A Spirit pilot and flight attendant describe flying empty planes around the country and being stranded for days last week amid the airline’s meltdown: ‘It was like being lost in space’

Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines canceled over 2,000 flights last week because of a poorly timed combination of bad weather, system outages, and staffing issues. The cancellations caused some pilots to fly empty planes across the country while flight attendants were left stranded for days, two Spirit staffers said. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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Spirit Airlines canceled over 2,000 flights last week because of a poorly timed combination of bad weather, system outages, and staffing issues.

The cancellations caused some pilots to fly empty planes across the country while flight attendants were left stranded for days, two Spirit staffers said.  

“If you can’t track and see in the IT system where your crew members are, then how are you going to schedule to move them anywhere?” said a flight attendant who was stranded in a major Northeastern city for four days.

“It was like being lost in space,” she added. 

One pilot blamed Spirit’s operational issues on what he believes is a lack of investment in infrastructure, which he said was evidenced by staffing shortages, antiquated phone lines, and crashing computer systems. 

“They’re trying to run an airline of 167 airplanes on an infrastructure that was designed for 50,” he said.

Both employees requested anonymity to speak freely about the situation, though their identities and employment were verified by Insider.

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