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Spirit Airlines customers in Fort Myers frustrated after flights delayed until next day

Posted: 6:39 AM, May 09, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-10 13:38:14Z
Spirit flight in Fort Myers cancelled on runway
Spirit flight in Fort Myers cancelled on runway

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Hundreds of Spirit Airlines passengers were left stranded in Fort Myers starting Monday night after the airline canceled flights out of RSW.  However, the airline said thousands have been delayed across the country for the past week because of disagreements with the Airline Pilots Association.

"They didn't say nothing, they actually just gave us a new hotel, new flight and that's it," said passenger Martin Ortega.

Ortega and his family were booked on a flight from RSW to Baltimore on Tuesday. However, when they arrived to check-in they were told their flight had been canceled and was rebooked for Wednesday.  "I'm really laid back, it's whatever to me," said Ortega.

However, others aren't taking the sudden cancelations so lightly.  "I'm disgusted, I'm just disgusted," said passenger Lisa Apple.

Apple was on flight 936 from Fort Myers to Atlantic City Monday night. She along with 156 other passengers were stuck in their seats for more than an hour at the gate. She took out her cell phone and started to record after the flight crew wasn't responding to passengers questions.

"She was talking behind us and said she wanted two furlough days if they wanted her to fly last night and trying to negotiate with our lives and our well being," said Apple.

Around midnight when they should have landed in Atlantic City, they were instead asked to deplane without ever leaving the ground in Fort Myers.

But it wasn't the flight crew who told them their flight was canceled, it was an email they received from the airlines.

"I think they gave us $7 to eat breakfast this morning. That's great if you are going to eat McDonalds, and i love McDonalds but not to accommodate in good faith people who have been dramatically and consistently inconvenienced," said passenger Steven Bruccoleri.

These problems in Fort Myers come less than 24 hours after major issues with the same airline in Fort Lauderdale, where skirmishes involving irate passengers broke out following the cancelation of multiple Spirit Airlines flights.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office tells ABC News deputies were called out to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Monday to deal with angry passengers. Videos posted online show the deputies trying to break up fights and detaining some unruly passengers.

CBS News reports nine flights were cancelled.

The airline blames the Airline Pilots Association for the Fort Lauderdale cancellations in a statement to Fox 4 News.

"We are shocked and saddened to see the videos of what took place at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport this evening. 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. It is for this reason, Spirit has filed suit in Federal Court to protect our customers' future travel." -Paul Berry, Spirit Airlines Spokesman

The association tells CBS that Spirit pilots aren't engaged in any job action with Spirit and that the airline's operations "have experienced significant problems over the past several days."

It’s unclear so far if the issues in Fort Lauderdale are connected to the Fort Myers cancelations.

Passengers here believe this could have been prevented.  "If you know that there's a problem then you have to plan accordingly and it should have been dealt with passenger safety and convenience in mind and that simply wasn't done," said Bruccoleri.