Fights, brawls, and all-around bedlam flared up at Fort Lauderdale’s airport on Monday after several flights were canceled. Spirit, a Florida-based discount airline which is referred to by some as the “Greyhound Bus of the Sky,” was forced to cancel numerous flights because of an ongoing rift in contract negotiations with pilots.
Passengers of Spirit Airlines have been facing hours-long delays and flight cancellations for days, but tempers boiled into violence on Monday night at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Chaos erupted at Spirit’s front ticket counter and it was so intense that Broward County deputies were called to end the brawl. Several people were arrested.
“There were several people there that were upset,” Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Gina Carter told ABC News. “We were called in to just make sure that things were kept from getting very unruly.”
Carter said there were no injuries reported and the situation has returned to normal.
Spirit Airlines is currently having labor negotiations with their pilots. Spirit Airlines alleges that the pilots have canceled as many as 300 flights on the discount airline over the past week by calling out sick. The airline said the pilots were putting their “quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations” and the safety of Spirit staff.
“We are shocked and saddened to see the videos of what took place at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport this evening,” the company said in a statement. “This is a result of unlawful labor activity by some Spirit pilots designed to disrupt Spirit operations for our customers, by canceling multiple flights across our network.”
Spirit is suing the Airline Pilots Association in federal court for intentionally disrupting the airline’s operations.
You have to respect the guy, presumably from Boston, who tried to sing “Sweet Caroline” to calm things down (1:18 mark).