Spirit Airlines crew was asked to change out of their uniforms for their safety to avoid angry passengers, report says

·2 min read
Spirit Airlines
Passengers waiting in line at the Spirit Airlines check-in counter at Orlando International Airport on August 6, the sixth day that the airline had canceled hundreds of flights. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • A Spirit Airlines crew was escorted to safety after facing angry travelers, The Times reported.

  • An unnamed crew member said they were asked to change their uniforms for their safety.

  • Spirit Airlines caused an uproar earlier this month after canceling hundreds of flights.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

More than 30 Spirit Airlines employees were asked to change out of their uniforms for safety reasons after travelers became infuriated by flight cancellations earlier this month, a report by The New York Times said.

An unnamed 28-year-old flight attendant told The Times that police officers at the San Juan airport in Puerto Rico rounded up at least 35 crew members to hide them after travelers started banging on a gate door and yelling at staff.

The crew member said they were rushed behind a secure metal door and ushered to an office on the tarmac, where a manager asked everyone to change out of their uniforms for their own safety.

Read more: I flew on 6 US airlines during the pandemic from the largest to the cheapest and found paying more doesn't guarantee a better, safer flight

"We were scared," the attendant told The Times. "I've seen some crazy stuff, but this moved into number one."

Spirit Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The low-cost airline caused an uproar earlier this month after canceling thousands of flights because of a combination of staffing shortages, bad weather, and technology problems.

The cancellations left thousands of angry passengers stranded at airports in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Miami; Houston; and San Juan.

Ted Christie, Spirit's CEO, previously apologized for the cancellations on CNBC and promised to fix the airline's staffing and scheduling issues. Spirit canceled nearly 2,500 flights between August 1 and 15, The Times reported.

"There's definitely some angry people," Christie told CNBC. "Right now, all I can say is we're very sorry for what happened."

Flight attendants across the country are grappling with the rise in passenger aggression and violence over the past few months.

Since January, the Federal Aviation Administration has received 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, most of which involve travelers refusing to comply with the federal mask mandate.

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