Spirit Airlines passengers hope flights get back to normal after surge in cancelations

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Spirit Airlines' passengers continued to face cancellations Friday, Aug. 6, as the airline struggled to catch up after a horrendous week.

Forty-four percent of Spirit's flights were cancelled Friday, including four of the six scheduled at Mitchell International Airport.

The problems have been ongoing all week.

"We got a text about 9 a.m., 9:30 that said the flight was cancelled, so we took the link that they gave us and it took us to the basic website," said Spirit passenger Colleen Tobia.

She's trying to get back to Florida with her husband and four kids. Her original flight was cancelled Thursday. She said rebooking her flight was difficult.

"I got two of my six rebooked, and then it disconnected and it kept referring me to a phone number, and it would direct you through the prompts, and then it would say it's too busy and then would hang up," said Tobia.

To be safe, she bought four new tickets for $1,200. She said Spirit refunded the money when she got through to customer service. Now she hopes the airline will pay her $190 hotel bill.

"It was incredibly frustrating, only because we're traveling with my four children," said Tobia.

Spirit's CEO apologized to customers but said there will be more cancellations into next week.

"It's heart-wrenching, and it's a terrible experience, we're doing our best to make up for that and I believe we have," said CEO Edward Christie.

He said bad weather last month stranded crews, leading to staff shortages and this tsunami of cancellations. He said they're fixing the problems.

"People are either where they belong, or in a hotel, or offered an option to go somewhere else," said Christie.

Tobia's flight took off on time, but it was the only Spirit flight out of Milwaukee on Friday.

"I've never had an airline where it was fully cancelled and I've never had an airline where it was cancelled and there was no help," said Tobia.

Passengers at the ticket counter with flights later this week were trying to figure out if they should rebook their flights.

One couple bought a fully refundable ticket with another airline as an insurance policy to make it to their fully booked vacation.

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