Spirit Cancels Flights, Leaves Passengers Stranded

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With its pilots striking, Spirit Airlines has canceled flights through Tuesday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

The discount carrier's pilots walked off the job Saturday, after talks on a new contract failed. The dispute centers on pay, which the pilots say is less than that of competitors including JetBlue.

Paul Hopkins, strike committee chairman of the Spirit unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, told The Associated Press, "None of the planes are moving and none of our pilots have crossed the picket line."

On its website, the carrier says it has canceled all flights through June 15.

In a note addressed "To Our Loyal Customers," Spirit says it is "continuing to work with our pilot union to reach a fair and equitable agreement that ensures the long-term stability of the company, and allows us to continue offering you the ultra low fares you have come to know and love."

But according to AP, no talks with picketing pilots were scheduled.

The Florida-based airline flies about 16,680 passengers per day, mostly between the eastern U.S. destinations including the Caribbean and Latin America.

The airline said it would refund fares and give passengers a $100 credit toward a future flight. But passengers may be having trouble booking flights on other carriers. According to Market Watch, Air Tran Airways, for one, was trying to accommodate Spirit passengers, but had little space available over coming weeks.

AP says those passengers who could find last-minute substitute flights were finding prices substantially higher than their Spirit tickets. Some of those impacted include cruise passengers coming off ships in Fort Lauderdale.

Spirit flies about 150 flights per day, and its main hub is Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. There were also reports of stranded passengers at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Photo, PhillipC, Flickr
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