By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
May 9, 2017
A fight broke out Monday night at a ticket counter at Fort Lauderdale’s airport after passengers argued with Spirit Airlines employees and police.
Spirit passengers have been dealing with delays or cancellations. Passengers left a plane Monday night after their flight was canceled and went to a ticket counter where they found a line, WFOR reported.
Video of the fight has been cropping up on social media.
Two men and a woman were arrested Sunday night after a huge riot broke out at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, The Palm Beach Post reported.
Desmond Waul, 22, Janice Waul, 24, and Devante Garrett, 22, each face charges of starting a riot, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer and trespassing, according to an arrest report from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Police said Desmond Waul, Janice Waul and Garrett threatened to physically harm airport employees and “challenged them to step outside to fight,” the report states.
Deputies said their aggression led other travelers to act aggressive toward employees. Police estimated that crowd of 500 people “became enraged, fearful or visually upset,” from the flight cancellations.
Deputies ordered the three to leave the airport multiple times but they ignored them and threatened deputies with physical violence, the report states.
Why were the flights cancelled?
Spirit said nine of their flights were cancelled due to lack of airline staff, which left hundreds of passengers left stranded at the airport.
Contract labor negotiations with the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) caused the short staff "and unfortunately their passengers are caught in the middle," WFOR reported.
Hundreds of Spirit flights across the country have been canceled over the last seven days, CNN reported. The airline said the flights have been canceled because their pilots are trying to get a new contract and their union, the Airline Pilots Association International, is telling the pilots to be unavailable.
The airline has filed a federal lawsuit against the union, accusing it of "orchestrating an unlawful shutdown," CNN reported.
The ALPA told CNN in a statement that there is no slowdown: "Rather, ALPA and the Spirit pilots are continuing to do everything possible to help restore the company's operations, which have experienced significant problems over the past several days."
The airline claims that pilots are saying no to "open time" flights and last-minute assignments. Those assignments pay double time. Spirit also claims that the ALPA is threatening and intimidating pilots who do accept last-minute assignments, CNN reported.