Extreme air-travel tension is now spilling over to the ticket counter.
Fights erupted at a Florida airport on Monday after Spirit Airlines canceled several flights amid an alleged work slowdown by pilots, CBS New York reported.
Travelers were reportedly stranded for up to eight hours and eventually lashed out. Videos show people pushing and scuffling at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as officers intervene.
“Very tense, very angry, angry people,” traveler Debbie McGrandy told CBS. “Everybody had places to be and couldn’t be there.”
The chaotic scene unfolded as the airline industry deals with the fallout from several negative onboard incidents.
In a statement to HuffPost on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office confirmed that three people were arrested on Monday night. According to arrest reports, two 22-year-old men and a 24-year-old woman were charged with disorderly conduct, inciting to riot and resisting officers. All three are accused of threatening airline employees.
According to CNN, the tensions boiled over when passengers were rushed off a Spirit flight that was canceled, encountering a group of people already waiting in line at the ticket counter.
Spirit Airlines spokesman Paul Berry told CNN the carrier was “shocked and saddened” over the situation. He blamed pilots for being unavailable because of a work slowdown.
“These pilots have put their quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations and the safety of their fellow Spirit Team Members,” Berry told NBC News in the video segment above.
According to CNN, the union denied conducting a slowdown. “ALPA [Airline Pilots Association] and Spirit pilots are continuing to do everything possible to help restore the company’s operations,” a spokesperson said in a statement, CNN reported.
Spirit has sued the pilots union over the rash of recent cancellations.