Spirit Cancels Multiple Flights, Melee Breaks Out

Police called to the scene at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2017 9:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – Spirit Airlines customers were not happy when as many as nine flights were canceled Monday night at Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport—in fact, they were so unhappy, police had to be called in. Video posted by onlookers and witness reports detail a massively chaotic scene, complete with yelling customers and physical altercations, though the official word from the Broward County Sheriff's Office to ABC News is simply that "several people" were "upset" and that the sheriff's office was called in to make sure things didn't get "very unruly." Three people, however, were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, WSVN reports. "I saw two people go down on the floor and get … handcuffed and dragged out of here," one onlooker says. Per the sheriff's office, no injuries were reported.

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Video shows lines out the door of the terminal; one customer says they were told they wouldn't be able to get a flight out until Wednesday, while another says three of their flights had been canceled by Spirit and they had already had to spend one night in an airport. The flight cancellations come amid a dispute between Spirit and its pilots. The pilots say they're working without a contract, CBS News reports, but Spirit says the pilots are taking putting their "quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations." The airline calls the move "unlawful labor activity" and an "illegal slowdown" of operations, though it denies an actual strike. More than 150 of the airline's flights have been canceled over the past few days, and Spirit has now filed a lawsuit against the Airline Pilots Association, hoping a court will intervene. (Read more Spirit Airlines stories.)

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