'I’m a little stressed...' Metro Detroiters stranded in cities after Spirit cancels, delays several flights

Posted at 5:34 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 19:56:45-04

(WXYZ) — “I’m glad to be home!” said Maria Martinez, who was supposed to be back home in Detroit on Aug. 1. She was in Tampa for a family reunion with her daughter.

“We boarded the plane. Then they deplaned us off the plane and told us it was canceled,” Martinez said.

As they wait on their luggage she can’t help think about what she just went through with Spirit Airlines.

The airline is on day four of widespread operational issues caused by staff shortages and weather that is now leading to cancellations and delays, forcing Martinez to stay in a hotel for three nights after the voucher the airline gave her didn’t work.

“They gave us a voucher but we couldn’t use it at none of the hotels,” Martinez said.

“NO HOTEL ROOMS AVAILABLE AT THE MOMENT,” that’s the message she received when she clicked the link that was sent to her email by the airline. So she paid out of pocket.

“Roughly about $800 and they say we can’t have our money back,” she adds.

She isn’t the only one having to open their wallet.

“I’m just looking at the account as the money keeps leaving, I’m scared to be this far away from home without money,” said Jessie James.

James and his partner Matt are stuck in Vegas. They were on a birthday hiking trip in Denver. The airline diverted them to Vegas where they are still waiting.

“We are running out of clean clothes and it’s 110 degrees out here,” James said.

The two just want to make it back home to Commerce Township.

“I’m missing work. I have two children,” said Matt Kimler.

But say they’re grateful to be in a hotel because the scenes at the airport are heartbreaking.

“There’s children, babies, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sleeping on the floor in an airport scared with COVID numbers going up,” James said.

Some passengers flying out of Detroit metro airport say they aren’t risking it.

“I might just buy a whole different flight but hopefully I can get a refund for this one,” says Ayden Owens.

Spirit canceled his flight this morning.

“I’m a little stressed because we are supposed to get into Seattle tonight my family is expecting us,” said Theresa Mayanja.

While some passengers worry about what’s next some are lucky their flights are still on time.

“Pretty blessed because we were looking to have that happen to us,” said Mark Harden.

According to Spirit Airlines canceled 60% of their flights and delayed 8%.

In a statement to 7 Action News a spokesperson with the airline says:

"After working through yesterday’s proactive cancellations, we’ve implemented a more thorough reboot of the network, allowing us to reassign our crews more efficiently and restore the network faster. As a result, cancellation numbers will progressively drop in the days to come."

“Don’t sell tickets for flights that you know are going to go off,” Owens adds.

The airlines also say "lines in airports have decreased substantially as we make progress on the re-accommodations following the cancellations."

They also want guests to check for notifications and their flight status [] before going to the airport.