Wednesday, October 20

Spirit Airlines’ week-long meltdown has reportedly caught the attention of the US government

  • Spirit Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights last week in an operational meltdown.
  • Now, the Department of Transportation is “monitoring” the airlines’ next steps, TPG reported.
  • Federal law requires airlines to provide customers refunds or alternative flights after cancellations.

Spirit Airlines’ week-long meltdown has caught the attention of the US government’s Department of Transportation, The Points Guy first reported on Tuesday.

The budget airline canceled approximately 2,000 flights last week due to a poorly timed combination of bad weather, system outages, and staffing issues.

The DOT has reportedly been in contact with Spirit to “remind” the budget airline of the federal laws protecting passengers whose flights have been canceled. The department is currently monitoring the airline’s next steps and reviewing customer complaints, according to TPG’s David Slotnick.

Federal law mandates that if an airline cancels a passenger’s flight, it must offer the customer a timely alternative. If the passenger does not accept the alternative booking, then they “are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation – even for non-refundable tickets.”

The laws surrounding delays are murkier. “Whether you are entitled to a refund depends on a lot of factors – such as the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your particular circumstances,” the DOT website says. Delay compensations are determined by the department on a case-by-case basis.

Spirit’s Director of Communications Erik Hofmeyer said in a statement that customers would receive refunds for canceled flights. CEO Ted Christie said Spirit is in the process of issuing cash refunds to customers whose travel plans were impacted.

Last Friday, several passengers have said on social media that they were sent $50 travel vouchers but have yet to receive full refunds.

Spirit did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.