Passengers on a Spirit Airlines flight from Florida to Cartagena, Columbia will arrive at their destination an entire day later than planned after their original flight was canceled when the plane’s pilots exceeded their maximum flying time, a result of delays caused by an unruly passenger who refused to leave the aircraft’s bathroom.
The Spirit flight had been boarded for its departure from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Wednesday morning when it was delayed a short time for a maintenance issue, a spokesperson for the airline tells Consumerist. While maintenance officials worked to fix the routine issue, passengers were allowed to leave the plane and wait in the gate area.
During re-boarding, a passenger was seen carrying an open can of beer. The woman was notified that she couldn’t bring the drink on the plane, as it was in violation of rules. When asked to dump the drink, the woman allegedly threw the can at the flight attendant and pushed past the crew member, and locked herself in the plane’s bathroom, the spokesperson said.
A video of the incident obtained by WSVN shows the woman standing in the door frame of the bathroom yelling at crew members and other passengers.
“Oh, so they want to attack me,” the woman can be heard saying. “Wait until the police come.”
The Spirit spokesperson tells Consumerist that crew members and fellow passengers tried to get the woman to leave the plane, as they only had about 10 minutes to push back before the crew would reach their maximum flying time under federal regulations.
“Everybody asked her, ‘Please, get off,’ because we had 10 minutes to push off,” one passenger tells WSVN. “They were ready to push off, literally ready to push off. She’s the one that stopped the whole thing.”
Ultimately, the woman reportedly left the plane before officers from the Broward Sheriff’s Office arrived, but not before the flight crew reached their maximum flying time.
Spirit was able to re-book most passengers on a 10 a.m. flight to Columbia Thursday. Those who could not be accommodated on the later Spirit flight were placed on flights with other airline, the spokesperson said.
“We regret that one person was able to adversely affect a flight for the rest of the customers and we are doing everything we can to get those customers to Cartagena,” the rep tells Consumerist.