July 10, 2012- A recent Spirit Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale had to make an unscheduled stop in Houston. The unscheduled landing was followed by a delay of more than 10 hours. The problem received a great deal of airtime on the Internet and some people questioned whether the airline had violated the rights of its passengers.
The unscheduled stop in Houston, said a spokesperson from the airline, was because of the need to remove a passenger who had become unruly. Passengers had to spend an hour inside the plane on the tarmac and another 10 hours inside the airport’s terminal, without any food.
The airline says the delay was not a violation of anyone’s rights. The contract of carriage that Spirit has along with all other airlines states explicitly that the flights schedule and adherence to it are not part of the carriage contract.
The Department of Transportation has recently added new passenger protection rules and the ground delay for 10 hours was not a violation of those rules, said the airline. Those particular rules apply only to delays on the tarmac, not the total delay.
Passengers complained of not having food, but the contract of carriage does not require Spirit to purchase food for them while on a delay. Some airline contracts do require them to provide passengers with meals during an extended delay however, Spirit’s only says that is may provide limited amounts of amenities.
Spirit said they would give all passengers on the flight a full refund of the price of their ticket.