Cancellations rippling through Spirit Airlines has resulted in a number of travelers stranded at BWI Airport in Baltimore.
“I bought the ticket because it was cheap, but no, its not worth it at this point,” said Shanika Edwards who has been stranded since Saturday in her attempt to get to Las Vegas.
The cancelation crisis boiled over Monday inside a packed Spirit check-in area of the Fort Lauderdale airport and punches started to fly. Videos posted online show deputies trying to break up fights and detaining some unruly passengers.
The three passengers are charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing. They were being held Tuesday at the Broward jail in lieu of $10,000 bond each.
The issue on Monday was not in the skies, but around the bargaining table. Spirit Airlines has filed a lawsuit against the Air Line Pilots Association claiming the pilots caused disruptions because of contract disputes.
Spirit says pilots aren’t showing up for work in order to influence the ongoing negotiations.
Spirit Airlines’ spokesman Paul Berry issued a statement saying they were “shocked and saddened” to see what took place at the Fort Lauderdale airport.
“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,” Berry said. “These pilots have put their quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations and the safety of their fellow Spirit Team Members. It is for this reason, Spirit has filed suit in Federal Court to protect our customers’ future travel.”
Spirit says the work disruption has cost them $8.5 million in lost revenue. But the union has denied the accusation, saying their pilots are not on strike but instead working to fix the ongoing issues while the lawsuit continues.
“The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l and the Spirit pilot group it represents are not engaged in a job action. Rather, ALPA and the Spirit pilots are continuing to do everything possible to help restore the company’s operations, which have experienced significant problems over the past several days,” ALPA said in a statement. “While we will continue these efforts, we will actively defend the association, its officers and its member pilots against the unwarranted and counterproductive legal action brought this evening by Spirit Airlines.”
But a federal judge sided with the carrier Tuesday and ordered its unionized pilots to stop boycotting flights.