American Airlines joins Spirit in canceling hundreds of flights
UPDATE: 300 Spirit Airlines flights canceled Wednesday morning
American Airlines joined Spirit Airlines in canceling hundreds of flights on Tuesday.
After canceling 333 flights nationwide on Monday, Spirit Airlines grounded another 343 as of 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday while American canceled 288, according to FlightAware.com.
Spirit's cancellations included 10 flights in/out of Atlantic City 24 in/out of Newark and seven flights in/out of Philadelphia. American canceled 12 flights in/out of Newark and 13 in/out of Philadelphia. American doesn't serve Atlantic City.
"A prolonged severe weather event in Dallas Fort-Worth on Sunday night into Monday morning brought sustained heavy rain, strong winds, lightning, microbursts and hail to our largest hub. The nine-hour weather event resulted in flight delays, cancellations and nearly 100 diversions. Our team members are working around the clock to care for our customers," American Airlines spokeswoman Whitney Zastrow told New Jersey 101.5.
A text at midnight
Danielle Cruz told New Jersey 101.5 she was notified via text at 12:02 a.m. Tuesday morning that her Spirit flight from Orlando to Atlantic City at 7:15 a.m. with her husband and four children had been canceled. She was offered a flight to Philadelphia but left her car in Atlantic City and did not have a way to get her family home.
"Then I was told I need to call the hotline to get a refund from Spirit but they wanted to charge me to get me home, which was doubled what I had paid. I feel helpless. I can't get a flight home, I can't get a representative or someone to tell me anything," Cruz said.
The resurgence of leisure travel, coupled with some bad weather, has led to delays and flight cancellations at airlines struggling to ramp up after being crushed by the pandemic.
Airlines have thousands fewer workers than they did before the pandemic, and at times they have been caught short-staffed even though they received $54 billion in taxpayer money to keep employees on the payroll.
Not just Spirit canceling flights
Sally Jane Smith, owner and operator of Travelsmiths in Point Pleasant Borough for over 30 years, spent hours on the phone on behalf of her clients rebooking flights as have other agencies.
"I can speak for every one of them how frustrated they are with how these planes are being canceled. If they're going to be canceled like this they don't protect them or send us an email. If you don't have a travel app on your phone you're not going to get that message," Smith said.
Smith said she is happy that flights are full and people are traveling again.
"But the airlines really need to figure out something else because every week they're canceling hundreds of flights and it's not just Spirit. It's American. It's Jet Blue. It's Delta and it's United. Those are the big dogs," she said.
Spirit Airlines on Tuesday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's requests for more information. Spirit has not posted new information on its website or Twitter account and continues to blame "operational challenges."
Newark Liberty International Airport staff has been working with Spirit Airlines on their recovery plan, while offering ongoing passengers assistance, status information, as well as other available travel options. Customers are also provided snacks, pizza and water.
A representative from the South Jersey Transportation Authority referred questions to Spirit, the only commercial airline providing service to Atlantic City International Airport.
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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ