“15 Hours of Hell” for Stranded Passengers

"15 hours of hell."

That's how Ellis Harrison of Newtown, Pa. described his ordeal of trying to get back from Florida.

Dozens of angry passengers, including some bound for our area, were left stranded at a Florida airport overnight due to issue with a discount airline.

Passengers that were supposed to take off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport bound for Atlantic City Airport on Spirit Airlines Flight 268 spent the night in the airport after several Spirit flights were delayed late Wednesday and early Thursday.

The A.C. bound plane was set to take off at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday but was pushed all the way back to 7 a.m. Thursday.

"We couldn't get answers, we got a lot of lies," said Mindy Lange of Marlton, N.J. "Everybody was just getting aggravated."

The plane finally got in the air about 12 hours late at 8:08 a.m. It arrived a little after 10 a.m.

"Everybody was accommodating -- they did the best the could," said Joe Misticoni of West Chester, Pa. "There was no information available."

Five flights in total were delayed Wednesday night and into the early hours of Thursday. Another three flights, scheduled to leave after 7 a.m. Thursday, were also listed as delayed.

Questions about the delays and response to the delays were met with a statement from the airline.

Airline officials said the flights were delayed following engine failure on an aircraft last week. Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the Miramar, Fla.-based airline was completing "a proactive and voluntary check'' on aircraft as a precautionary measure following the engine failure.

Pinson said it takes about 45 minutes to check each aircraft but some flights are "experiencing significant delays." The work should be finished Thursday morning.

"We apologize for these delays," Pinson said. "We are working diligently to get our customers where they need to go as quickly as possible."

Upon arriving in South Jersey, passengers said it took hours for the airline to supply water and they were given no food for at least 10 hours.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the terminal after some upset passengers became unruly. No arrests were made.

Several passengers spent the night sleeping in chairs or on the floor of the airport, unhappy with what they say was a lack of communication and options from the airline.

"They didn't really offer us much in terms of options so, they wouldn't put us up in a hotel or anything like that, so it's very frustrating," passenger Adam Wylie said.

"If Spirit Airlines had told us that there was a problem, great, and that we're gonna be here for five hours, maybe some of us could do some other arrangements, to take some other kind of transportation, go back home," Tonya Elizabeth said.

Besides A.C., delayed flights included departures to New York, Denver, Orlando and Tampa.

Pinson said the airline expected all checks to be finished sometime Thursday morning.

For information on flight delays, click here.

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