philadelphia was set to return home Monday afternoon after vacationing in Puerto Rico. With a canceled flight, he remains stranded in the island's airport.

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"Irritated and almost miserable," said Faulkner. "Like, we're just sitting here... there's nothing to take your mind off the fact that your flight got canceled. So we're just sitting here in front of an empty kiosk waiting for us to hear something."

Faulkner said he's anxious to get back to his job and is scrambling to book a hotel room until he can get on another flight.

"That's not looking too great because it's a hot time here in Puerto Rico, there's not a lot of bookings, there is not a lot of availability so I'm thinking I'm in the same boat as people here since yesterday," said Faulkner.

Faulkner said the soonest flight out of Puerto Rico is Tuesday but it costs $904. There's another flight the day after but that costs $500.

Some passengers at check-in had started this long journey in Fort Myers, Fla. on Sunday, originally scheduled for Atlantic City, where their cars are parked.

They said they instead took off in Fort Lauderdale and arrived in Philadelphia around 4:30 a.m. on Monday, and hours later were still waiting for a promised Uber.

"We were in Fort Myers to fly back to Atlantic City International. Something must have happened with Spirit, and all hell broke loose," explained Joe Goldberg of Brigantine.

Karen Robnett, who was trying to get back to her job in Egg Harbor Township, explained part of her long journey also started in Fort Myers.

"They sent me to Fort Lauderdale because they canceled my flight there, so that was a two-hour Uber ride that Spirit Airlines paid for. Then, they canceled the flight and decided they would hold us. They held us for six hours, and then they put us on a flight back to Philadelphia 2 a.m.," Robnett recounted.

An airport spokesperson is advising passengers or those picking up to check the status of flights with the airline.

Full Spirit Airlines statement:

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.

We understand how frustrating it is for our Guests when plans change unexpectedly, and we're working to find solutions. We ask Guests to actively monitor their emails and flight status before heading to the airport.

As a team, we strive every day to get our Guests where they need to go on time. We sincerely regret the inconvenience this has caused. The fastest way to receive assistance is to click here and select "Let's Chat."