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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Spirit Airlines Flight Attendants Are Protesting Over Contract Violations

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Spirit Airlines flight attendants claim they’ve had enough of “blatant contract violations” and are holding a series of picketing actions at airports around the country to express their dissatisfaction.

Spirit, like many other airlines, is dealing with personnel shortages that are putting a strain on an already stressed and pandemic-weary workforce.

Many of the contract infractions are linked to a string of operational failures that have stranded flight attendants far from home.

Spirit has allegedly neglected to assist flight attendants who have been forced to sleep at airports overnight because the airline did not provide them with a hotel room, according to the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA).

“Empty promises from Spirit management ‘to do better’ will no longer suffice,” the union said in a statement on Monday. “Flight Attendants will not be silent and standby while Spirit Airlines continues to violate their employee contracts.”

The first picket took place at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday, and the union has already received permission to hold a second picket at Harry Reid Airport in Las Vegas. Other events are in the works, but the union is still awaiting approval from other airports.

Last August, Spirit was forced to cancel over half of its planned schedule for four days due to a serious operational breakdown.

Flight attendants and airport employees were allegedly directed to hide from enraged passengers and change out of uniform to avoid being confronted by stranded passengers.

The union worked with management at the time to reset the operations, but Spirit has since experienced four more huge disruption occurrences. The airline’s most recent collapse occurred just over a week ago when over 30% of its schedule was canceled.

“With staff shortages already straining the system, Spirit Airlines does not have the staff to quickly recover from mass cancellations and delays, which leaves Spirit Flight Attendants burdened with picking up the pieces,” the union complains.

Spirit, on the other hand, claims to be actively working with flight attendants to “correct” current difficulties, according to a spokeswoman.

“We are grateful for our incredible Spirit Family, and we’re committed to finding ways to better support our Team Members and address the issues of most importance to them,” a spokesperson told us in an emailed statement.

“We’ve been through so much together throughout the pandemic, and we are committed to making the necessary investments to build a stronger and more resilient airline for both our Team Members and Guests.”

Spirit is now investigating an unwelcome takeover approach by JetBlue, which could jeopardize a planned merger with Frontier.

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