Passengers queue up in LAX Terminal 5 on Tuesday morning as Spirit Airlines canceled 313 flights on Monday, 40% of its scheduled flights and 210 flights are delayed.
Al Seib | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
Spirit Airlines has canceled nearly 400 flights – half of its Thursday flight schedule – as the airline tries to end the disruptions that have angered customers since the weekend.
The airline blamed a combination of bad weather, staff shortages and technology problems for the disruptions, which have resulted in more than 1,700 cancellations since last weekend.
Angry and confused passengers complained about long waits at customer service and long waits at crowded airports.
The topic tests the advances made by low-cost carriers in recent years to improve reliability and customer service.
Spirit said the problem was made worse by the surge in summer travel demand, which was recovering from a pandemic slump faster than the U.S. aviation industry expected.
As of Thursday morning, about 80% of all U.S. flight cancellations came from Spirit, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.
Airlines will often cancel large numbers of flights to get planes and crews in place and avoid further disruption that could strand employees and customers at airports.
“After going through yesterday’s proactive cancellations, we’ve implemented a more thorough network restart that will allow us to reassign our crews more efficiently and restore the network faster,” Spirit said in a statement on Wednesday. It was said that the flight cancellations would “progressively” decline in the coming days.
Only eight Spirit flights scheduled for Friday have been canceled.
American Airlines passengers faced snowball-like cancellations and delays earlier this week caused by storms at the Dallas / Fort Worth international airport hub on Sunday and the resulting staff shortages. Those delays have largely subsided with only 43 cancellations on Thursday.