More than 40 Spirit Airlines flights to and from Orlando International Airport were canceled Friday because the carrier needed to inspect some of its planes — an issue that is expected to shift flight schedules for several days.
“We have canceled a portion of our scheduled flights to conduct necessary inspections on a small section of our 25 aircraft,” Spirit said in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel. “While this action is being taken out of an abundance of caution, the impact on our network is expected to last several days as we complete inspections and work to return to normal operations.”
Nearly 25 Spirit Airbus planes have been taken out of service for a “mandatory maintenance inspection,” the Federal Aviation Authority said.
“The FAA will ensure the matter is addressed before the aircraft return to service,” the FAA statement added.
Flight tracking website FlightAware showed that inspections caused cancellations of 11% of Spirit’s flight schedule on Friday.
South Florida-based Spirit is Orlando International’s second-busiest carrier. A check of the airport’s flight status website Friday morning showed more than 40 cancellations for Spirit flights, split roughly evenly between departures and arrivals.
The canceled flights affected travel between Orlando and domestic cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and Newark as well as foreign destinations such as Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
Long lines quickly formed at Spirit customer service locations at the Orlando airport.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to take care of the affected guests,” Spirit said in its statement. “We encourage our guests to monitor their email and check their flight status on Spirit.com or the Spirit Airlines app before heading to the airport.”
Passengers whose flights to Spirit have been canceled can accept a rebooking on the next available flight. Or they can cancel their entire reservation and request a refund, “which may be returned to your original payment method or as a Spirit Airlines flight credit,” according to personal finance site NerdWallet.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says that if a traveler’s flight is cancelled, the airline is unable to rebook the flight or the person decides not to travel, the customer is entitled to a refund for the entire unused portion of the flight. This also includes fees for services such as seat selection and baggage screening.
Spirit, known as an ultra-low-cost airline, is poised to be acquired by New York’s JetBlue Airways for $3.8 billion.
But the Biden administration filed a lawsuit to stop this merger. An antitrust trial on the matter is scheduled to begin Monday before a federal judge in Boston.
David Lyons of the South Florida Sun Sentinel contributed to this report.
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