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    Spirit cancels more than 40 flights at Orlando International, grounds 25 jetliners for mandatory inspections
    • October 21, 2023

    An unknown number of Spirit Airlines passengers saw their travel plans disrupted on Friday as the discount carrier grounded up to 25 jetliners for what the Federal Aviation Administration called “mandatory inspections,” and more than 40 flights were canceled at Orlando International Airport.

    According to data provided by FlightAware, an online tracker of worldwide daily commercial airline activity, the Miramar-based discount carrier led the industry with 98 flight cancellations as the day unfolded.

    “We’ve canceled a portion of our scheduled flights to perform a necessary inspection of a small section of 25 of our aircraft,” Spirit said in a statement. “While this action is being taken out of an abundance of caution, the impact to our network is expected to last several days as we complete the inspections and work to return to normal operations.”

    Neither the FAA nor Spirit identified what the inspections entailed.

    Passengers on Friday wait at Spirit Airlines’ ticket counter at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. (Carline Jean/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

    “The FAA is aware that Spirit Airlines removed approximately 25 of its Airbus airplanes from service to conduct a mandatory maintenance inspection,” the agency said in a statement provided to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “The FAA will ensure that the matter is addressed before the airplanes are returned to service.”

    It remained unclear how broadly the cancellations are affecting Spirit’s route network, which includes destinations across the U.S., in Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

    The FlightAware data showed flight cancellations in general were nominal Friday morning at South Florida’s three international airports in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

    What customers should do next

    In its statement, airline management encouraged passengers to “monitor their email and check their flight status on or the Spirit Airlines App before heading to the airport.”

    Travelers whose Spirit flights are canceled can accept a rebooking on the next available flight. Or, they can cancel their booking entirely and ask for a refund, “which may be credited back to your original form of payment or as a Spirit Airlines flight credit,” according to the personal finance website NerdWallet.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation says if a traveler’s flight is canceled, and an airline cannot rebook the flier or the person decides not to travel, the customer is entitled to a full refund of the unused portion of the trip. That also includes fees charged for services such as seat selection and baggage checking.

    Spirit, known as an ultra low-cost carrier, is poised to be taken over by discounter JetBlue Airways of New York for $3.8 billion.

    But the Biden Administration has sued to stop the combination. An antitrust trial on the matter is scheduled to start Monday before a federal judge in Boston.

    ​ Orange County Register