Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
Spirit Airlines cancelled 269 flights or 35 per cent of its schedule on Monday leaving thousands of passengers stranded with the Florida-based low-cost carrier blaming bad weather and other unspecified “operational challenges” for the meltdown.
A further 132 flights or 17 per cent of its schedule was delayed Monday – up from 165 flights that were cancelled and 341 flights that incurred a delay on Sunday according to flight tracking website FlightAware.
The mass cancellations resulted in tense scenes at Spirit Airlines ticket desks as long lines of passengers built up. Some passengers were incorrectly informed that the cancellations had been prompted by wildcat strike action and some Spirit staff were said to be in hiding for fear of reprisals from angry customers.
An unconfirmed image purporting to be a message sent to pilots heading to San Juan airport in Puerto Rico warned of “civil unrest” within the airport. “Airport not suitable. Divert,” the message continued.
An anonymous poster claimed some passengers had smashed airline ticket computers and had assaulted gate agents. Crew had been urged to change out of uniform to avoid being attacked.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) which represents Spirit crew members pointed out that the delays had not been caused by staffers downing tools as some had speculated.
“A few news outlets have incorrectly reported that this may be due to a strike. This is not true. There is no flight attendant strike. Crews are not the issue,” the union said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Spirit explained that the airline had been making proactive cancellations to account for bad weather.
“We’re working around the clock to get back on track in the wake of some travel disruptions over the weekend due to a series of weather and operational challenges,” a statement from the airline explained.
“We needed to make proactive cancellations to some flights across the network, but the majority of flights are still scheduled as planned.”
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.