Spirit Airline Strike Strands O'Hare Travelers

Flights canceled through Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - JUNE 12: Spirit Airlines Inc. pilots hold signs as they picket in front of the terminal at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport after the pilots went on strike in a dispute over pay and benefits on June 12, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Miramar, Florida discount airline is seeing the first strike at a U.S. passenger carrier in nearly five years. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Danielle Carman and Joseph Klyczek were supposed to be aboard a Spirit Airlines flight to Cancun Sunday night.

    Thanks to a pilot strike, the Chicago couple is still in Chicago.

    "They told us that it was only going to be canceled through Monday but its not," Carman said. "We had to spend like an extra $200 on tickets."

    Spirit Airlines has all of its flights through Tuesday, stranding thousands more passengers as a pilot's strike continues into its second day.
     
    The discount carrier said on its website Sunday that all Spirit Airlines flights have been canceled through June 15. Spirit pilots walked off the job Saturday amid an ongoing contract dispute with the airline that has lasted for more than three years. Spirit pilots have said their pay lags behind competitors such as AirTran Airways and JetBlue.
     
    The privately held airline, based in Miramar, Fla., carries 16,680 passengers per day — about 1 percent of the U.S. total — mostly between the eastern U.S. and the Caribbean and Latin America. Spirit's CEO said this weekend that no talks were scheduled with picketing pilots.
     
    The shutdown continues to cause major problems for Spirit's flyers.

    The airline said it is refunding fares for flights Saturday through Tuesday plus offering a $100 credit toward future flights as it tries to get its passengers booked onto other airlines.

    Carman and Klyczek said they haven't been offered a refund, just a credit, but feel lucky they found another flight out of O'Hare at comparable price on a different airline. 

    "Thank God we have the money," Klyczek said.
     
    But people who needed to replace their Spirit tickets found the cost of same-day fares on other airlines was two- to three times more than their tickets.
     
    A spokesman for the airline said there have been no deals made and no pilots have crossed the picket line.