By Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY
Deputies from Broward County Sheriff's Office were called to the Fort Lauderdale airport terminal Wednesday evening after delayed Spirit Airlines passengers became unruly, the NBC affiliate in south Florida reports.
No arrests were made, though additional delays are being reported this morning (Oct. 24).
The schedule disruption apparently is the result of aircraft inspections Spirit is conducting after one of its planes suffered an engine failure last week in Texas.
"Following the engine failure on one of our aircraft last week, and after reviewing routine maintenance procedures, we are completing a proactive and voluntary check on our aircraft engines overnight as a precautionary measure," Spirit Airlines says in a statement quoted by WSVN TV of South Florida. " We apologize for these delays. We are working diligently to get our customers where they need to go as quickly as possible. As always, the safety of our customers is our number one priority."
Pinson says it takes about 45 minutes to check each aircraft, though she acknowledged to NBC South Florida that some flights are "experiencing significant delays." She says the carrier expects to wrap up the inspections by Thursday morning.
A spokeswoman at the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta tells The Associated Press that the agency has no information about the delays.
The backups have apparently pushed some passengers to the breaking point, with nearly 600 Spirit passengers "left waiting" in the terminal as of Wednesday evening, according to WSVN.
"It's like a homeless shelter," passenger Lauren Digangi tells WSVN. "There's people laying on the floor, I mean it's just insane. I can't stay over there. It's hot, there's screaming, children are crying. It's just a mess."
CBS News reports "one passenger in a terminal said tempers flared on the plane she was on as it kept sitting on the tarmac."
"It was quite crazy," the unnamed passenger is quoted as saying to CBS. "I was scared a flight was going to happen on the plane. .. Thank goodness we were able to de-board."
The Miami Herald writes that "some passengers complained that all they got was a $7 voucher for food. Luggage has not been released to passengers who want to make other travel arrangements."