Spirit Airlines passengers faced another day of cancellations on Wednesday, extending the airline’s travel chaos into its fourth day.
The Florida-based airline, famous for its yellow jets, cheap tickets and a pile of fees, canceled 419 flights on Wednesday, or 60% of its scheduled flights, according to flight tracker FlightAware. It accounted for the majority of flight cancellations in the United States, which totaled 636 as of 5 p.m. EDT.
Spirit has been cleaning up flights since Sunday, stranding passengers across the country due to summer storms, technology outages and staff shortages.
The airline canceled 61% of its Tuesday flights and 42% of its Monday flights, according to FlightAware.
Spirit apologized to passengers and employees in a statement released Wednesday morning and promised that the number of cancellations “will gradually decrease in the days to come.”
“The past three days have been extremely difficult for our guests and team members, and for that we sincerely apologize. We continue to work tirelessly to get our guests to where they need to be,” the statement said.
The airline continued to attribute the massive flight problems to “overlapping operational challenges” including weather conditions, technology system failures and staff shortages.
“After working on yesterday’s proactive cancellations, we implemented a more in-depth network restart, allowing us to reassign our teams more efficiently and restore the network more quickly. “
Passengers’ mind: check the status of your flight before going to the airport
The airline and the airports it serves have warned travelers to check their email for flight changes and to check flight status before heading to the airport.
Travelers whose flights are canceled must be reimbursed, according to the rules of the Department of Transport, but passengers on a budget may find their only option is to wait for another Spirit flight as last minute tickets are expensive and difficult to obtain. during the busy summer season. .
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Spirit said the best way to get a refund is through their new online chat.
A pandemic record of 2,238,462 people was examined by the Transportation Security Administration on Sunday as the last month of the summer vacation season began.
“We understand how frustrating it is for our customers when plans change unexpectedly,” said Spirit spokesperson Field Sutton.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the union representing Spirit’s 4,500 flight attendants, said union officials met with Spirit CEO Ted Christie and COO John Bendoraitis on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the steps to be taken to re-establish the operation. Ahead of the meeting, the union said Spirit’s strategy was akin to hurricane recovery.
In a statement on Wednesday, the union called the talks a success and said the airline continued to proactively cancel flights to rebound faster.
“In an operational outage like this, the airline must ‘reset’ in order to recover faster and avoid further disruption that could last for weeks,” AFA said. disruption over time. ”
The union said Spirit had agreed to offer flight attendants a “payment bonus” to make additional trips, an incentive Southwest used this summer when it encountered major flight issues.