CHICAGO — Spirit Airlines has canceled thousands of flights this week, with cancellations expected to continue throughout the weekend.
Approximately 30 percent of the airline’s flights for Friday have been canceled in what the airline called a step in the right direction.
Several customers have said the cancellations have led them to lose confidence in the airline.
Before Alex Helderman starts college next week, his mother treated him to a trip to celebrate his high school graduation.
“It was kind of like the last trip before adulthood if you will,” Helderman said.
After a week at the Happiest Place on Earth, the reality of adulthood hit hard at the Orlando airport.
“This is all for cancellations on Spirit right now. All of these people had their flights canceled,” Laura Helderman said.
They are now stranded in Florida trying to get home to Illinois.
“Honestly this is exactly what we’re trying to prevent. We’re trying to have social distancing,” Alex Helderman said.
It’s been an entire week of cancellations for the economy airline, with the company’s CEO blaming staff shortages and bad weather for the lack of flights.
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Nearly 2,000 flights have been canceled, with some of them canceled just minutes before departure.
Transportation experts aid the endless headache for customers should be a wake-up call for the entire industry.
“Schedule changes, people’s flights being moved and now Spirit’s wholesale cancellations. The pressure is on Washington to think of a plan,” Dr. Joseph P. Schwieterman of DePaul University said.
Spirit is giving people refunds, in addition to a $50 voucher.
In a statement Friday, Spirit said they are truly sorry about the cancellations and are working to get flights back on schedule entirely for next week.
“Our primary objective right now is taking care of our guests and team members and getting our operation back to where we want it to be,” Spirit CEO Ted Christie said.
Christie said he expects the airline to resume normal operations by the middle of next week.