9 Spirit flights canceled at FLL; officials deny pilot strike

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Tempers flared at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Sunday, as the cancellations of nine Spirit Airlines flights cancellations led frustrated passengers to demand answers from officials.

7News cameras captured long lines at the Spirit terminal at FLL. The situation caused upset travelers to lash out at the airline’s personnel

“I’m about to snap. I just screamed at them,” said passenger Naima Vignieri. “The whole place is screaming at them.”

Airport officials said five inbound and four outbound Spirit flights had been canceled. They stressed that no other airlines were affected.

When asked to explain the cancellations, Vignieri said the employees she talked to said some of the airline’s pilots had gone on strike. “They said that some pilots were on strike. We’ve been in line for three hours,” she said. “They’re not telling us nothing, They have no flights going out.”

Vignieri was not alone. Passenger Marcy Manfredi said she was told the same thing. “I was told that the pilots were on strike,” she said.

Spirit officials, however, denied there was a strike. In a statement, spokesperson Stephen Schuller wrote, “To be clear, there is no strike. Some flights were canceled due to crew availability. We are working hard to re-accommodate all impacted customers and apologize for any inconvenience.”

One passenger was astonished by her fellow travelers’ calm behavior. “It’s absurd that everybody is so quiet, and we have to take whatever they give to us,” she said as she pointed to the long line. “We pay the fee, we pay [for] the suitcase, we pay for everything.”

Manfredi said her patience is coming to an end. “I’m trying to stay calm,” said Manfredi. “I’m Sicilian, so I don’t have much longer.”

“It’s ridiculous, and I’m not going to fly Spirit anymore,” said another passenger in line.

Just after 6:30 p.m., 7News cameras showed the line finally beginning to move at the Spirit terminal, and passengers were seen leaving with boarding passes.

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