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Spirit Airlines and union deny strikes caused mass cancellations

written by Isabella Richards | August 3, 2021

Spirit Airlines faces mass cancelations due to operational issues (Spirit Airlines)

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and Spirit Airlines have quickly shut down “incorrectly reported” rumours of a flight crew strike over the weekend, which supposedly caused a wave of cancellations.

On Sunday, 40 per cent, or 341, of the low-cost carrier’s flights were delayed and 165 flights were cancelled according to flight tracker FlightAware.

The Florida-based airline blamed weather and “operational issues” for the flight disruptions, but various news outlets signalled staff strikes were the culprit.

Field Sutton, a spokesperson for the airline, said in a statement “there is no strike”, and that he was aware of the rumour of a pilot strike, “but it’s 100 per cent false”.

“We’re working around the clock to get back on track in the wake of some travel disruptions over the weekend due to a series of weather and operational challenges,” he said.

Various customers complained over Twitter about the delays and being stranded due to the cancellations with no backup plans because of incorrect information being told by staff.

The cancellations led to the AFA-CWA, which represents thousands of US airline staff, to confirm the strike rumours were false in a statement.


“Spirit Airlines is experiencing operational issues causing flight delays and cancellations due to weather, schedule month change over, and IT outages,” the statement said.

“A few news outlets have incorrectly reported that this may be due to a strike. This is not true. There is no flight attendant strike. Crews are not the issue.”

A severe thunderstorm that hit the Dallas and Fort Worth international hub was deemed another main cause of the flight disruptions, affecting American Airlines and Southwest Airlines as well.

FlightAware reported that 30 per cent – or 948 – of American’s flights were delayed and 238 were cancelled.

“We have experienced cancellations and delays yesterday and today, mainly due to weather and ATC impacts at DFW Airport, including two ramp closures yesterday and a ground stop earlier today related to ongoing weather-recovery efforts,” said American in an email.

Officials said the issues should be cleared up by Tuesday this week as the storms in Texas surpass.

Southwest Airlines also reported 42 per cent of flight delays over the weekend for similar issues.

The mass cancellations come during a travel surge in the US while vaccinations increase and flights to the UK are reinstated without quarantine.

However, this follows a slew of mass cancellations across US airlines in the past few months due to staff shortages or bad weather.

In June, American Airlines was forced to cancel hundreds of flights over a weekend due to maintenance issues and being unable to keep up with the growing demand.


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