FORT LAUDERDALE – Flight cancellations by Spirit Airlines led to chaos among irate passengers Monday night at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Video posted to social media showed upset passengers confronting airline employees as Broward Sheriff’s deputies were on hand attempting to keep order in the terminal after at least nine flights were canceled.
Miramar-based Spirit blamed the flight cancellations on labor negotiations with its pilots.
“We are shocked and saddened to see the videos of what took place at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport this evening,” Spirit said in a statement.
“This is a result of unlawful labor activity by some Spirit pilots designed to disrupt Spirit operations for our customers, by canceling multiple flights across our network,” the statement said.
According to the online travel site Skift, Spirit filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Miami on Monday accusing its pilots of taking “an unlawful job action.”
Lines at the Spirit Airlines counter were persisting Tuesday morning as passengers lined up to see if they could get booked.
Visiting from Chicago, Tamari Cameron, 23, and Latreece Smith, 26, spent the night at the airport after their flight was canceled.
“It started last night, flights were canceled,” Cameron said. “Fights broke out due to the frustration with Spirit and customers and then it turned into customers against police.”
With an 8:30 a.m. flight to Chicago showing as canceled, Cameron and her travel companion were eventually told they could fly out Wednesday morning.