Spirit Airlines cancellations, delays continue Tuesday for 3rd straight day

·3 min read

Aug. 3—Flights on Spirit Airlines continued to be canceled and delayed Tuesday at Arnold Palmer Regional and Pittsburgh International airports.

The "proactive cancellations" are a result of "overlapping operational challenges including weather, system outages and staffing shortages," Spirit spokesman Field Sutton said.

It was unclear when the issues might be resolved. Sutton said the cancellations are mainly focused in areas where travelers would have other flight options.

Spirit Airlines is the sole carrier at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe. Some passengers there who had their flights canceled tried to rebook and find other options, said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority, which operates the facility.

"It's certainly unfortunate, but I have all the faith in the world Spirit" will get the issues resolved, he said.

Spirit flights Tuesday to and from Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the Unity airport were canceled, wiping out most travel.

The flight cancellations at the Arnold Palmer airport likely will make Katie Walk, her daughter, Sierah Bogel, and her mother-in-law, Priscilla Walk, miss the Florida funeral of Priscilla's son, scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The three women were waiting in the airport terminal Tuesday for a friend to drive them home to Tyrone after their 1 p.m. flight to Orlando was canceled. Two previous flights they'd tried to board, on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, previously were canceled.

"It's crazy, you know," said Katie Walk. "They have another flight tomorrow, but it's not until 3 p.m., and there's no guarantees. Even if we would take it, we still wouldn't make it in time for the funeral."

She said she doesn't place blame on the Spirit staff at the airport. "It's not these people's fault," she said. "The people at the service desk searched every airport within a three-hour radius of here to see if there were any flights going out, and they said, 'No'"

She expressed discontent with the airline for not covering the family's costs for staying overnight at a local hotel but noted the hotel did offer them a discount.

She said family members have taken Spirit flights in the past with no problem.

The family's attempts to rent a vehicle or find transportation to Florida via a train were fruitless, Walk said.

"We decided to go ahead and go home," she said. "It's not in the cards for us to go to Florida. We have no other options."

It's 63 driving miles to Pittsburgh International Airport, where Spirit canceled several Tuesday flights to beach destinations such as Mexico and Fort Lauderdale. Eleven of 14 Spirit flights were canceled as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Allegheny County Airport Authority spokesman Bob Kerlik.

"We understand how frustrating it is for our guests when plans change unexpectedly," Sutton said. "We're working to provide refunds for cancellations and, when possible, to reaccommodate our guests."

The airline asks that travelers check their flight status before heading to the airport.

The issues have been affecting travelers around the country. Spirit canceled 311 of its flights planned for Tuesday, the third-most in the world and accounting for about 40% of the total cancellations in the United States, according to flightaware.com, an aviation tracking website. An additional 86 Spirit flights were delayed.

Tuesday is the third consecutive day of heavy cancellations and delays for Spirit. On Sunday, the airline canceled or delayed 60% of its flights, according to FlightAware. That figure increased to 71% on Monday.

Air travel hit a high point Sunday with more than 2.2 million people going through airport checkpoints, according to the Transportation Security Administration. While it is the highest number since February 2020, it is still down from 2019 numbers.

Airlines have been contending with flight delays and cancellations as leisure travel increases but staffing remains low.

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