As the week progresses, Spirit Airlines continues to cancel and delay flights. Yesterday, Spirit Airlines cancelled a whopping 61% of its flight. Today is unlikely to be better and potentially even worse.
Spirit Airlines Cancellations + Flight Delays Continue
On Monday, I wrote about the operational meltdown (I phrased it as a collapse, which some thought was inappropriate, but I stand by that language) Spirit experienced after a nasty storm system swept through the Southeastern United States.
That meltdown continues. From FlightAware:
- August 1, 2021 – Spirit canceled 165 flights (19% of its schedule) and delayed 341 flights (40%)
- August 2, 2021 – Spirit canceled 334 flights (42%) and delayed 227 flights (28%)
- August 3, 2021 – Spirit canceled 429 flights (61%) and delayed 127 flights (18%)
That continues today, where Spirit Airlines has already cancelled 45% of its flights and it is only 5:00am ET.
- August 4, 2021 – Spirit canceled 303 flights (45%) and delayed 6 flights (0.1%)
Expect the number of delays and cancellations to grow significantly during the day.
The reason for the delays remain storm systems in the U.S. Southeast and staffing issues. The staffing issues represent a domino effect of delays and cancellations plus a schedule that was too ambitious in the first place.
It did not help that staff members were (allegedly) told to remove their uniforms and hide from passengers after rioting broke out in Puerto Rico after a string of cancellations.
What To Do If Your Spirit Airlines Flight Is Delayed Or Cancelled?
Here’s the sad reality: there is no perfect solution–or even a reasonable solution–when your Spirit Airlines flight is delayed or cancelled.
As long as so-called “optional” fees (is bringing a carry-on really optional for all but the day traveler?) are disclosed, I have no problem with the business model. Indeed, when things go right on Spirit Airlines, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars compared to traveling on legacy airline.
But as a stand-alone carrier with no partnerships or interline agreements, you’re screwed when something goes wrong. Unless you are willing to pony up for another ticket on another airline, you are stuck and at the mercy of Spirit Airlines.
As passengers have found out over the last few days, that means some must wait days to travel and that many have had vacations or business trips ruined.
Using a credit card that provides travel insurance can help, though the process of claiming compensation can be burdensome.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, reach out to Spirit in several ways. First, join the queue for a web chat, which seems to be the quickest way to reach the airline. Second, call in simultaneously and join the queue. Having a back-up option cannot hurt.
If you find yourself at an airport and wish to deal with an agent, check how bad the lines are. If 200 people are waiting to speak to one agent, considering leaving the secure area and returning to the ticket counters, where you may experience shorter lines.
Just understand that this is a huge risk of doing business with Spirit Airlines.
It’s a tough week to fly Spirit Airlines. In hindsight, the budget carrier was far too aggressive in its schedule and could not handle a few bad storms, which have crippled the airline for three days. Broadly speaking, your options are quite limited if you have booked on Spirit and your flight is delayed or cancelled. The best you can hope for is a seat on the next available flight.
image: Spirit Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)