Three New Yorkers Arrested After Spirit Airlines Cancellations Spark Florida Airport Brawl
Three people from New York were arrested Monday after chaos broke out when 11 flights were canceled
Three people from New York were arrested Monday after chaos broke out when 11 flights were canceled, leaving hundreds stranded at the airport.
Desmond Waul, 22, Janice Waul, 24, and Davante Garrett, 22, were arrested around 10:30 p.m. at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Monday, PEOPLE confirmed with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
The individuals, who were from New York, screamed at airline workers and “challenged them to step outside to fight,” according to arrest reports obtained by TIME. They were each charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing.
Their actions, deputies said, caused the crowd to become more aggressive to the point of near violence.
All three people were released from jail on Tuesday, the police department confirmed to PEOPLE.
About 300 Spirit flights had been canceled over the past week, according to CNN. The airline blamed its own pilots for the cancellations and is suing them in federal court.
“Everyone was already aggravated about flight delays and the ridiculousness of standing in such a long line for hours, which Spirit Airlines did nothing to help, and then in walks these people off their flight raising a ruckus [and] cussing and screaming and they went straight to the counter,” passenger Cindy Matthews Beard told CNN.
Other passengers told the outlet that people stormed off an airplane after their flight was canceled. They then reportedly all went to the ticket counter where dozens of passengers were already waiting in line.
Spirit Airlines spokesman Paul Berry told PEOPLE in a statement: “We sincerely apologize to our customers for the disruption and inconveniences they have suffered. We believe this is the result of intimidation tactics by a limited number of our pilots affecting the behavior of the larger group.”
He added: “We are also shocked and saddened by the events that took place yesterday at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and at other airports across our network. We are hopeful that we can put this moment behind us and get back to serving our customers.”
The airline says pilots have been turning down last-minute assignments that would earn them twice their pay because union members are threatening and intimidating other pilots who accept the jobs, according to CNN.
According to the Washington Post, a federal court granted the airline a temporary restraining order Tuesday, compelling the Airline Pilots Association to return to status quo.