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Spirit Airlines continues cancellations, passengers in Atlantic City frustrated
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Spirit Airlines continues cancellations, passengers in Atlantic City frustrated

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Spirit Airlines continued canceling flights Tuesday after it was announced that weather and “operational challenges” had impacted flight schedules Monday.

The disruptions caused thousands of people across the country to unexpectedly change their plans, including passengers flying in and out of Atlantic City, where Spirit is the sole commercial airline provider.

Craig Miller, of St. Petersburg, Florida, had his flight to Tampa canceled Monday morning, causing him to miss work.

“The issue is how much money somebody is losing by not getting in at the time they are supposed to, and in my case it’s $300 because of the income that I lost by not being there (at work),” Miller said Tuesday afternoon as he waited at Atlantic City International Airport for a new flight. “I told them (Spirit) I’m going to be losing money and tried to see if there was an earlier flight, but they said no.”

Miller said while he was unable to get a customer service representative on the phone for more than an hour, the airline gave him a $50 voucher for the cancellation, even though his flight was $150.

“They said they can’t give me more than $50 even though they know I’m losing income,” Miller said. “To not compensate the customer according to what happened I think is just absolutely wrong and does not make me feel good as a customer of Spirit Airlines.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines are not required to compensate passengers when flights are delayed or canceled. Compensation is required by law only when certain passengers are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold.

A Spirit spokesman said the airline was proactively canceling some flights — dropping them before most passengers drive to the airport — to “reset” the operation.

“We’re working around the clock to mitigate the travel disruptions caused by overlapping operational challenges including weather, system outages and staffing shortages in some areas of the operation,” spokesman Erik Hofmeyer said. “We’re working to provide refunds for cancellations and, when possible, to re-accommodate our guests” on other flights.

A person familiar with the situation said Spirit experienced an outage Tuesday morning affecting crew scheduling, preventing airline officials from rescheduling crews to cover gaps. The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said crews were stranded in many places around the country and unable to get to assigned flights.

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Atlantic City International’s website showed two inbound Spirit flights and two outbound flights were canceled Tuesday.

Nationwide, Spirit canceled 334 flights Monday. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 382 flights canceled, which accounts for 55% of the airline’s total flights.

A spokesperson for Spirit said Monday there was a rumor of a pilot strike, but said the airline is not experiencing any work action from any union or group. A spokesperson with the Air Line Pilots Association confirmed there was no strike underway.

Airline officials wrote on Facebook that it was experiencing “operational challenges” in some areas of their network.

“Before heading to the airport, please check your email and current flight status,” officials advised. “Due to long lines at the airport, the fastest way to receive assistance is to visit our webchat and select, ‘Let’s Chat.’”

Under the post, hundreds of commenters expressed frustrations about their canceled or delayed flights.

Fanta Goodloe, of Egg Harbor Township, was stranded in Orlando, Florida, for five hours after a flight to Atlantic City was canceled Sunday.

“We were getting emails that our flight was on time but nothing about delays or cancellations,” Goodloe said in an email Tuesday. “It wasn’t until they actually made an announcement that our flight was canceled that they did give us a one-time-use $84 food voucher, but no other accommodations were given. No discount or help on renting a car, hotels. We are still waiting for them to refund our money.”

Spirit is not alone in experiencing disruptions. American Airlines had canceled nearly 300 flights by early afternoon Tuesday, but it is much larger than Spirit, and those flights amounted to a less-alarming 9% of its schedule.

About three-fourths of the American cancellations appeared to be due at least partly to a lack of pilots, according to a company log.

The Associated Press and Doris Zheku contributed to this report.

Contact Molly Shelly:

609-272-7241

mshelly@pressofac.com

Twitter @mollycshelly

“The issue is how much money somebody is losing by not getting in at the time they are supposed to, and in my case it's $300 because of the income that I lost by not being (at work)."

Craig Miller, of St. Petersburg, Florida, whose flight was canceled

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