A combination of bad weather, IT problems, and staff shortages appear to be behind a horror three days at Spirit Airlines. Cancelations and delays have crippled the Florida-based ultra-low-cost since Sunday and unleashed a wave of bad publicity.
With hundreds of flights canceled, social media is full of irate passengers stranded at airports overnight. According to FlightAware , Spirit Airlines canceled 60% of its schedule on Sunday, 71% on Monday, and 54% on Tuesday.
“Line for @SpiritAirlines at LAX now out the door after the airline cancels 400+ flights; blaming poor weather + staff shortages, ” said one person on Twitter. “Domino effect of delays and cancellations could take days to resolve. ”
A trifecta of negative weather, IT outages, & staff shortages impacts Spirit Airlines
According to CNN , Spirit’s horror show was a slow build. Over the previous week, a series of bad weather events had seen flight crews max out their allowable working hours.
Spirit Airlines called in replacement crews but soon exhausted their allowable hours as well. Federal law sets limits on how many hours flight crew can work. An IT outage affecting crew scheduling exacerbated existing challenges.
The outage, which occurred on Tuesday morning, meant crews could not be rescheduled as needed. As well as leaving passengers stranded, Spirit’s IT problems saw some flight crews stranded away from their own base and unable to get to their assigned flights.
“We’re working around the clock to mitigate the travel disruptions caused by overlapping operational challenges including climate, system outages, and staffing shortages in some areas of the operation, ” Spirit Airlines said in a statement.
Spirit Air carriers was looking to reset their systems on Mon rather than manage their way through the cascading delays plus cancelations.
I like many others got STRANDED for two days straight of cancellations in Louisiana with the first day being delayed 4 times before getting canceled in addition to the second day being delayed 2 times before becoming canceled, WILL NEVER FLY SPIRIT AGAIN!!!!!!
— tiana🔅 (@_IggyMarie) August 3, 2021
Soul is not the only airline having a rough few days
Unpredictable weather conditions events like thunderstorms can cause chaos for an flight. Spirit is not the only airline adversely impacted lately. On Tuesday, American Airlines canceled 309 flights and delayed a further 583 flights. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines canceled 103 plane tickets and delayed 689 routes. Unpredictable problems like awful weather and more predictable issues like staffing disadvantages have severely impacted several United States-based airlines this year.
Much of the social media ire directed at Nature Airlines since the weekend seems to stem from poor communication and stranded travellers. Many passengers also appear confused about their rights and an airline’s obligations in the event associated with delays or cancelations.
“I’m going on 48 hours with no idea where my bag is. No one was at the check-in counter after multiple cancelations, ” one Washington DC-based stranded passenger said upon Twitter. “No one to offer different flights, hotel, nothing. Children and elderly sleeping on the particular floor – pregnant women – including myself. But nothing from you- not a word. ”
“I’ve been stuck in Houston 1500 miles away from home for two days. You guys canceled my flight home, rescheduled us, and terminated that flight too, without additional help or rescheduling. I had to pay nearly $800 out regarding pocket to book with Delta in order in order to get home, ” posted another.
Bad weather lets Spirit off the hook
An airline’s obligation to people in the United States frequently depends on what causes the delay or cancelation. Acts of God, like thunderstorms, can let airlines from the compensation hook. Yet often , airlines will issue vouchers, find hotels, and even do what they can with regard to passengers as an act involving goodwill. But for ultra-low-cost air carriers like Spirit, that’s frequently not the case.
At the time of publication, Spirit Airline carriers advises it continues to experience operational challenges across a few areas of its system.