Marooned passengers confined for an extraordinary time aboard a Spirit Airlines A319, after an emergency landing in Texas, should stir up the carrier’s public relations department, finds Grumpy Editor.
What was supposed to be a routine five-hour flight from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, late Saturday night wound up taking a blushing 19 hours to reach its destination.
The 100 passengers at times were subject to pressure cooker conditions after the aircraft’s pilot made an emergency landing at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport following actions by an unruly, disruptive and screaming 81-year-old blind passenger.
Passengers were kept on the Tarmac for two hours without air conditioning before being allowed into the terminal, reported ABC News.
The airline, it added, then told the grumbling passengers that they would be shuttled by bus five hours north to Dallas, because Spirit does not operate a flight between Houston and Fort Lauderdale, and did not have a fresh crew to take over the controls.
Hearing that, passengers became irate, yelling and screaming at airline staff.
"We went 'No! No Way!'” a passenger recounted for ABC News, adding “it took them 25 minutes afterwards to come back and tell us that they were going to have a plane for us."
Spirit Airlines eventually flew passengers in a different aircraft with that flight arriving in South Florida about 8 p.m. Sunday.
The unidentified disruptive passenger was turned over to the Houston Police Department.
The Miami-area-based low-cost carrier said it offered the wayward passengers refunds and credits for future flights.
Spirit’s public relations department, hopefully, was busy at work this week devising a plan to soothe passengers with prompt action in similar future events.