Published on : Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Complete chaos reigned and confusion boiled over at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Monday night as nine Spirit Airlines flights were cancelled, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded, media reports stated.
What followed was chaos as frustrated passengers clashed with Spirit employees, and law enforcement officers tried to maintain order.
Video from the airport showed crowds clustered around Spirit Airlines ticket counters, with people pushing, screaming and cursing.
At one point in one of the videos, the stanchions holding in the line were knocked over, and a Broward County sheriff’s deputy was shoved to the ground. Sheriff’s deputies detained three passengers and charged them with disorderly conduct, according to arrest reports.
Authorities say the behaviour of a few passengers caused a crowd of about 500 people to “become enraged, fearful, or visually upset.” The incident, an arrest report said, “resembled the start of a riot.”
The flight cancellations were reportedly the result of a legal dispute between the budget airline and the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA).
In a statement to the media, Spirit Airlines blamed its pilots for the cancellations and the resulting chaos.
About 300 Spirit Airlines flights have been cancelled in the past week, disrupting travel for more than 20,000 passengers, according to the Spirit lawsuit filed Monday.
“We are shocked and saddened to see the videos of what took place at Ft.
Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport,” Spirit spokesman Paul Berry said in a statement. “This is a result of unlawful labor activity by some Spirit pilots designed to disrupt Spirit operations for our customers, by canceling multiple flights across our network. These pilots have put their quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations and the safety of their fellow Spirit Team Members.”