|Another week, another airline outrage.
The Monday night melee has been a long time coming. No-frills Spirit was already infamous for its cancellations and delays, even before its labor dispute with pilots. It was inevitable that frustrated customers would act out.
Spirit had the lowest rate of on-time arrivals of any domestic carrier in 2016, according to the Air Quality Rating from Wichita State University. It also had the highest rate of passenger complaints in 2016.
Irate passengers at Fort Lauderdale Airport brawled with Spirit Airlines employees and police officers Monday evening, after the carrier cancelled flights due to labor disputes with its pilots.
This latest incident follows a wave of clashes between passengers and airline employees caught on video, including the dragging of passenger David Dao off a United Airlines flight last month.
The events have worried both the traveling public and US lawmakers.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.
The pervasiveness of social media and legions of tech-savvy citizens around the globe documenting airline missteps large and small on a daily basis is a tremendous help to passenger rights organizations. But, does that 24/7 access ever become too much?
Technology has really allowed passengers to shine a spotlight on the traveling experience – for good and bad. Yet, when it rains, it pours – it seems every week an airline abuse video goes viral.
Are Spirit’s Pilots On Strike?
The pilot union says no – the pilots have just stopped volunteering for extra shifts. Spirit’s management says pilots are refusing to work overtime, which they claim is an illegal ‘job action’ coordinated by the Air Line Pilots Association to apply pressure during contract negotiations.
For the past several days Spirit has cancelled around 15% of flights. This is a bitter labor dispute and pilots say they are fed up that the company is not offering them a fair contract.
Spirit management has responded with filing a lawsuit, claiming it had to cancel over 300 flights nationally and internationally this past week because of the union’s actions.
Spirit’s Twitter pa ge was full of passengers complaining that Spirit is blaming the cancellations on weather – but a few have gotten the truth of what’s going on by talking to gate employees.
Imagine, an airline lying to passengers and saying that cancellations are due to weather, when in fact, it’s crew shortages. Where have we heard that before?
Therefore, it appears that Spirit is using ‘weather’ to circumvent compensation, and blaming their pilots internally.
To wrap up, people are not just mad at the airlines, they’re furious and demanding to be treated better. Who knows if we’re going to see more of this backlash in the coming months – just get ready for a long summer!