FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thousands of flights are being canceled across the country, leaving passengers stranded at airports.
A majority are with Spirit Airlines but other airlines are experiencing it, too. Staff at Southwest Florida International Airport is handling the recent obstacle.
“It’s been a long day here at RSW.”
A number of cancellations make up the flight information board at RSW, leaving passengers stranded not only here in Southwest Florida, but in airports across the country as well. It’s forcing families- like Kim Weibel- to rethink their strategy in getting home.
“We came back to check in at 3:30 and only three of us were now on the flight," she says. "So now some of us are going on Delta and some of us are going on American Airlines.”
Weibel and her family were originally scheduled to fly home to Pittsburgh Sunday with Spirit. But that’s when the cancellations started coming in. The airline only flies on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thankfully, they were still able to stay at their condo. But the help they’ve received from Spirit has been less than ideal.
“We just came to pick the rest of the family back up after we’d already dropped them off. Spirit did give us a $50 credit to make our plans by the end of September. No one makes their vacation plans within a month to go back on vacation! It really wasn’t helpful at all.”
While plenty of families and individuals have had their flights canceled, there is some positive news to come from the airport. Some of those passengers have been able to catch a departing flight with another airline.
“Luckily for us, our flights are spaced out throughout the day so if there is a cancellation or delay, we have enough time to get passengers where they need to go and kind of mellow everything out before the next flight," said Xavier Barrett, Station Manager with Eulen America at RSW.
Plenty are traveling for summer vacation right now, but those at RSW say the airport is in its low season. Which is causing the larger airports to see more cancellations compared to them.
“If this was hot season, it would have been a lot more noticeable but it’s been low season for us," says Barrett. "The airlines- they’re not flying as often as they do in the hot season so it’s a little bit more calm now. As you can tell, the airport is still kind of empty right now so it’s really not too crazy, not too bad.”
“It’s been a lot of hassle, to be honest with you, to go through Spirit," Weibel said. "They could credit my whole purchase back and I would still never fly with them.”
And while the Weibels have been one of the few fortunate to book an alternative flight, they’re just ready to go home.
“It’s been a long couple of days. These guys have all been supposed to be at work, though, we love Florida! We will be back, but just not on Spirit.”