Tempers flare after flights cancelled in Punta Gorda

CREATED Jan. 31, 2014

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CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - The cold weather leading to some hot tempers in Southwest Florida.

Fog cancelled several Allegiant Airline flights at the Punta Gorda Airport. 
 
Passengers say they were left high and dry by the airline and that the airport wasn't equipped to handle  the number of stranded passengers. 
 
They say law enforcement was called in for crowd control as employees handed out letters from Allegiant telling them about the cancelled flights. 
 
"Today was frustrating to say the least," said passenger John Rowland. 
 
He met the Westphal family while they were waiting hours for word on the status of their flight. 
 
"It was just a bad, bad situation," said David Westphal.
 
The flight eventually got cancelled and left them stranded. 
 
The only way out was a new flight out of Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers.
 
"They had no way to get there," said Rowland. "They had given up their rental car so I said 'Well, I 'm not doing anything, obviously, so I'll take you." 
 
Finally some good news for the Westphals after a day of chaos. 
 
"People were bumping into each other," David said. "I mean, there were children, the snack stand ran out of food, just no answers and then at the end just a lot of anger." 
 
"We just really want to make sure that the passengers understand this is out of our control," said Allegiant Airlines spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler. "But, we don't want to leave them stranded."
 
Allegiant says the small airport and some of Allegiant's aircraft didn't have the right instruments to deal with Friday's fog. 
 
"For those people who are really upset, their vacations may be ruined, what do you guys have to say to those people?" asked reporter Kelli Stegeman. 
 
"We are very sorry," replied Wheeler.
 
Allegiant says passengers will get to reschedule or get a refund. They also gave them a $100 voucher. 
 
It was a similar scene earlier this month as crowds of passengers at Punta Gorda Airport had cancelled flights with no warning and no answers. 
 
This latest trouble just adds to the growing frustration with the airline in Southwest Florida.
 
Stegeman talked to the airport's executive director off camera and asked why there were so many problems with Allegiant recently. 
 
He said bad weather in other parts of the country this month have affected their flights as well.
 
He explained that Friday was an isolated incident and things should be running smoothly at the airport from here on out. 
 
If you have a flight coming up at the airport, you can always check the flight's status here on our website.