Spirit cancels more than half of its flights Wednesday as customers and staff remain stranded

Aug 4, 2021

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A series of cancellations continued to rock Spirit Airlines on Wednesday, the fourth day of travel chaos on the low cost carrier.

The airline canceled more than 415 flights as of 2:45  p.m. ET on Wednesday — nearly two-thirds of its scheduled flights for the day — according to data from FlightAware.

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Spirit has been canceling flights since Sunday, stranding passengers and its own crewmembers across its entire network due to a combination of summer storms, staffing shortages, and IT issues.

The airline canceled more than 40% of its schedule Monday, and 61% on Tuesday, according to FlightAware.

On Monday, the airline said in a statement that it was making “proactive cancelations” to try and reset its operations following the disruptions.

On Wednesday, the airline said that it had implemented “a more thorough reboot of the network,” which would allow it “to reassign our crews more efficiently and restore the network faster. As a result, cancellation numbers will progressively drop in the days to come.”

“We’ve dealt with overlapping operational challenges including weather, system outages and staffing shortages that caused widespread irregularities in our operation and impacted crew scheduling,” the airline added in a statement. “These issues were exacerbated by the fact that we are in peak summer travel season with very high industry load factors and more limited options for Guest re-accommodations.”

More: What’s going on with all of those cancellations at American Airlines

The airline recommends that passengers check their flight details before heading to the airport, and says that the best way to contact customer support is through its online chat tool.

What can you do if your flight is canceled?

Flight cancellations can be inconvenient regardless of which carrier you fly, but on many routes, Spirit only has one flight a day — in some cases, even fewer than that. If you’re facing a cancellation, it can be especially difficult to get rebooked.

While American Airlines might be able to route you through another city or perhaps even add a larger aircraft to accommodate displaced flyers, that’s a bit tricky for Spirit to pull off, given the carrier’s far smaller fleet.

Related: What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled?

If you’re currently facing a Spirit Airlines cancellation and the airline can’t accommodate you for a few days, it might be time to consider alternatives — likely at your own expense.

Input your origin, destination and dates on Google Flights to price out the most convenient options and lowest fares. If you’re within driving distance of another airport, it could make sense to search for options from there as well.

This could also be a good time to tap your frequent flyer account and consider booking an award flight, especially if cash fares are prohibitively high.

Remember: If you have points with a transferrable program, like Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou, you can transfer them to a handful of frequent flyer programs, letting you give your account an instant boost. Transfer times vary, so be sure to confirm how long a transfer will take before you begin the process.

Related: A guide to earning transferable points and why they’re so valuable

Partner programs are also worth a look. You can use British Airways Avios to book award flights on American Airlines, for example, and points transfer instantly from American Express. You’ll just want to confirm availability before you send your points over.

Additional reporting by TPG’s Zach Honig. 

Featured photo by by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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