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‘That’s a hostage situation’: Spirit Airlines flight turns to chaos after 200 passengers are trapped on board for 7 hours

This is what nightmares are made of.

Snaps of people stuck on a Spirit Airlines plane
Images via TikTok / @lindsey.mascera

One of the most exciting yet anxiety-inducing parts of travel is figuring out how you’re going to get there. Do you drive, take a train, or hop onto a plane for what should be a quick and rather painless trip to get to your ultimate destination?

Those who decide to fly know that there’s always the chance that things could go wrong; flights can be delayed, pilots could face unexpected issues that prohibit them from being able to fly, and weather can change in an instant, but what’s worse than any of that is a delay that leaves passengers stranded with absolutely no knowledge of what’s going on.

A recent trip on a Spirit Airlines flight was documented on TikTok, and for as calm as the passengers were; yes, even those voicing their displeasure, the entire thing was chaotic and awful; it appeared to be something that was both trying and tiring and all that we saw of it was a minute and a half clip. The passengers themselves — they’d been stuck for seven hours.

You read that right for seven hours, with no pilot and no information about where one was or when one would be coming. While a clear sense of annoyance filled the atmosphere, the other almost palpable emotion throughout the video was sheer exhaustion.

The passengers stuck on the flight were one part of the equation, but it’s also important to note that the flight attendants were also attached, and not just stuck, but working for hours with no insight into when things would improve. As is to be expected, the comment section in the video was full of people who had strong opinions and ideas, but at the moment, there wasn’t much (if anything) that could be done to ease the frustration.

One comment urged those stuck on the plane to call the police and report being held against their will, which is something that was actually done on another flight.

Several comments recommended a call to the cops as a plan of action, as they could consider what was happening false imprisonment.

This comment posed the idea that the flight wouldn’t be canceled as FAA regulations state refunds aren’t required if the flight isn’t “canceled.”

As anyone who watched the TikTok in full knows, the flight attendant did say that anyone who wanted to get off would be issued a refund, but their luggage was still on the plane, they still needed to get where they were going, and there are many factors involved that make it a hard decision either way.

Several comments pointed out that flight attendants are also struggling, which makes a good point — flight attendants aren’t paid for ground time and boarding, and we’re not sure we can think of many people who’d be thrilled to work for seven hours without pay.

An anonymous flight attendant recently spoke with Business Insider regarding something Delta put into action in June of 2022 that was a first across the airline industry: paying cabin attendants for their hard work during the boarding process.

“Boarding is the hardest part of the job. It’s crazy that people have worked for years on airlines and not been paid for it. We do several things to get ready for being up in the air. Sometimes it goes smoothly, but oftentimes it doesn’t. Flight attendants working at the gate are the safety bodyguards you never knew you had. We aren’t just welcoming people — we have to be aware of who’s coming onto our plane. We want to make sure everyone on the plane is a safe guest.”

The flight attendant went on to say that at the end of the day, they really do love their job, pointing out that they get to do something so few do, but at the same time, they deserve to be paid for their workday, all of it.

“I love serving and helping everyone. Sometimes it’s stressful — I don’t like everything about my job all of the time, but I’m thankful that I can travel the world and make someone else’s day better.”

Here’s to the unsung heroes of flights, the cabin crew, and the passengers aboard the flight on Spirit Airlines, who had every right to be frustrated but tried to handle the situation with compassion for one another.

About the author

Ashley Marie

Ashley Marie is a staff writer, beat leader, Disney fanatic, and Yellowstone expert. When she's not filling her friends in on all the entertainment news they can handle, she's drinking her go-to Starbucks order — a caramel macchiato, thank you — and wishing she was at Disney World or spending time at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. With a focus on positivity and kindness in journalism, Ashley has been writing for a decade and hopes to keep bringing you articles for decades to come.