NBC10 Responds

Spirit Airlines Cancels Flights, Leaves Customers Stranded

Two NBC10 Responds viewers look for answers as they scramble to get home. Airline blames "disruptions over the weekend due to a series of weather and operational challenges."

NBC Universal, Inc.

From Myrtle Beach to Orlando, NBC10 Responds viewers say their vacations came to an unpleasant end when Spirit Airlines canceled their return trips home.

“It was just a chaotic nightmare at the airport yesterday,” said Kami Zdanowicz. According to the passenger, she wasn’t given a reason for the cancellation, and was told the next available flight would get her home Thursday, four days later than she originally planned.

Instead, she booked a flight on an alternate airline. She’s still waiting on word of a refund from Spirit.

Shaun Patrick’s family is in a similar situation. The family of four told NBC10 Responds they budgeted and planned for their Orlando vacation for five months. The morning of their return flight home brought bad news. “A text message from Spirit woke us up saying that they canceled our flight,” said Patrick.

He said he can’t get through to Spirit Airlines on the phone to rebook a new flight home. And finding the money to book a new flight for his family is presenting a problem. According to Patrick, “Right now, [I’m] just kind of freaking out because these prices to even get home are astronomical.”

NBC10 Responds learned Spirit Airlines canceled a dozen flights to and from Philadelphia Monday, and another 12 flights at Atlantic City’s airport.

The Airline told NBC10: “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. We needed to make proactive cancellations to some flights across the network, but the majority of flights are still scheduled as planned.”

When it comes to the impact on its customers, Spirit Airlines explained “We understand how frustrating it is for our Guests when plans change unexpectedly, and we're working to find solutions.” It went on to suggest “We ask Guests to actively monitor their emails and flight status before heading to the airport.”

What's a Passenger to Do?

The consumer advocacy group Travelers United has advice for airline passengers who experience a flight cancelation.

Your first step: Visit the airline’s website and request a refund for your canceled trip. Under Department of Transportation rules, the airline must reimburse you if they are the one to cancel the flight. However, you may need to ask for the money back in order to receive reimbursement.

Take pictures to prove you were at the airport and your travel was disrupted. This photo proof is important to have in case the airline claims you were a no-show for the flight.

Keep all receipts for any extra expenses you ring up. For example: an extra night in a hotel, or the cost of a new airline ticket or rental car to get home. Make copies of these receipts and send them to the airline and ask for a reimbursement.

If you booked with a credit card, check the terms of your cardholder agreement. It may have consumer protections in place for canceled flights.

If you have a consumer problem let NBC10 Responds know about it by filling out our complaint form.

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